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Paterno gets 400th career win

Nov 7, 2010 - 1:26 AM University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Joe Paterno became the first FBS coach to win 400 games Saturday, when Penn State rallied for a 35-21 victory over Northwestern.

Paterno, in his 45th season at the helm of the Nittany Lion program, succeeded in his first attempt at the milestone and now owns a career record of 400-132-3.

"What can you say? I've been very, very fortunate," Paterno said. "I've had some great kids. When I say great kids, I mean not only my own and my grandkids, but the guys that have played here have just been great. And to see those fans and all of them to stick around like that after was a very nice moment for me."

The Nittany Lions trailed by 21 points late in the first half, but Matt McGloin rallied the offense by throwing for four touchdowns, and the Penn State defense held the Wildcats scoreless over the final two quarters.

Paterno was carried off the field by his players in front of a raucous Beaver Stadium crowd and spoke briefly at a post-game ceremony.

"People ask why I stayed here so long," Paterno said. "I say 'Look around, look around.' Now that the celebration is over, let's go beat Ohio State!"

The contest provided another milestone for the legendary coach, who on October 27, 2001 got his 324th career victory to pass Bear Bryant and become the winningest coach in major college football history. After several lean years for the Lions, Paterno was passed by Florida State's Bobby Bowden. However, Paterno passed Bowden during the 2008 season, and Bowden retired after the 2009 campaign.

Evan Royster ran for 134 yards and added 45 yards and a touchdown on four receptions for Penn State (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten), while Dan Persa threw for 201 yards and a touchdown and ran for 109 yards with two scores in defeat for Northwestern (6-3, 2-3).

The only points of the first quarter came on a six-yard touchdown run by Persa.

Northwestern extended its advantage to 21-0 on a four-yard touchdown scamper by Persa and a nine-yard strike from the quarterback to Drake Dunsmore.

To Penn State's credit, it was able to drive 91 yards in nine plays in the final minute of the first half, and the Nittany Lions cut their deficit to 21-7 on a seven-yard touchdown pass from McGloin to Brett Brackett.

The third quarter was completely dominated by Penn State, which scored three touchdowns to take a 28-21 advantage. After McGloin threw a three-yard scoring strike to Nate Cadogan and a 36-yarder to Derek Moye, Silas Redd reached the end zone on a four-yard run.

Royster scored the fifth and final unanswered touchdown for Penn State with 11:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, on a 13-yard pass from McGloin.

Penn State finished the contest with a 528-369 edge in total yards.