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Penn State demolishes Wisconsin to remain unbeaten

Oct 12, 2008 - 4:34 AM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Joe Paterno ended up with a broken leg and an ugly loss in Penn State's last visit to Camp Randall Stadium.

With the legendary coach watching from a safe distance two years later, the Nittany Lions returned the favor - and then some.

Darryl Clark threw a touchdown pass and rushed for two scores Saturday as sixth-ranked Penn State routed No. 24 Wisconsin, 48-7, in a Big Ten Conference blowout.

Evan Royster ran for 60 yards and a TD while cornerback Lydell Sargeant had a pair of interceptions for the Nittany Lions (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten), who are off to their best start since 1999.

"Well, no offense, but Wisconsin gave us the ball multiple times," Paterno said. "Well, I thought we'd win. I didn't think we'd win by 41, but anybody who thought we'd win by 41 hasn't been in the game very long."

The last time Penn State visited Wisconsin, Paterno suffered a broken left leg in a sideline collision during the Nittany Lions' 13-3 loss on November 4, 2006.

The 81-year-old Paterno, who currently is nursing a sore hip, watched Saturday night's contest from Penn State's press box - and he must have been happy with his high-flying team's latest performance.

The Nittany Lions never trailed and scored the game's final 31 points en route to handing Wisconsin (3-3, 0-3) its worst home defeat since a 51-3 loss to Miami in 1989. The Badgers have lost two straight here for the first time since the 2002 season.

"They all are big games and they are all losses," Wisconsin coach Brett Bielema said. "Every loss hurts; depending on how the game goes down and how you execute in the end, it takes a lot out of you, but as a coach they all hurt."

Royster's 2-yard TD run and Derrick Williams' 63-yard score off a punt return gave Penn State a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.

"I only saw one replay of it and they got leverage out of our left tackle and our left wing and sealed everybody else back inside," Bielema said. "They started in the middle and it broke out to our left."

Wisconsin clawed within 17-7 on quarterback Allan Evridge's 5-yard TD run with 4:21 left in the first half.

Still reeling from last weekend's last-minute loss to Ohio State, the Badgers regained possession at their own 8-yard line with 1:40 remaining in the half.

But on the first play of the possession, Evridge was stripped of the ball by Aaron Maybin. The loose ball skipped forward along the turf before being picked up by Penn State's Josh Hull at the Wisconsin 16.

Two plays later, Clark scored on a 2-yard keeper to give Penn State a 24-7 halftime lead.

The Nittany Lions kept rolling in the second half, as Clark completed 4-of-5 passes on their opening drive before scoring on a 4-yard run. The junior quarterback hooked up with Deon Butler for a 44-yard TD midway through the third quarter to make it 38-7.

"You know, I've been in some ball games where it turned around so fast, it'd make your head spin," Paterno said about his late-game playcalling. "I thought when we came out in the third quarter we needed to get on the board a couple times.

"I maybe played the first string a little longer than I should have and given the younger kids a chance, but one big play here, one big play there, and it gets to be a dogfight. "

Clark finished 16-of-25 for 244 yards for the Nittany Lions, who have won consecutive Big Ten road games for the first time since 1999 - when they won the league title.

"You know, I was nervous earlier in the week and then as the week went on, I wasn't," Paterno said. "I just knew that these guys were ready to play. And if they were better than we were, they'd be better than we were. But where we are right now, we've got football to play.

"You see games like Oklahoma and Texas and I thought Oklahoma was going to kill them. I saw the first quarter, and I was shocked when I heard Texas beat them. So you never know. Too many big teams are equal. It seems now with the talent anybody can just about beat anybody on a certain day."