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No. 7 Penn State stops Paulus, Syracuse
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)Evan Royster ran for a touchdown and caught another, and No. 7 Penn State contained quarterback Greg Paulus and rebuilding Syracuse in a 28-7 win Saturday.
Royster turned a short throw into a 49-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive, and added a 12-yard scoring run to give the Nittany Lions a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
Penn State (2-0) shut down Syracuse's running game, and the Orange (0-2) unsuccessfully tried to throw off the Nittany Lions' defense, at times alternating Paulus and backup Ryan Nassib at quarterback.
Paulus, the former Duke basketball player, finished 14 of 20 for 105 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He threw mostly quick passes to counter Penn State's pressure.
Royster finished with 41 yards rushing on 12 carries and 61 yards receiving, as the Nittany Lions improved to 23-4 against Syracuse since 1966, when Joe Paterno became head coach.
"Royster can do it all," Paterno said. "He's a heck of an athlete."
Wide receiver Graham Zug added career-highs of six catches and 79 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike from Daryll Clark to give Penn State a 21-0 lead in the third quarter.
A week after debuting at quarterback following four years playing point guard, Paulus did relatively well again against a Penn State defense led by swarming linebacker Sean Lee.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone finally settled on Paulus for most of the second half, and he led the Orange on several drives into Penn State territory, at times running a no-huddle offense. Paulus found success on play-action, screens and rollouts.
But the Nittany Lions' overall talent overwhelmed the Orange, even with Penn State playing uneven for the second straight week.
"We've played well enough to win two games, period, that's all I know," Paterno said, "and we got to get better."
A drive to the Penn State 5 in the third quarter ended when open receiver Mike Williams dropped a pass in the end zone on fourth down. Williams' streak of 10 straight games with a touchdown catch came to an end.
A fourth-quarter drive to the 33 was snuffed out after Lee sacked Paulus on the blitz for a 13-yard loss. Fans rocked the creaky Beaver Stadium stands celebrating another defensive stop.
Then in the fourth quarter, Paulus' pass attempt deep in Syracuse territory was tipped by 6-foot-5 defensive tackle Jared Odrick and intercepted by linebacker Nathan Stupar.
Paulus did connect with Donte Davis for a 16-yard touchdown pass for Syracuse's only score late in the fourth quarter with Syracuse down by four touchdowns. The TD came one play after Penn State backup quarterback Kevin Newsome lost a fumble.
Clark looked sharp much of the day, picking on the Syracuse secondary for 240 yards on 20 for 31 passing, with three touchdowns and one interception.