(Saturday, October 4th)
Final Score: (6) Penn State 20, Purdue 6
West Lafayette, IN (Sports Network) - Evan Royster gained 141 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown, and sixth-ranked Penn State remained unbeaten with a 20-6 win over Purdue.
Daryll Clark completed 18-of-26 passes for 220 yards for the Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who did not dominate offensively like they have for most of the season, but still pulled out a win in their conference road opener.
Royster also had four catches for 53 yards for Penn State, which played with legendary head coach Joe Paterno watching from the press box instead of patrolling the sidelines because of a nagging knee injury.
Paterno, 81, injured his right knee while trying an onside kick in practice on August 28, and the injury caused him to coach the second half of Penn State's win over Temple on September 20 from the press box. The longtime coach was back on the sidelines for last weekend's win over Illinois, however.
"I put a lot of faith in the assistant coaches. They're the ones there with the day-to-day interactions (with the players)," said Paterno.
Curtis Painter completed 13-of-22 passes for 112 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for the Boilermakers (2-3, 0-1), before he was pulled for Joey Elliot. Elliot completed 3-of-5 passes for 46 yards and led the Boilermakers to a late touchdown, but Purdue couldn't mount a comeback.
Kory Sheets gained 59 yards on 18 carries with the lone score for Purdue, and Greg Orton led Boilermakers receivers with 43 yards on five grabs. Purdue kicker Chris Summers had an awful day, missing two field goals and an extra point.
"They have a very good defense, but it was bigger than that today," said Sheets. "I can't believe we played the way we did today. We had a great week of practice, and everyone seemed ready for this challenge."
The Nittany Lions rode Royster into the end zone in the third quarter, and pulled away from the Boilermakers. Royster gashed the Purdue defense for gains of 12 and 10 on a seven-play, 61-yard drive, which he closed with a four-yard scoring run, giving Penn State a 17-0 lead with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
A Painter pass over the middle was picked off by Drew Astorino late in the third quarter, and ended Painter's day. Astorino made the interception at the Penn State 41-yard-line and ran it back 29 yards to the Purdue 30, setting up Kevin Kelly's 20-yard field goal with 13:06 to play.
Elliot came on in relief of Painter and sparked the Purdue offense to its only scoring drive of the day, a 14-play, 82-yard march that Sheets capped with a one-yard TD plunge. Summers' bad day got worse, though, as he shanked the extra point, and Purdue's deficit was still 14 points with 6:28 left.
Royster and the Penn State offense were able to run off the rest of the clock, and Penn State's perfect campaign remained intact for at least one more week.
Purdue took over at midfield late in the first quarter, and moved to the Penn State 23-yard-line before stalling. Painter was sacked for a five-yard loss, and Summers came on for the 45-yard field goal try. His kick was wide right, however, and the game remained scoreless.
Penn State responded by marching 72 yards on 13 plays to draw first blood. Royster had a 23-yard run on the drive, and, facing 4th-and-goal from inside the one, Clark pushed in on a QB sneak for a 7-0 Penn State lead with 7:34 left in the half.
Purdue drove back into Nittany Lions territory on the ensuing drive, but again could not produce points. The Boilermakers were held up at the 19, and Summers hooked a 36-yard try to the left, preserving the 7-0 lead for Penn State.
"You just can't come out of the redzone with no points,, otherwise it acts as a back breaker to the team," said Purdue head coach Joe Tiller. "It would have been a different ball game with those field goals converted. Bottom line is we need to get better for next week."
Again the Nittany Lions answered a Summers miss with a score. Kelly's 25-yard field goal capped an 11-play, 72-yard march, and Penn State took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
The Boilermakers have lost 16 straight to ranked opponents. Purdue last defeated a top 25 team in 2003 when it bested No. 10 Iowa 27-14 in West Lafayette...The Nittany Lions have won the last four meetings, and lead the series 10-3-1. The teams are not scheduled to meet again until 2011...The Nittany Lions will visit Wisconsin next weekend for a night game against the Badgers...Purdue travels to Columbus next week to take on Ohio State.
10/04 16:29:12 ET