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Sept. 3, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; September 3, 2011 - The Nittany Lion football squad opened its 125th season in style, rolling past Indiana State, 41-7, on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Penn State led throughout following a Chaz Powell (New Freedom) 95-yard kick-off return touchdown to open the game.
Sophomore Silas Redd (Norwalk, Conn.) led the Nittany Lion ground game with a pair of touchdowns and 104 yards. The Penn State rushing attack earned 245 yards on the day.
Penn State improved to 104-19-2 record in season openers. The Nittany Lions are 39-7 in season openers under Joe Paterno and 112-12-1 in home openers. Penn State has won 10 consecutive season openers. Penn State has a 23-game home non-conference winning streak. The Nittany Lions are tied with Florida for the nation's second-longest such streak behind LSU (31). Penn State has a 65-14 record in non-game conference games since starting Big Ten play in 1993. On a day where Penn State (out-gained Indiana State, 359-170, in total offense), the Nittany Lion rushing game proved decisive against the Sycamores. Penn State earned 16 of its 21 first downs on the ground.
The Penn State defense was sterling, holding ISU to just eight first downs with two interceptions, two sacks and a fumble recovery.Penn State forced three turnovers, the most forced by the Nittany Lions since causing four last year against Temple. The NIttany Lions converted the turnovers into two touchdowns (13 points).
Seven seniors started on offense and seven seniors started on defense for Penn State.
Penn State wasted no time scoring as Powell took the opening kick-off 95 yards to open a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game, with Evan Lewis adding his first career PAT kick. The TD return by Powell was his second straight in a season opener, having returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to open the second half against Youngstown State in 2010.
Redd delivered his second-career 100-yard rushing game and had his first career multiple-touchdown game with two rushing touchdowns. Tailback Curtis Dukes had a career-long 30-yard rush in the third quarter, and a career-best 47 yards on his six carries.
Co-captain Derek Moye had four catches, giving him 108 on his career. He moved into ninth place at Penn State, behind Terry Smith (109 catches). Moye's 57 receiving yards give him 1,798 yards in his career, which is 10th place in the Penn State annals. Moye trails Terry Smith (1,825 yards) for ninth place. Redshirt linebacker Mike Hull had seven tackles in his first career action. Linebacker Michael Yancich notched a career-best six tackles.
After an Indiana State three-and-out on the Sycamores' first possession, the Nittany Lions rattled off a long drive that resulted in a Redd nine-yard touchdown run on the 11th play of the drive, which totaled 77 yards. The march down the field was highlighted by a 16-yard run by Redd on the second play and a 14-yard scramble by Joe Suhey (Deerfield, Ill.) on the next play. The drive lasted a second shy of five minutes as PSU took a 14-0 lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
Co-captain Drew Astorino (Edinboro) intercepted a third-down pass by ISU's Ronnie Fouch and ran it back 33 yards to the Indiana 22-yard line. Placekicker Evan Lewis, though, his missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Penn State opened the second quarter by embarking on another long touchdown drive. Penn State chipped away with Brandon Beachum (Struthers, Ohio) runs of five, while sprinkling in rushes of seven and three yards by Mike Zordich (Youngstown, Ohio). Zordich's runs were sandwiched a 9-yard pass to Derek Moye (Rochester) from Matt McGloin (Scranton, Pa.) who entered on the first offensive play in the second quarter.
Following a first-down, 12-yard throw to Justin Brown (Wilmington, Del.), Beachum scampered for 22 yards, which eventually led to a Zordich TD with 8:55 left in the second. Penn State took a 21-0 lead on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 5:20, putting the Sycamores in a deep hole.
Penn State added another scoring drive for a 28-0 lead. This time, it was a six-play, 77-yard effort led by Redd, who rushed for 37 of those yards including a tackle-breaking 19 yarder. McGloin completed a 29-yard strike to Moye and an 11-yard gain to Suhey to sustain the drive, which reached second down just once. McGloin was perfect on his first five passes for 69 yards resulting in two touchdown drives.
The Nittany Lions' offensive success continued into the second half as Suhey punched in his first touchdown of the year from a yard out. The PSU drive went 21 yards after a Jordan Hill (Steelton) fumble recovery. Hill met Indiana State's Shakir Bell at the pass and stripped the running back of the ball putting Penn State in great field position. Suhey and red combined to run for 13 yards and an eight-yard connection of McGloin to Moye set up the scoring run.
The fourth quarter was highlighted by the interception of Ronnie Fouch by true freshman Adrian Amos (Baltimore, Md.), making his Nittany Lion and Beaver Stadium debut . Amos swiped the ball at the Penn State 42 and ran it back 46 yards to the ISU 12.
Penn State turned the offense over to quarterback Shane McGregor (Ebensburg) in his first appearance for the Blue and White. Derek Day (Bellefonte) rushed for nine yards on three carries before McGregor snuck into the end zone for his first career touchdown, a three-yard push with 8:17 remaining in the game. The extra point by Sam Ficken was good to push the Nittany Lion lead to 41-0.
Penn State will host No. 2 Alabama next Saturday at 3:30. The game will be nationally televised on ABC. The Crimson Tide will be playing in Beaver Stadium for the first time since 1989. Alabama leads the series, 9-5.