Penn State pummels Eastern Illinois
Written by: Josh Funk on Sunday, October 11th, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Leaving Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon, three tiny Schnouser dogs chased this writer for a short distance.
“Are you a mailman?” the dogs’ owner asked.
No, not quite, but moments earlier, Penn State (5-1, 1-1) did their best impersonation of the postal service, delivering a 52-3 wallop to Eastern Illinois’ (4-2) doorstep.
When all was said and done, Penn State had more than flexed its Division-1 muscles against the former Division 1-AA (now D-1 FCS) Panthers, who were ranked 25th in the nation in their division.
The Nittany Lions rolled up 553 yards of offense and 28 first downs, more than doubling the silver and blue in yards and exactly double their first down total.
Penn State finished with nearly six times more rushing yardage than EIU, outgaining them 285-59.
And, to add insult to injury, Penn State scored the first 38 points of the game.
Even so, Joe Paterno wasn’t sure if he saw everything he wanted to see out of his Penn State team, which entered the game ranked 14th in the nation.
“Everything I wanted? I don’t know,” the veteran coach said. “We had a chance to play some of the young kids. We had a couple of takeaways. Overall, yeah, I feel it was a pretty good workout for us.”
PSU hardly broke a sweat. Daryll Clark got the scoring binge started with a one-yard keeper nearly eight minutes into the game, and Collin Wagner’s 25-yard field goal pushed the lead to 10-0.
But unlike the Iowa game, Penn State kept the throttle pushed full bore. And there was nothing EIU could do to stop it.
Clark fired three consecutive touchdown passes – strikes of 2, 51, and 25 yards to Brett Brackett, Chaz Powell, and Derek Moye respectively – to build PSU’s lead to 31-0.
But it was Navarro Bowman who broke the Panthers’ backs.
Bowman scooped up a forced fumble at the nine-yard line before halftime and returned the turnover 91 yards for a touchdown and a 37-0 Lions’ lead. For the final 20 yards or so, Bowman looked a little tired.
“(Defensive coordinator Tom) Bradley said to me, ‘I don’t think he’s (Bowman) in shape,’” Paterno said, and the media room erupted in laugher.
Stephfon Green and true freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome capped the Penn State scoring with touchdown runs of 26 and 9 yards.
Eastern Illinois’ lone points came on a 43-yard field goal after Penn State had already built its 38-0 lead.
Evan Royster led the way in the ground game with 94 yards on eight carries. Green chipped in with 58 yards on eight carries, and Newsome added 49 rushing yards and 34 passing yards in mop-up-duty time.
Clark put up an impressive stat line: 13-of-19 completions for 234 yards and three more touchdowns, pushing his season total to 12 scoring passes.
Powell had four catches for 79 yards; Justin Brown had three for 45; Moye two for 43; and Graham Zug one for 24. Eight different Nittany Lion receivers caught touchdown passes.
Linebacker Sean Lee didn’t play for the third straight week because of a sprained MCL. The only field action he saw was pregame drills and the walk to midfield for the opening coin toss.
“He’s dying to get in there,” Paterno said, “but we don’t want to rush him back or do anything foolish.”
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