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Paterno hurt in Penn State's loss at Wisconsin

Nov 4, 2006 - 8:28 PM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Penn State's Joe Paterno never saw his hit coming. His team had the same helpless feeling against Wisconsin.

In a Big Ten Conference contest overshadowed by a serious injury to the long-time Nittany Lions coach, John Stocco threw for 172 yards and a touchdown as the 17th-ranked Badgers captured a 13-3 victory over Penn State.

Paterno was absent from the sideline for most of the second half after getting hit on his left knee by the helmet of one of his players. The 79-year-old was looked at by trainers on the bench for most of the third quarter until he was carted off the field with a leg brace.

"I saw it happen," Penn State assistant coach Tom Bradley said about the injury. "I knew he got rolled over on and I told him he's not playing those low blocks like he used to - he couldn't get out of the way.

"He was on the bench and I said, 'Look I'm going to relay some things to you back and forth as the game goes on if you want to do something.' And we were OK with that but then he went inside."

In a statement released by Penn State, Paterno was flown back to State College, where he will get an X-ray later Saturday. An MRI will be done either Sunday or Monday.

"I can't really say if he was in pain or not because I've been around coach a long time and I know the one thing he doesn't want to hear from me is, 'Are you OK?'" Bradley said. "If I were to ask him, 'How are you feeling?' I think he might have punched me."

Improving to 8-4 in the all-time series, the Badgers (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) took sole possession of third place in the conference, strengthening their bid for an invitation to a major bowl.

Stocco, who finished 15-of-25, broke a 3-3 tie with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Paul Hubbard with 29 seconds left in the first half.

It was the seventh time this season that Wisconsin had put together a scoring drive in the closing two minutes of the second quarter.

Stocco was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury. Coach Bret Bielema downplayed it after the game.

"Just because I know what the first question is going to be, I have no information on John Stocco," Bielema said. "He obviously hurt his right shoulder but it is nothing that (we were) overly concerned at the time. Basically we didn't want to put him back in the game."

The Badgers added a 20-yard field goal from Tyler Mehlhaff with 3:35 left in the third and held the Nittany Lions on a 4th-and-1 play with 8:13 remaining to seal their sixth straight win.

For the fourth time this season, Wisconsin did not allow its opponent to score a touchdown.

"All week long we talked to our kids about how this was going to be a four-quarter ballgame," Bielema said. "It was going to be a game of field position. We needed to be effective in all phases - offense, defense and special teams - to be able to execute and get a victory."

The running attack was highlighted by P.J. Hill, who rushed 31 times for 149 yards. It was the redshirt freshman's eighth game of 100-plus yards.

In contrast, Penn State had just 36 yards on 19 carries. Leading rusher Tony Hunt was held to 42 yards on 11 attempts.

"We really zeroed in on the running back," Badgers defensive lineman Joe Monty said. "We wanted to get under him and get in his head, and I think we were able to accomplish that."

Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli threw for 165 yards, but was sacked four times and intercepted once for Penn State (6-4, 4-3).

The lone bright spot for the Nittany Lions was linebacker Paul Posluszny, who recorded 14 total tackles in becoming the school's all-time leader with 349. Greg Buttle set the previous mark of 343 from 1973-75.

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