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Tuesday Cup of Joe: The Finale

Joe Paterno has wrapped up his weekly teleconfernece for the final time in 2009. Here’s the news you need to know headed into the finale against Michigan State where the Nittany Lions could cap a 10-2 season and possibly wrap up a BCS at-large berth.

THE BIG NEWS: Wide receiver Chaz Powell is unlikely to play this weekend with his sprained AC joint suffered against Indiana.

THE BIG NEWS II: DeOn’Tae Pannell will remain at guard for the finale and also the bowl game.

THE BIG NEWS III: Freshman wide receiver Devon Smith hasn’t been seen much because he’s been cutting classes. Paterno said “He’s decided he’s here to get an education,” and added that “He’s OK, he’s got a long way to go to grow up.”


  • Joe is pleased with tight end Andrew Quarless and they should get him the ball more.
  • The staff has been trying to get Kevin Newsome in more during the season, but it just hasn’t worked out much. “You hate to get out of style, and the Wildcat is the style now,” per Joe. “I just want to be stylish and we stick the Wildcat in there once in a while.”
  • Opposing defenses vs. the PSU wideouts has been good, “it’s a question of what they’re doing and giving us more of a chance to run the football.”
  • Joe likes Cousins running the offense at Michigan State. Said he’s a good quarterback and it’s an interesting question stacking him up against the other QBs.
  • Joe thinks the kicking game will determine how this game shakes out. Says that Michigan State has “excellent” special teams.
  • Rivalry with MSU: “We got an hour and a half of this press conference to answer that,” Joe remarks. Joe says it depends on the year how the rivalry between the two of them is. Joe says that there are other rivalries in the Big Ten that are better, but he thinks this could turn into a good one in due time. He kind of hints here that PSU still isn’t welcome in the Big Ten
  • No changes to punt return team.
  • Joe isn’t sure who will replace Beachum on special teams.
  • Joe did not talk to the team about a possible BCS bowl berth.
  • There have been no discussions between Paterno and linebacker Navorro Bowman about Bowman possibly leaving for the NFL.
  • Royster is a good all around back according to Joe…says he was on Royster for not playing with as much fire as he had before earlier in the season.
  • Joe says now there are more responsibilities for the admin to consider, namely 29 teams they have to find money to take care of expenses for.  “I think the University is doing the best it can. What exactly are specifics, I don’t know. All I’ve ever said to Curley is  “you’re doing one heck of a job.”  Joe says compared to other schools PSU is probably charging less than some of the Big Ten schools ticket wise. He said: “They’ve got to do something, or we’ve got to cut back sports, and we don’t want to do that.”
  • Michigan State is better than its 6-5 record indicates according to Joe and they are on the verge of being a really good football team but he hopes they are 10 days away from becoming such.
  • Joe things the team is playing consistent football but adds he wishes they would have won another game or two.

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Nittany Lion Hotline recap

Here is your running update from Nittany Lion Hotline for Ohio State week.

YOUR HOST: The man, Steve Jones, who last week had one of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard during a football broadcast, when during the problem the officials had spotting the ball, once it was announced where the ball would be placed, Steve slipped in a “we know.” You had to hear it. I howled.

PRESENTING SPONSOR: As always this season, Nittany Lion Hotline is brought to you by Sinus Buster Nasal Spray (I’ve switched back to Afrin myself, but hey, whatever clears your nose in this crappy fall weather).

THE BIG NEWS: Joe did not like the “Terrelle Cryer” t-shirt. He applauds Pryor for being a good kid. Sounds like The Godfather was the one that put the ki-bosh on the shirt. “Paulie? Oh we won’t see him no more.”

THE BIG NEWS II: Stephfon Green will be ready this week. Joe said he had a good Wednesday of practice and looked good today as well. But added if they have to play Beachum, Beachum won’t hurt them.

THE NOT BIG NEWS BUT WORTH MENTIONING NEWS: Jones reports in the first segment that the line to get into the overnight RV lot was already long today. You fans, I’ll tell ya…does anybody work on Friday’s in-state anymore? (Sidebar: I think it would be a great story to say fly to a far away state and travel into town with fans that drive a RV. Any takers? I’ll bring beer)

PLAYER GUEST: Defensive tackle Jared Odrick is up tonight. Good time as ever to pimp him.

  • Odrick says it’s easy to get pumped up for a game like Ohio State.
  • Defense has been able to get better, and he says that Odrick has this ability to feel out the blocks before they happen.
  • He prefers 3-technique.
  • No brainer that Pryor is the guy they are focusing on and that they have to play solid and sound defense vs. him.
  • Pryor is deceptively quick. “Sideline to sideline he is really fast and we know he likes to get to that sideline and get out of bounds before he cuts back.” (interesting….pinky to mouth)
  • Talking about the support the team receives, Odrick says that ON THE ROAD, at Michigan the crowd in the PSU end was so loud that Tate Forcier had trouble getting a snap off. Geesh.

JOE ARRIVAL TIME: 6:25 eastern standard time, 3:25 in California and I believe 1:25 pm in H-A-W-A-II, Joseph Vincent Paterno makes his long awaited return to the Hotline show…it’s been a long two weeks since we last heard from the coach. And in that two weeks, nothing has happened.


  • Darla, or as Joe calls her, ‘Darler’ calls in to say she has a bitchin’ tailgate planned this week. Joe says that he hopes the postgame tailgate is better. (I would pay straight cash homey to see Joe swing by a tailgate and shotgun a Keystone Light with some co-eds. That would be in-cred-ible)
  • Joe burns Roger from Emmaus, who tries to match X’s and O’s. Don’t challenge him, Rog. Don’t challenge him.
  • Joe is breaking down the passing game now. Z-cross, X-Y out, whatever just happened to saying “you go to the car and run a post, you go to the fire hydrant and run a comeback?
  • The two down lineman are really good for OSU per JVP.
  • “They’re a tough team to run against. This will be a good, tough football game. The guy that makes the least mistakes will probably win.”
  • Joe says if they make mistakes, they will get licked. If Ohio State makes mistakes, they will get licked. SOMEONE IS GETTING LICKED!


  • Al Golden’s got Temple cooking, per Joe.
  • Caller says his kid goes to PSU and saw Joe driving this summer and his son waved at Joe and Joe waved back. Joe says: “I wasn’t waving at him, I was running out of gas.”….BADA BOOM!
  • Joe pimps Daryll Clark again. (Note: more on this tomorrow, I got something planned for this here space y’all will love, and hopefully eat up about DC)


  • Joe says the wide receivers had great potential coming into the season, Joe adds that they haven’t exceeded expectations but they have come along faster than they thought they would. (apparently people really don’t read newspapers anymore because everyone on the beat has written this, over and over.)
  • Joe gets a call from someone who is talking about how much he means to the state of PA (Joe, not the caller), and Joe says “I’m gonna tape this conversation and give it to my wife.” BOOM. ROASTED.


  • Joe says they practiced well this week and they did a little more than they usually do on Monday to “see where we are.”
  • Joe won’t say for sure if Ohio State is the biggest rival for PSU. He mentions Iowa and Michigan State. I’d vote for Iowa, but you have to beat the team every now and then…you know, in order for it to be a rivalry. Ohio State is definitely PSU’s biggest rival and it’s the biggest game in the Big Ten annually right now, thanks to the 2005 game.
  • Joe thinks Terrelle Pryor made a good choice in picking Ohio State for his school.
  • Joe wants the crowd to be loud “but don’t be mean spirited. I hate booing. Let’s just hope we play as well as we can play and they play as well as they can play and let’s see what happens.” Then he adds “but you can help us be better by being loud.”

Joe exits stage left.

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Tuesday Cup of Joe: Buckeyes for everyone

The Big News: Joe says if Sean Lee isn’t 100-percent, he’s very close. His stamina is getting better and gaining confidence in how hard he can go.

The Big News II: Stephfon Green practiced yesterday and Joe is eager to see how his ankle responds today in practice.


  • Pryor has been red hot the last couple of weeks after starting slow.
  • If you can’t slow Pryor down, you can’t be in the football game.
  • “They’ve very very good defensive football team. We’ve got to be precise. Mix up things. We can’t have foolish penalties,” says Joe about the Ohio State defense.
  • You have to look at the punters PSU has played against. Joe was again asked by YDR’s Frankie “BoJangles” Bodani about the punt return unit, which still stinks.
  • More love for Jared Odrick. “He reminds me a lot of the good ones we’ve had,”….Odrick is compared to Matt Millen, Mike Reid, Steve Smear, according to Joe.
  • Wide receiver Derek Moye is getting better all the time.
  • Joe is asked about DC and the Heisman. Joe says DC has been an outstanding performer. But Joe said he hasn’t seen enough of the other guys playing to decide on the Heisman. “Daryll Clark is one heckuva football player,” says Joe. Again he said Clark isn’t getting the attention he deserves, like Odrick.
  • Ogbu has become a surprise for Joe. He said Crawford and Bowman have been good but they knew that going into the season.
  • Joe said he watched a little IU-Iowa on Saturday and he tries to not let what else is going on in the conference become a distraction for his team or him personally.
  • Brandon Beachum has been solid in place of Stephfon Green
  • The secondary is better with Astorino at strong safety because they can get him involved in the defense more. “He can be involved in more plays and have more leadership impact.”
  • Comparing styles with Jim Tressel, Joe doesn’t want to.
  • Joe is aware of the situation if they lose to Ohio State, but he is more worried about doing the best they can vs. Ohio State.
  • Royster is “certainly a big league tailback,” says Joe.
  • Joe likes hanging with Matt Millen when he comes back to do games for ABC. Joe says that Millen has two daughters at PSU and they looked at his son in recruiting but he opted for Army.
  • Doesn’t know if this will be like last year’s game vs. Ohio State.
  • Adversity at NW helps? “Hopefully we learned from that, but I don’t know, I really don’t. I would think every game you play you learn something.”
  • Joe was asked if he should still vote, but said he was told he’s not allowed to because he voted Auburn No. 1 in 2004 and they told him he couldn’t.
  • Crawford has been a surprise because of his lack of playing time. Joe says he’s been mature, handled problems well, he’s learning and has become a very good football player.

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Big Ten Picks

Before I get to the picks for this week, allow me to direct you over to Jeff Rice’s column in today’s Centre Daily Times.

Nail, meet hammer.

All this talk this week that certain players from Penn State aren’t getting just due from the beat writers is total bubkiss. Rice points that out.

What I will continue to point out in defense of my journalist brothers and sisters is this. It ain’t our job to promote the players. Like I said earlier this week we have guys we definitely root for. For me, it’s a guy like Clark, I will always be willing to admit that.

If Joe is concerned that his players aren’t getting promoted, look no further than the school itself. Paterno and gang have never promoted players vying for awards properly. Ever.

Before every season members of the FWAA get all kinds of propaganda from schools that have award candidates. Tennessee sent out a media guide just for Eric Berry this season. Illinois sent out a DVD of Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn. Oklahoma sent stuff out for players, Notre Dame too.

Penn State as recently as 2002, when Larry Johnson was a finalist, didn’t do much to help his cause. Same for Mike Robinson in 2005.

Create a notepad, give me a DVD, promote the guys. Do something. But don’t blame the media for lack of credit bestowed among players. That’s just not fair.


LAST WEEK: 4-1, thanks Northwestern for the comeback, ruining  a perfect week. Almost hit exactly on Ohio State-Minn. Had 37-7, was 38-7.


NEW MEXICO STATE vs. OHIO STATE, Noon, Big Ten Network

Buckeyes are rolling, should not let down headed into Penn State in a week. I think Pryor has another huge game and the Buckeyes need to do something to fix the running game as a whole.

The Pick: Ohio State 35, New Mexico State 10


Badgers have to curtail the bit of a tailspin, Purdue is fighting for bowl eligibility…and that won’t be easy. I still like the Badgers running game here, especially at home. Purdue beat Illinois last week, proving nothing after that Ohio State win, so I am still not sure what we can expect from them.

The Pick: Wisconsin 24, Purdue 12


If Illinois was ever going to break its slump, this would be the week. And that’s not meant as a disrespect to Michigan, they are definitely the better team, but how much did getting crushed at home by Penn State take out of the Wolverines?

I’ll say not much. Nice rebound this week. Does Illinois have a quarterback yet? Do they have a head coach?

The Pick: Michigan 27, Illinois 9

MICHIGAN STATE at MINNESOTA, 8 pm, Big Ten Network

Feel awful for the Spartans because they had that game against Iowa last week. Going to Minnesota to close October, at night, outside, that’s not going to be good. Weather for the game calls for 37-degrees, will feel like 31. No thanks.

Michigan State showed me something battling last week and I still believe they are on the rise toward the end of the season. But Minnesota at home should be tough.

The Pick: Michigan State 24, Minnesota 20


I would call this a trap game if Penn State hadn’t beaten Ohio State last year. Then they might be looking ahead too much. Northwestern cannot run the ball, I am not sure anyone up front can block Jared Odrick and Daryll Clark will continue his hot streak with Derek Moye and Chaz Powell.

It’s expected Stephfon Green returns next week, so Brandon Beachum is your No. 2 tailback again. I think my final score will look closer than the game really indicates.

The Pick: Penn State 37, Northwestern 20



You get the feeling the Hawkeyes are living a bit of a charmed life right now, and if this game were on the road I might be a little more suspect.

I think Indiana is definitely a live underdog in this game, but again, Iowa City is becoming so impossible to play in if you are the opponent.

How will Iowa compete without Adam Robinson? Or Dace Richardson? Colin Sandeman is likely out too. Iowa has a chance to prove something here, but I am beginning to believe they cannot survive much longer.

The Pick: Iowa 27, IU 20


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Nittany Lion Hotline recap

Nittany Lion hotline is done for another week. A recap.

Your Host: The always joyful Steve Jones, who by the way I had the chance to catch a few minutes of on the way to meet another beat writer last Saturday to watch the game. He and Jack were really good in the first quarter. But I cannot stand hearing “We” when Jack speaks. Just saying. Hammer, if you read this, please don’t hurt me.

Presenting sponsor: Sinus Buster Nasal Spray

Player Guest: Cornerback A.J. Wallace

Joe arrives at..: See “The Big News”

The Big News: Joe was absent tonight. It was Tom Bradley and Galen Hall in his place. The humor factor went into the can once that was announced. Bradley is awesome, but Joe is just funny even when he doesn’t say a word.

The Big News II: Toward the end of the show, offensive coordinator Galen Hall that Stephfon Green is “not healthy”…and uses the phrase “if he comes back healthy”….hmmmmmm.

A.J. is up:

  • A.J. didn’t want Minnesota’s Eric Decker to get any clean releases and he tried to play as physical as possible against Decker.
  • A.J. gives props to Jerome Hayes and Navorro Bowman for that fantastic goal line stand vs. Minnesota two weeks ago.
  • Game has slowed down for AJ. “Everything was moving so fast. Now it seems that everything slowed down. I think it comes with patience,” says Wallace.
  • A.J. Was a running back in high school, he says he got bored playing running back because he scored too much or had too many yards and the conversion to cornerback was hard because he had to play so physical.
  • He calls Beaver Stadium an “un-compairable” stadium in college football.
  • He wants to do non-profit work when he is done with college.
  • A.J. wears No. 1 because he wore it in HS, and he wanted No. 5, but he had to take No. 12 so he waited until No. 1 came open. (No. 1 is to the PSU corner what it is to the Michigan wide receiver. The marquee corner, aside from Zemitas in ’05, wears it now. Anwar Phillips had it, Justin King took it, then A.J.)

Wallace exits stage left. Scrap is due up after the break.

It’s 6:18 in the east, 3:18 in the west and just after midnight in London, and we welcome defensive coordinator Tom “Scrap” Bradley into the program.

  • Caller on I-80, who hits a dead spot on the road asks something. Bradley says the defense is playing well because the offense is playing so much better and shortening the game for the D.
  • The side judge signaled for the clock stoppage on Saturday at Michigan, so says Scrap. Jones adds in there, in a hilarious deadpan moment “and Penn State won 35-10.”…ahhhhh Steven.
  • Northwestern’s pass patterns are different than Michigan’s spread attack. They are working on a new-front four rotation.
  • Doug from Wellsboro asks for Scrap to essentially give up the gameplan for the defense this week. Scrap declines. (And then Paterno sends a hitman to Doug’s house to make sure he don’t call da show no more. “Doug? Oh we won’t heah from him no more.” )
  • Scrap compares Kakfa to Tebow. Neil Geoghegan from Journal Register thinks C.J. Bacher is better than both of them. Mike Gross would laugh at Neil and tell him Kakfa is better than Bacher and that Bacher stinks and he doesn’t like him.  (inside joke)

Back from the commercial, Scrap is kind enough to stick around. Apparently he isn’t trick or treating tonight. Hey, you know what, I bet that’s what Joe is doing and I bet he is going as George Paterno. (I dearly miss George and Franny in the booth on Saturday’s. Franny is one of my idols.)

  • Henry from Steelton calls in. I am starting to think Henry in Steelton is Henry Hill of Goodfellas fame. Love the Steelton. Steelton and Carbondale is where my people are from.
  • Caller wants to know Scrap’s stance on a playoff system. Bradley wants it. “I think it can be done. Tie it in with the bowl games if you want.” Hey NCAA, when Scrap speaks, you best listen or he will tear your $&*#^!%**#& head off.
  • Bradley repeats his notion that Jared Odrick is the best 3-technique guy in the country. (Agreed)
  • The belief is that Josh Hull is vastly underrated. (Y’all will laugh, but I agree. Dude has been unbelievable this season)
  • They are pimping Astorino and his accomplishments.

Bradley exits stage left to root for the Pirates tonight. Wait, what? Oh the Pirates and their awfully cheap, overly sensitive ownership isn’t in the World Series? Sorry, my bad.

Galen Hall joins the show at 6:41 pm in the east, 3:41 pm in the west and about the time for last call over the pond….who am I kidding…they don’t stop drinking in the mother land.

Galen says he’s glad to be here. Sure sounds like it.

  • Caller asks how he can get some autograph pictures of Joe. That’s your question? Really? You can ask anything of the OC, or Jonesy….and you ask how you can get a JoePa autograph? CHILD PLEASE!
  • Legit question: What happens on a road trip Friday. They meet at 1:15 pm, fly out at 4:15, takes about an hour and change on the charter, they grub, go to bed, and they mix in a few meetings, then head on over to the stadium.
  • Caller from Chi-town asks who the biggest surprise on O has been and which player hasn’t been fully utilized yet? Galen says the surprise, really there is none. The players are playing the way they all thought they would.
  • Royster has made progress has come in making more decisive cuts behind the zone blocking scheme. He has to get more comfortable with the offensive line. Galen says he is picking up the blitzes better.

Final segment with Galen Hall

  • Caller stumbles around his question saying he used to see Galen play pinball at a local bar. OK, creep. He asks how many plays Sean Lee was in on last week. (Jones slips in, “35 give or take). Galen doesn’t think the injury bug will tag Sean Lee.
  • They pimp Daryll Clark…which is good, but I doubt anyone from ESPN is listening and I doubt that any Heisman voters out of state heard it. But this is what PSU needs to do, they need to pimp their own players better. We can’t write feel-good stories just because we like someone in our jobs, we have to be down the middle and write the facts (even though it does come out every once in a while we like a guy, like I said the other day)…so keep this up and these guys will get recognized.

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PSU-Michigan postgame notes

Penn State is 47-12 (79.6) since the start of the 2005 season, the No. 9 winning percentage in the nation.

• Penn State is 6-1 on the road in the last two seasons, with its lone loss coming on a last second field goal at Iowa last season.

• Joe Paterno posted his FBS all-time leading 390th victory. The coach in his 44th season at Penn State and has a 390-128-3 (75.1) mark.

• Penn State posted its second-highest point total in the Michigan series, trailing only the 46 points posted last year at Beaver Stadium, and its most points at Michigan Stadium.

• The Nittany Lions have held six of their first eight opponents to 10 points or less for the first time since 1973.

• Penn State leads the nation in scoring defense at 8.88 ppg. Florida and Oklahoma are tied for second at 10.14 ppg.

• Penn State leads the Big Ten in all the major Big Ten defensive statistical categories:  scoring (8.88 ppg), rushing yards per game (79.7 avg.), passing yards per game (160.5 avg) and total defense (240.2 ypg), tackles for losses (70, 8.75 avg.) and sacks (26, 3.25 avg.).

• The Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in all the major statistical categories: scoring (1st), rushing (4th), passing (9th) and total defense (3rd), as well as TFL (4th) and sacks (T 8th).

• Michigan entered the game leading the Big Ten in scoring at 37.3 ppg and was held to a season-low 10 points, 27 below its average. The Wolverines’ previous season low for scoring had been 20 points at Michigan State.

• Michigan entered the game leading the Big Ten in rushing at 235.0 ypg, but was limited to 110 yards on 40 carries (2.8 avg.). After its first possession, the Wolverines were held to 74 rushing yards the rest of the game.

• The Lions held Michigan to a season-low 250 yards, 176 yards below its season total average of 426.6 ypg.

• After Michigan’s initial drive of 70 yards, the Nittany Lions held the Wolverines to 96 yards on their next 11 possessions.

• Daryll Clark’s 10-yard TD pass to Graham Zug on the opening drive tied him with Zack Mills for the most career touchdowns responsible for at Penn State with 52. Clark later broke the mark when he completed a 60-yard TD pass to Andrew Quarless for his 53rd TD, finishing game with 55 career touchdowns responsible for (36 passing, 19 rushing).

• Daryll Clark passed Wally Richardson (4,419; 1992, 94-96) for seventh all-time at Penn State in career passing yardage, finishing the day with 4,623 yards. Todd Blackledge is sixth with 4,812 yards.

• Daryll Clark passed Todd Blackledge (341; 1980-82) to move into seventh all-time in career pass completions at Penn State with 356.  Kerry Collins is sixth with 370.

•  Clark posted his fourth career game with three or more TD passes and his third this season. Clark’s four TD passes equaled a career high, matching the four he threw in a victory over Michigan State to close the 2008 regular season. Clark has 17 TD passes this the season, tying him for eighth most all-time with Mike McQueary (1997), Zack Mills (2002) and Michael Robinson (2005). Todd Blackledge owns the Penn State record with 22 in 1982.

• Clark posted his 11th career game with 200+ passing yards tying him for third all-time at Penn State with Chuck Fusina, Tony Sacca and Anthony Morelli. Penn State is 10-1 when Clark passes for at least 200 yards.

• Clark has thrown eight touchdown passes and only one interception in the last four games, all Penn State wins.

• Clark moved into fifth place in Penn State career total offense with 5,163 yards, moving past Anthony Morelli (5,154) and Chuck Fusina (5,162). Michael Robinson is fourth at 5,168.

• Graham Zug made a career-high three touchdown catches on the day, the first Penn State player to catch three in a game since Deon Butler vs. Michigan State last season. Butler, now a member of the Seattle Seahawks, was on the sidelines for Saturday’s game at Michigan Stadium.

• Evan Royster gained 100 yards on 20 carries for his 10th career 100-yard rushing game (fourth this season). The Nittany Lions are 10-0 when Royster hits the century mark.

• Evan Royster’s 41-yard run on his first carry of the game was his longest rush this season.

• Navorro Bowman made a game-high 11 tackles for his second double figure tackle game in the five full games he has played this year He also had a sack, recovered a fumble in Penn State territory and grabbed his first interception of the season (second in career), returning it 13 yards into UM territory.

• Josh Hull made 10 tackles, including 2.5 TFL for minus-10 yards, for his sixth double figure tackle game of the season.

• Josh Hull posted his second sack of the season and Jack Crawford his fifth. Crawford also caused a third quarter fumble recovered by Navorro Bowman.

• Sean Lee made three tackles in limited duty, increasing his career tackle total to 276, good for No. 6 in school history. He moved past Brandon Short (273), Shane Conlan and John Skorupan (274). Two-time All-American Dennis Onkotz is fifth with 287 stops.

• Derek Moye posted six receptions in the first 20 minutes of play to equal a career-high for a game. He also had six catches vs. Akron and Minnesota this season.

• Brandon Beachum posted a career high in carries (7) and rushing yards (23).

• Penn State posted a safety vs. Michigan for the second straight game when a Wolverines snap went out the back of the end zone. The second quarter safety marked Penn State’s first since Jared Odrick sacked Nick Sheridan in the end zone in last year’s game at Beaver Stadium.

• Andrew Quarless’ 60-yard touchdown catch from Daryll Clark in the second quarter marked a career long for the tight end and his first touchdown of the season. It was the sixth touchdown catch of the senior’s career and marked the longest completion to a PSU tight end since Michael Robinson completed a 73-yard TD pass to Matt Kranchick vs. Wisconsin in 2003. The pass play also marked the second-longest of the season for Penn State and Clark’s fifth TD pass of 49 yards or longer on the year.

• Quarless posted a career high in receiving yardage with 91 yards on two catches.

• Chaz Powell’s 54-yard kickoff return to start the second half was the longest of the season for Penn State and set up a touchdown for a 25-10 lead.

• Penn State was 5 of 5 in the Red Zone vs. the Wolverines and is 22 of 22 inside the 20 the past six games with 17 touchdowns and five field goals. For the season, the Lions are 28 of 33 (84.8) in the Red Zone.

• Penn State posted its second scoring drive of 10:00-plus minutes this season.

• The Nittany Lions (7-1, 3-1) visit Northwestern (5-3, 2-2) on Saturday. The game will kick at 3:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. ET and air on ESPN, the Penn State Sports Nework and

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Big Ten Picks: Haunted ‘House’ edition

Two huge games on tap this week. Both with conference title implications, well really any game Iowa, PSU and Ohio State play from this point on has implications.

Let’s get to it.

Last Week: 5-1

For the Season: 43-13



Hoosiers keep climbing, and sure, they should have beaten lifeless Illinois last week…everyone should beat Illinois. But this quirky IU offense, the pistol, causes all kinds of problems for teams.

Northwestern must find an answer for the ground game. If quarterback Mike Kafka keeps having to run the ball they cannot win and he isn’t going to survive the remainder of the season.

The Pick: Indiana 30, Northwestern 20


Purdue has to be riding that emotional high of the Ohio State win last week and look, they’ve been close on a lot of games this year. They play tough, they are more balanced than in past years.

Illinois can’t get out of its own way. Enough said about them.

The Pick: Purdue 27, Illinois 10


Minnesota proved once again last week they are too one-dimensional and when you take away that dimension, they can do nothing.

Terrelle Pryor is out to prove his crying fit last week was nothing more than just frustration in the moment, and this Buckeyes team, after yet another mid-season conference setback, has a lot to prove again.

The Pick: Ohio State 37, Minnesota 7


IOWA at MICHIGAN STATE, 7pm, Big Ten Network

Can the Hawkeyes survive another road test in conference? And if they can’t how does that bode for the future date with Ohio State? I believe in Iowa right now, you have to. They are solid, they play relatively mistake free football and they are, still, as I’ve been saying, headstrong.

Michigan State has the quarterback situation figured out finally…they are at home and playing well. Close. Very close game.

The Pick: Iowa 21, Michigan State 17


Here we go again. Another road game for Penn State. But anyone who’s followed this series knows this is no ordinary road game for the Nittany Lions.

The Big House in Ann Arbor messes with them mentally. It really didn’t used to be that way until things went haywire in 2002. The ’05 happened, then ’07.

If you want to debate which team was better in 2002, go ahead. I’m all ears and I could go either way. In 2005 same deal. If Michigan was fully healthy in 2007, it might have been much worse than it was, however they weren’t and Penn State still looked like they had no clue what was going on.

Remember what that 2007 Michigan team ended up doing to Florida, by the way.

So here we are this year, Penn State, to me, is better, they should be favored and  they should be favored the remainder of the season. I believe they are better than any team remaining on their schedule.

In this instance, I can see where Joe Paterno believes he can win this game rushing the football and playing defense. I wouldn’t be stunned to see Chaz Powell in the backfield and I think the offensive line is playing well enough to at least slow down Brandon Graham.

If Tate Forcier scrambles, does he make enough plays vs. the No. 5 ranked defense in the country?

The first series is key on both sides of the ball for both teams. Happy paint swapping gentlemen.

The Pick: Penn State 27, Michigan 13

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