No. 15 Penn St fends off Illinois

BY foxsports • October 4, 2009

When Penn State watched the video of Illinois' 30-0 loss last week to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions thought they saw something that might do their maligned offensive line some good.

Boy, were they right.

The 15th-ranked Nittany Lions battered the Illini with 338 yards rushing on a wet, windy, 50-degree Saturday to win 35-17.

Running backs Stephon Green and Evan Royster each topped 100 yards - Green with 120 yards on 13 carries and Royster with 17 rushes for 105.

"We saw Ohio State have a lot of success last week running their inside zone plays," Royster said. "It's just something that we saw and we wanted to exploit it, too.

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"Our offensive line," he added, "played real confident today."

Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who said earlier in the week that a road trip might be just what his team needed after a 21-10 loss to Iowa, said Saturday's win was the first complete game his team has played this season.

"Earlier in the year we did some things well for a half," Paterno said. "This is the first time I've felt we played well the whole ballgame."

Illinois (1-3, 0-2) heard boos from its fans for the first time in what is becoming a long season.

The sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium directed its unhappiness at the offense, which had no answer for Penn State's second-half show. Illinois followed two Penn State scoring drives with three-and-outs, each ending on third-and-long plays that Illinois tried to convert with short passes.

"A little bit of it has to do with their defense, but in order for us to be successful and for us to win games, we are going to have to play," Illinois coach Ron Zook said.

The Illini managed just 130 yards rushing - 58 of it by quarterback Juice Williams, who was 20-for-36 for 263 yards and his first touchdown pass of the season. The senior became Illinois' career leader for total yards with 9,126, passing up previous record holder Kurt Kittner's 8,880.

The Nittany Lions led 7-3 at halftime but used a crushing third quarter to get the win, gaining 208 yards on a pair of drives that left the Illini staggering.

On a quarterback draw from his 34, Darryl Clark ran 51 yards to the Illini 15.

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