Penn State All-American running back Ki-Jana Carter has been selected for induction into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, joining legendary coaches Knute Rockne and Dick Vermeil.
Joe Paterno’s last undefeated season was sparked by tailback Ki-Jana Carter, now a Rose Bowl Hall of Famer, 20 years later.
Carter was a key member of the 1995 Rose Bowl Championship squad that capped off a perfect 12-0 season with a 38-20 win over Oregon on Jan. 2, 1995.
Coach Joe Paterno’s 1994 squad, led by first-team All-Americans Carter, Kyle Brady, Kerry Collins, Bobby Engram and Jeff Hartings, will be recognized at the home-opener against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 6 as part of their 20-year reunion. Kickoff is set for noon at Beaver Stadium for Coach James Franklin’s first home game.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on December 30 at the Pasadena Convention Center, two days before the 101st Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual.
“It’s a true honor from the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl committee to be selected for induction into the Hall of Fame,” Carter said. “Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl was everything and I always dreamed about playing in the Rose Bowl. To play in the Rose Bowl and be the MVP of the game, it was awesome, but now it’s the ultimate honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is pretty overwhelming.
“This is an honor that I share with all of my teammates, it just shows how special that year was,” Carter added. “It was only our second year in the conference and we go undefeated and to the Rose Bowl, that’s pretty special. Without my linemen, my tight ends, my quarterback and the receivers all throwing blocks out there for me, I wouldn’t be here. It’s awesome that this is coming up now because our 1994 team is being honored at the Akron game and I will have time to reflect and share this honor with them.”
Carter, who finished second in the 1994 Heisman Trophy voting, earned co-MVP honors in the Rose Bowl after rushing for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. He ran for an 83-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game, which is the third-longest run in Rose Bowl history and the longest run in Penn State bowl history.
The 1994 Nittany Lions won their first Big Ten Championship in just their second year in the conference. Penn State became the first Big Ten team to post a perfect 12-0 mark, making the Nittany Lions the first conference team to post an unblemished record since the 1968 Ohio State team. The 1994 Lions were a record setting bunch, breaking 11 Penn State records and seven Big Ten records. Penn State’s 48.1 scoring average in conference games is a record that still stands today.
Carter’s Rose Bowl performance capped an outstanding junior season in which he led the country with a 7.8 yards per carry average. He also finished fourth nationally in rushing (139.9), second in scoring (10.8 ppg) and fifth in all-purpose yardage (158.4). Carter led the Big Ten in all three categories.
Carter was runner-up to Rashaan Salaam of Colorado for the Heisman Trophy and a finalist for the Maxwell Award. His 1,539 yards rushing in 1994 remains the third-best season total in Penn State history, and 23 touchdowns are tied for second to Lydell Mitchell’s 29 TDs in 1971.