Monday, November 17, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A 'Wicked' weekend

No. 7 Penn State pulls away for win over Indiana

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[November 17, 2008]  STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- No. 7 Penn State overcame a sluggish start to move a step closer to the Rose Bowl.

InsuranceDerrick Williams ran for one score and caught a touchdown pass, Daryll Clark threw for 240 yards and two scores in an uneven outing, and a stifling defense held Indiana to six first downs in the Nittany Lions' 34-7 victory on a dreary Saturday.

Heavy underdogs coming into Beaver Stadium, Indiana (3-8, 1-6 Big Ten) trailed just 10-7 at halftime in large part because of miscues by Penn State (10-1, 6-1). One drive ended after Clark fumbled at the Indiana 1, while Kevin Kelly missed a 40-yard field goal to foil another effort.

Momentum swung after halftime in favor of the Nittany Lions and Joe Paterno, who once again coached from the press box because of a sore right leg and hip.

Tailback Evan Royster bounced off three Indiana tacklers like a pinball on a 19-yard touchdown run to put Penn State up 17-7. Royster finished with 63 yards on 12 carries.

The defense then pinned Indiana deep on the next drive with a three-and-out. Kelly kicked a 36-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13 with 8:20 left in the third quarter before Clark hit Deon Butler on a slant from 6 yards out to push Penn State ahead 27-7 about five minutes later.


Bundled up in ponchos and slickers under a cold, off-and-on rain, the relatively subdued Penn State faithful could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Marcus Thigpen led Indiana with 72 yards on eight carries, including a 57-yard touchdown run in the first half. Indiana managed just 180 yards of total offense on the day.

The Nittany Lions returned to the win column following the disheartening defeat Nov. 8 at Iowa that crippled the chances of a third national title for Penn State's Hall of Fame coach.

A Big Ten championship is still well within reach, though Penn State faces a tough obstacle next week at home against No. 15 Michigan State. The Spartans were idle on Saturday.

Indiana had injury problems, missing three starters in the secondary. Hampered throughout the season by sore ankle, quarterback Kellen Lewis struggled under withering Penn State pressure in the second half and finished 9-of-21 passing for just 57 yards and an interception.

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Williams had a 39-yard touchdown catch over the middle to give Penn State a 7-0 lead, and he added a 36-yard scoring run on an end-around in the fourth quarter. The senior captain finished with 62 yards on four receptions, and 61 yards rushing on four carries.

Yet the Hoosiers still had designs on an upset after staying close to Penn State through the soggy first half.

Thigpen bounced out from a crowd on a run up the middle and found two blockers around the edge to escort him untouched down the sideline for his long TD run that silenced the crowd and evened the score at 7-7.

But the second half has been a problem all year for the Hoosiers, who came into the game being outscored 163-68 after halftime, and Saturday was no different.

Coming off the worst performance of the season at Iowa, Clark bounced back by going 20-of-36 passing. He softened the Indiana defense by hitting receivers over the middle, but the quarterback also fumbled twice and threw a deep interception into double coverage on a pass intended for Butler.

Butler finished with 56 yards on five catches. He broke the school's career reception record of 167, previously held by Bobby Engram.

[Associated Press; By GENARO C. ARMAS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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