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Penn State's '73 Team Honored, Cappelletti's #22 Retired

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., September 7, 2013 - John Cappelletti, who won the Heisman Trophy in leading Penn State to a 12-0 record in 1973, will have his No. 22 jersey retired. The announcement was by Director of Athletics Dave Joyner at halftime of today's game against Eastern Michigan.

Cappelletti is the first Penn State student-athlete to have his or her number retired.

The No. 22 jersey will be retired at the end of the career of redshirt freshman running back Akeel Lynch rather than after this season, a request that was made by Cappelletti. Sophomore linebacker T.J. Rhattigan also wears No. 22.

More than 50 members of the Nittany Lions' 1973 team were in attendance to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their undefeated season and were introduced to the Beaver Stadium audience.

"Dave (Joyner) called me about a week ago and said it was going to be more than just the 1973 team reunion," Cappelletti said. "It's unbelievable. In all the years this school has been here, the players that have gone through here, for me to be the one to have the jersey retired, it's unbelievable. It's hard to comprehend right now."

From Upper Darby, Pa., Cappelletti was a consensus first-team All-America running back in 1973 for coach Joe Paterno and won the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp, ABC-TV and UPI Player of the Year, in addition to the Heisman.

A defensive back his first two years as a Nittany Lion, Cappelletti ran for 1,522 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior in 1973. His 2,639 career rushing yards rank No. 11 in Penn State history and he scored 29 career touchdowns. Cappelletti posted 13 100-yard rushing games and strung together three consecutive 200-yard games in the final month of the 1973 season, topped by 22-yards in a win over North Carolina State.

Cappelletti captured the nation's heart when he dedicated the Heisman Trophy to his younger brother, Joey, who would pass away from childhood leukemia. The story of Cappelletti's family and the 1973 season inspired the TV movie '"Something For Joey."

Cappelletti was enshrined in the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1993.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times