Penn State was without their leading rusher John Cappelletti who was suffering from a virus and a temperature of 102 degrees. Without Cappelletti, the Lions' defense were forced to step up and held the Sooners explosive Wishbone offense to only 14 points while forcing eight fumbles, recovering five. However, Oklahoma out gained the Lions 543 to 196 yards, 278 to 49 on the ground.
The University of Oklahoma was forced to forfeit nine games from the 1972 campaign after they had used two ineligible freshmen. Despite the forfeit, Penn State refused to accept the win.
Because of this the NCAA does not recognize the Penn State forfeit win over Oklahoma in the 1972 Sugar Bowl, in part, because Paterno and Penn State declined to accept the win for OU's use of two ineligible players. the NCAA also stated that forfeits were not part of the NCAA sanctions levied against the Sooners. The NCAA says it only restricted OU's scholarships, TV appearances, and bowl appearances.
The scandal however, prevented the Sooners from playing in bowl games for two years after his departure and also kept them from challenging for the national championship.