|Score by Quarters
||PSU - Terrell Golden 4-yard pass from Morelli (Kelly
||PSU - Mickey Shuler 17-yard pass from Morelli (Kelly
||PSU - Kevin Kelly 45-yard field goal
||PSU - Austin Scott 1-yard run (Kelly kick)
||PSu - Austin Scott 8-yard run (Kelly kick)
||PSU - Rodney Kinlaw 15-yard run (Kelly kick)
||PSU - Matt Hahn 1-yard pass from Morelli (Kelly kick)
||PSU - Evan Royster 13-yard run (Wagner kick)
||PSU - Dan Lawlor 16-yard run (Wagner kick)
UNIVERSITY PARK -- As the afternoon rolled on, more points piled up
on Penn State's side of the scoreboard, and more minutes went by without
any Florida International points, giving the impression of a quick, painless,
The Nittany Lions' first win of 2007, 59-0
over the hapless Golden Panthers (0-1) Saturday in Beaver Stadium, was
painless. And, as expected, Penn
State (1-0) was dominant in all three phases of the game. Quick? Not
Eager to prove it is and will be superior to the
2006 version of itself, the Penn State offense started slowly, turning
three Florida International
first-quarter turnovers into just seven points. By the end of the first
period, the Nittany Lions had started four of their six drives inside
Panther territory, and had just 14 points -- and five yards rushing --
to show for it.
"I thought we were very, very sloppy early," said
Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who picked up his 364th career victory
in his return
to the sideline.
Two quarters later, the Nittany Lions led 52-0. What
happened in between?
The Golden Panthers, led by first-year coach
Mario Cristobal, had decided to try to take Penn State's running game
away. Early on, the strategy
worked -- the Nittany Lions' halftime rushing totals were 35 yards on
16 attempts -- but it also allowed Penn State receivers to trot down
the field against man-to-man coverage, and spotty man-to-man coverage
at that. Consequently, quarterback Anthony Morelli broke a 10-year-old
team record for passing yards in a half (231), and threw for two of his
"They threw some stunts and some blitzes at us, but we practiced
it all week" said left guard Rich Ohrnberger. "We saw exactly
what we thought we'd see. We just matched up better with the pass with
what we were doing."
After a couple of halftime adjustments, Penn
State's running game caught up with its aerial attack.
Tailback Austin Scott, who had scored the Nittany
Lions' third touchdown on a 1-yard dive late in the second quarter, added
an 8-yard scoring
run with 12:14 left in the third. Rodney Kinlaw added a 15-yard touchdown
run three minutes later.
Morelli, who finished 23-of-38 for 295 yards
(all career bests), tossed a 1-yard touchdown to Matt Hahn with 4:34
left, and redshirt freshman
Evan Royster scored from 13 yards out with four seconds left in the quarter.
After FIU's Lionell Singleton fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, reserve
fullback Dan Lawlor -- to the delight of Morelli, his old roommate --
bowled into the end zone five seconds into the fourth quarter to cap
None of Penn State's five second-half scoring drives took
more than five plays, a sign of both a tiring Panthers defense and an
has the potential to be both versatile and explosive.
"It's going to be great," said Kinlaw, who lost a fumble the
first time he touched the ball Saturday but finished with 66 yards on
eight carries. "We are going to have a great passing game and it's
going to open up lanes for running."
Running lanes were few and far
between for the Golden Panthers, who finished the game with minus-3 yards
31 attempts. That number
was skewed slightly by seven Penn State sacks, which cost the Panthers
50 yards of field position, but
tailbacks Julian Reams (eight carries,
11 net yards) and Daunte Owens (5-9) simply had nowhere to go against
a swarming Nittany Lion attack.
Wayne Younger started at quarterback for FIU and completed 12 of
his 25 pass attempts for 117 yards. Colt Anderson, who like Younger hadn't
previously thrown a pass in college, was 0-for-1 in relief.
What really hurt the Panthers, who totaled just seven first downs in 57
offensive plays (Penn State had 26 in 89), was their five giveaways, all via
"We made the typical young team errors," said Cristobal, a former
assistant at Rutgers and Miami. "We gave the ball up in our own territory
when we showed early that we can do some things. We need to go back and coach
better and play better and make sure our young guys play like they're older guys."
Florida International put the ball on the ground four times during
the first quarter, and the opportunistic Nittany Lions came up with it
on three of those occasions.
"It seemed like all through preseason, we didn't have any fumbles," Penn
State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. "We were going weeks without
a fumble. We were worried if we weren't hitting hard enough."
There was no shortage of huge hits from the Penn State defense Saturday.
Defensive back Knowledge Timmons leveled Singleton during a second-quarter punt
return but was whistled for a penalty when the officials ruled he had gotten
there before the ball. Reserve linebacker Navorro Bowman, who had big day in
his Nittany Lion debut, put a huge hit on Reams in the second quarter, then forced
and recovered the second of three Singleton fumbles in the third quarter.
Special teams, a concern of Paterno's heading into the season, were mostly
a plus Saturday. Defensive lineman Jared Odrick blocked a field goal attempt,
the Nittany Lion coverage teams forced and recovered two fumbles, new punter
Jeremy Boone averaged a superb 47.4 yards on five kicks and kicker Kevin Kelly,
who was 1-of-2 on field goals, was solid with his kickoffs. "I think it
was a good first game for us," Paterno said.
Much more should be learned next week, when the Fighting Irish of Notre
Dame, 41-17 winners over Penn State a year ago, will visit Beaver Stadium at
6 p.m. The Nittany Lions, who now have a better idea of both their potential
and what they want to fine-tune, will set to prepare for the hugely anticipated
"There's 59 points on the board," said Penn State quarterbacks
coach Jay Paterno. "Whether it really means 59 points or not, those guys
all feel pretty good about themselves. We'll try our best to bring them back
down on Monday, and make them realize that there are a lot of things we've got
to work on."