|Penn State 40, Central Michigan 3|
|September 17, 2005|
|Beaver Stadium - University Park, PA|
|Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT|
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Beaver Stadium's always-perfect grass surface
has been in such distress this season, it might soon need replacement.
Thick sod chunks fly up from beneath spikes like divots from well-struck
wedges. And at halftime yesterday, for the only time anyone could remember,
the parched turf needed emergency watering.
On a day when the Lions' weary defense thought it might at last get some rest, the offense continued to display the quick-strike capability that is becoming its signature trait.
None of the seven scoring drives took more than six plays. Butler's two TD passes capped drives of just two and three plays. Kilmer's score on a slant pattern was that drive's third play.
"There's nothing wrong with scoring quick," said winded defensive end Tamba Hali, who had 21/2 of the eight sacks Penn State collected against constantly harassed Chippewas quarterback Kent Smith, who finished 23 of 36 for 143 yards.
"But what I'd really like to see from us as we head into the Big Ten is to start on the 5-yard line and drive the ball all the way downfield.
"In the Big Ten, things are going to be tougher and more physical. We're going to have to do that sooner or later."
In addition to the eight sacks, Penn State's starters limited their opponents to just 95 yards of total offense through three quarters. Despite three Penn State turnovers, the Chippewas' only score came on a 31-yard field goal by Rick Albreski with 29 seconds left in the half.
Those 29 seconds, incidentally, were plenty of time for Penn State. Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards, and after a 2-yard run by Robinson and his 16-yard pass to Butler, Kelly's field goal gave the Nittany Lions a 26-3 halftime lead.
"Obviously, this offense has a different personality than some of the ones we've had around here," said Paterno in what, for all those who recall games like last year's 6-4 loss to Iowa, was a massive understatement.
And that gives some hope to long-suffering fans - 100,276 of whom watched the passing fireworks in delight.
"I wouldn't say this is the high-water for our program in these last couple years," offensive lineman Tyler Reed said. "We haven't played any Big Ten teams yet. But I know we're all looking forward to getting started with that."