Notre Dame 41, Penn State 17 Penn State Nittany LionsNotre Dame Fighting Irish
September 9, 2006
Notre Dame Stadium - South Bend, IN
Attendance: 80,795
Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Penn State 0 0 3 14 17
Notre Dame 3 17 14 7 41

Scoring Summary
1st 09:40 UND - Carl Gioia 35-yard field goal
2nd 10:42 UND - Carl Gioia 35-yard field goal
  03:58 UND - Jeff Samardzija 7-yard pass from Quinn (Gioia kick)
00:07 UND - Rhema McKnight 9-yard pass from Quinn (Gioia kick)
3rd 13:58 UND - Tom Zbikowski 25-yard fumble recovery (Gioia kick)
11:29 PSU - Kevin Kelly 28-yard field goal
  04:33 UND - Travis Thomas 1-yard run (Gioia kick)
4th 12:07 UND - Darius Walker 15-yard pass from Quinn (Gioia kick)
  05:51 PSU - Deon Butler 2-yard pass from Morelli (Kelly kick)
  00:20 PSU - Daryll Clark 5-yard run (Kelly kick)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The number of bodies doing push-ups atop a blue sea of Notre Dame students steadily increased as the balmy September evening closed in on Notre Dame Stadium.
  So too did the number of push-ups, each representing a Fighting Irish point.
  The game that Penn State fans had waited a decade for turned slowly but surely into a nightmare Saturday. No. 4 Notre Dame used about a 30-minute stretch of terrific all-around football to pull away from No. 19 Penn State in a 41-17 drubbing before 80,795 fans.
  "I went into this thing thinking it would be a good experience for the young guys,'' Penn State coach Joe Paterno said, "that regardless of what the outcome would be that we'd be a better football team for it. Obviously, I hoped we would play better than we played.''
  If this was a learning experience for Paterno's team, consider a lot of material covered.
  The young Nittany Lions (1-1) hung with the experienced Irish (2-0) for the first 23 minutes before Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn (25-of-36, 287 yards, three touchdowns) began to assert himself. Keeping steady pressure on the Penn State defense, Quinn led the Irish on touchdown drives of 75 and 69 yards during the final eight minutes of the half to put his team ahead 20-0 at halftime.
  It snowballed from there.
 Lions quarterback Anthony Morelli, who had completed six of his eight first-half passes for 53 yards, made a poor decision on an option play on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. His errant pitch bounced up into the waiting arms of Irish safety Tom Zbikowski, who raced 25 yards into the end zone for a 27-0 lead.
  "I was trying to do too much,'' admitted Morelli, who had a solid afternoon in his first road start (21-of-33, 189 yards, one interception) but couldn't lead the offense inside the Notre Dame 10-yard line until late in the fourth quarter.
  The Penn State offensive line, maligned for a mediocre performance against Akron the week before, sprung tailback Tony Hunt, who quietly tallied 120 total yards on 15 touches, for 74 yards rushing. But the rest of Penn State's versatile attack mainly misfired. Jordan Norwood led the team for the second straight week with six catches for 91 yards, but receivers Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Chris Bell combined for just 44 yards on seven catches. Facing a huge deficit and a Notre Dame defense that gained confidence as the lead grew, the Nittany Lions pressed.
  "We tried to get it back all on one play,'' Butler said. "We didn't have to. We could have methodically went down the field, but our offense is kind of a big-strike offense, so it's kind of hard to take that mentality away.''
  While Morelli and the offense were stumbling, Quinn was giving the defense fits. Finding tight ends down the seam, wide receiver Jeff Samardzija near the sideline or tailback Darius Walker on dumps over the middle, he slowly wore down a Penn State defense that wasn't getting enough help from its offense and wasn't getting enough pressure on Quinn. Yards that were hard to come by in the first quarter were eaten up chunks at a time as the game wore on.
  "Toward the end of the first half,'' said Paterno of his defense, "we were really hanging on.''
  But as the second quarter began, the Irish didn't look much like

Justin King

a team that began the season at No. 2 in the polls, though Penn State couldn't make them pay. Quinn led Notre Dame inside the Penn State 20 on two of the Irish's first three possessions, but third-down incompletions stalled both drives, and Notre Dame had to settle for a pair of 35-yard field goals from kicker Carl Gioia.
  Then, on a 3rd-and-2 from his own 33, Quinn found Samardzija for a 26-yard gain, and the Irish didn't look back. A 32-yard strike to tight end John Carlson, a 10-yard run by Walker and a brilliant pass to the back of the end zone, where the leaping Samardzija grabbed it for a 7-yard touchdown, capped a furious 75-yard drive that put Penn State on the ropes.
  "The good thing about Brady, he's the same every week,'' said Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. "This guy has a passion to be great. He practices that way. He practices to win. He's not one of the guys who goes through the motions. There's not one day of practice where this kid isn't practicing to win.''
  Penn State had to answer, and it nearly did on the next possession.
  Hunt grabbed a screen pass with room to run, and he scampered all the way to the 22-yard line. Center A.Q. Shipley was whistled for a clip, though, negating the play, and the Lions' drive stalled.
  Quinn then effectively put the game out of reach. With 1:24 left in the half, he completed all five of his passes for 58 yards, the last a 9-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Rhema McKnight. The first three passes, one to Carlson, two to Walker, beat Paul Posluszny, who made 12 tackles Saturday but lacked the burst that made him the nation's top linebacker last season.
  With the score 27-0, a 28-yard scramble from Morelli on third down put Penn State in field goal range, and the Nittany Lions finally got on the board with a 33-yard field goal from Kevin Kelly with 11:29 left in the third. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Morelli to Butler and a 5-yard scoring run from backup quarterback Daryll Clark, who led a fine drive in the game's final minutes, was all Penn State could muster.
  The Irish were simply more efficient and opportunistic in every phase of the game. Four Notre Dame receivers -- Walker, Carlson, Samardzija and McKnight -- had at least five catches Saturday. Linebacker and backup tailback Travis Thomas scampered for 43 yards on a fake punt return, and Zbikowski, who made seven tackles, forced a fumble in addition to the one he scooped up.
  The Nittany Lions, who host Division I-AA Youngstown State on Saturday, were frustrated. But they also knew that there would be rough patches in the early part of the season.
  Maybe not this rough.
  "We've got to learn, we've got to take everything we can and learn," said linebacker Sean Lee. "We've got to take the negative and turn it into a positive somehow. We got whooped today, and I think we're a lot better team because of it.''
  Paterno was quick to credit Weis and Notre Dame's coaching staff, though he said his own team made too many mistakes.
  "I think most things are correctable,'' said Paterno, who fell to 8-6 against Notre Dame, "but we'll have to see.''

PENN STATE
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing Att Gain Lost Net TD LG
Hunt 12 74 0 74 0 30
Kinlaw 7 37 0 37 0 13
Clark 4 28 0 28 1 12
Wallace 1 17 0 17 0 17
Morelli 5 28 13 15 0 28
Williams 3 8 14 -6 0 6
Ganter 1 0 7 -7 0 0
 
Passing Att Comp INT Yds TD LG
Morelli 33 21 1 189 1 34
Clark 8 3 0 36 0 15
 
Receiving No. Yds TD LG
Norwood 6 91 0 34
Perretta 4 46 0 18
Hunt 3 26 0 14
Williams 3 12 0 7
Bell 2 18 0 15
Butler 2 14 1 12
Hahn 1 15 0 15
Darling 1 5 0 5
Wallace 1 5 0 5
Kinlaw 1 -7 0 0
 
Punting No. Yds AVG LG In20 TB
Kapinos 2 70 35.0 38 0 0
 
Returns PR KOR INTR
Williams 1-6 3-50 -
Wallace - 2-26 -
Quarless - 1-3 -
Scirrotto 1-6 - -
 
Field Goal Attempts
Kelly 3rd 11:29 28 yds Good
 
Defense T TFL S Int. FF FR
Connor 7-5-12 - - - - -
Posluszny 4-8-12 - - - - -
Scirrotto 5-1-6 - - - - -
Lee 2-4-6 0.5-3 0.5-3 - - -
E. Johnson 2-3-5 1.0-11 1.0-11 - - -
NOTRE DAME
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing Att Gain Lost Net TD LG
Walker 20 65 9 56 0 12
Thomas 3 44 0 44 1 43
Quinn 8 30 24 6 0 11
Sharpley 1 2 0 2 0 2
McConnell 1 2 0 2 0 2
Schwapp 1 2 0 2 0 2
Prince 2 0 2 -2 0 0
 
Passing Att Comp INT Yds TD LG
Quinn 36 25 0 287 3 32
 
Receiving No. Yds TD LG
Walker 7 72 1 18
Carlson 6 98 0 32
Samardzija 6 56 1 26
McKnight 5 59 1 18
Freeman 1 2 0 2
 
Punting No. Yds AVG LG In20 TB
Price 3 132 44.0 62 2 0
 
Returns PR KOR INTR
Zbikowski 2-4 - -
Ndukwe - - 1-1
West - 1-13 -
 
Field Goal Attempts
Gioia 1st 09:40 35 yds Good
Gioia 2nd 10:42 35 yds Good
 
Defense T TFL S Int. FF FR
Crum 10-4-14 3.0-10 - - 1 -
Zbikowski 4-3-7 - - - 1 1-25
Wooden 6-0-6 - - - - -
Ndukwe 4-2-6 1.0-7 1.0-7 1-1 1 -
Richardson 3-2-5 - - - - -
Starting Lineups
TEAM STATISTICS
  PSU ND
FIRST DOWNS 25 22
Rushing 10 7
Passing 12 15
Penalty 3 0
NET YARDS RUSHING 158 110
Rushing Attempts 33 36
Yards Gained Rushing 192 145
Yards Lost Rushing 34 35
NET YARD PASSING 225 287
Passes Attempted 41 36
Passes Completed 24 25
Had Intercepted 1 0
TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS 74 72
TOTAL NET YARDS 383 397
Avg. Gain Per Play 5.2 5.5
Fumbles: No. - Lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties: No. - Yds. 4-25 6-64
No. of Punts - Yards 2-70 3-132
Avg. Per Punt 35.0 44.0
Punt Returns: No. - Yds. 2-12 2-4
Kickoff Returns: No. - Yds. 6-79 1-13
Interceptions: No. - Yds. 0-0 1-1
Fumble Returns: No. - Yds. 0-0 1-25
Miscellaneous Yards 0 0
Possession Time 26:49 33:11
3rd Down Conversion 5 of 13 5 of 14
4th Down Conversion 2 of 4 4 of 4
Sacks By: No. - Yds. 3-24 2-14
 
PSU PARTICIPANTS (56) - 1 King, 2 Williams, 3 Butler, 5 Hayes, 6 Johnson, 7 Scirrotto, 8 Kinlaw, 9 Ganter, 10 Quarless, 10 Sargeant, 11 Davis, 12 Wallace, 13 Alford, 14 Morelli, 17 Clark, 19 Bell, 19 Kubic, 20 Shaw, 21 Timmons, 22 Hardy, 23 Kelly, 24 McCready, 24 Norwood, 25 Perretta, 26 Hunt, 30 Snow, 31 Posluszny, 34 Hahn, 36 Kapinos, 37 Ridenhour, 40 Connor, 43 Hull, 45 Lee, 46 Sales, 47 Gaines, 48 Evans, 51 Cianciolo, 52 Brown, 53 Roach, 57 Shipley, 58 Harrison, 60 Weber, 64 Ohrnberger, 65 Price, 67 Brown, 76 Cadogan, 78 Shaw, 79 Auletta, 84 McDonald, 88 Darling, 89 Lyons, 91 Odrick, 92 Johnson, 93 Baker, 94 Golarz, 99 Shaw