(Saturday, October 3rd)
Final Score: (15) Penn State 35, Illinois 17
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Stephfon Green and Evan Royster led a dominant Penn State rushing attack with 225 combined rushing yards and a touchdown apiece, as the 15th-ranked Nittany Lions bounced back from a tough loss last week to crush the Illinois Fighting Illini, 35-17.
Penn State (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) ran for 338 yards total and scored each of its five touchdowns on the ground. Green ran for 120 yards on 13 carries -- including a 52-yard score -- and Royster had 17 rushes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
"Obviously I was pleased (with the running game), but I wish we could be more consistent at times," said Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. "Earlier in the year we would do things well for a half, but this time we ran the ball fairly well the whole ball game."
Daryll Clark threw for 175 yards on 17-of-25 passing and added 83 yards rushing and two scores on the ground, while Brent Carter also had a touchdown.
The win is the first conference victory for the Nittany Lions, who lost at home to Iowa last week. It was the second year in a row the Hawkeyes dealt PSU its first loss of the season.
"I was very proud of everybody for putting the loss that we had last week behind us as quickly as we did," Clark said. "This was definitely a must-win for us, especially going on the road, after having what happened to us last week."
Juice Williams needed 76 yards of offense to break Illinois' (1-3, 0-2) all- time record, and he accounted for 321. Williams completed 20-of-36 passes for 263 yards with a touchdown and an interception while running for 58 yards and a score on 20 carries. He led the team in rushing yards.
"We're not to the point we want to be, but we know we're so much more than we're showing," Williams said. "The team will bounce back, ready to go, with our heads up."
Arrelious Benn made five catches for 96 yards for the Fighting Illini, who were shut out, 30-0, by Ohio State last week.
Neither team threatened to score in the opening quarter, but one big play gave Penn State the lead in the second.
Clark converted a 3rd-and-5 from his own 25 with an 11-yard pass to Mickey Shuler, then hit Graham Zug for another 11-yard gain. Two plays later, from the PSU 48, Green hit a seam up the middle and raced 52 yards to the end zone with about 11 minutes until halftime.
A 49-yard pass play to Benn got Illinois inside the Lions' 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Penn State's defense forced Matt Eller to attempt a 22-yard field goal, which he made for a 7-3 difference.
The Illini threatened one more time before the half ended, but Williams was called for intentional grounding to push the team out of field goal range.
"We did not play the way we're capable of playing," said Illinois head coach Ron Zook. "At halftime, we had a chance to make a ball game of it. We should have gotten points in that last series of the first half...We just didn't get back on track offensively. A little bit of that 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."
Penn State's offense got going in the second half, although Derek Moye fumbled the ball away at midfield on the team's first possession of the third.
The Lions got the ball back after a three-and-out and marched 69 yards in seven plays. On 3rd-and-7 from the PSU 34, Clark took it himself 51 yards up the middle down to the 15, and the quarterback reached over the goal line with the ball from the one for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left.
Penn State forced yet another three-and-out and took the ball down the field again for another score. Royster was key in the series, running for 49 yards on six carries and adding a 16-yard reception in the 79-yard drive. Clark finished the set like he did the last one, plunging in from one yard out for a 21-3 lead with over 14 minutes to go in the game.
It was more of the same from there. Illinois failed to get a first down, and the Lions went 80 yards on five plays in 2 1/2 minutes. Royster capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run for a 25-point margin.
Williams threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jarred Fayson less than two minutes later to make it 28-10, but Carter quickly countered for Penn State with an 11-yard rushing touchdown with under five minutes to play.
Illinois accounted for the final margin on Williams' three-yard scamper with 42 seconds remaining.
Penn State LB Sean Lee (knee) sat out his second straight game...The Lions lead the all-time series, 14-3, including a 12-2 mark in Paterno's time as head coach...Williams moved into second place for rushing yards among all-time Big Ten quarterbacks...Zook is 3-15 against ranked opponents as the head coach with the Illini.
10/03 22:44:32 ET