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Sept. 6, 2008
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State unleashed a big play offense for the second consecutive week, rolling to a 35-7 halftime lead en route to a 45-14 victory over Oregon State in Beaver Stadium.
Sophomore tailback Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.) ran for a career-high 141 yards on 17 carries (8.3) and junior quarterback Daryll Clark (Youngstown, Ohio) set career highs for passing and rushing to lead the Nittany Lion attack.
The No. 19 Nittany Lions (2-0) gained 454 yards, exhibiting great balance with 239 yards rushing and 215 yards passing, and averaging 7.0 yards per play. Penn State delivered eight plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage, giving the Lions 16 such plays in the first two weeks.
Penn State has won 22 of its last 24 home games, dating to a win over Michigan State on Senior Day in 2004. The Nittany Lions have won 33 of their last 42 games overall (78.6), tied for the seventh-best record nationally over that span entering today's games.
The Nittany Lions improved to 23-11 all-time in games against current members of the Pac-10. Oregon State was the last Pac-10 team that Penn State had not played. The Lions are 6-1 vs. Pac-10 squads since starting Big Ten play in 1993.
The Nittany Lions have scored a combined 111 points in their first two games, the most since the 1999 squad also scored 111 (41-7 vs. Arizona and 70-24 vs. Akron). The 1994 team scored 94 points in its first two games (56-3 vs. Minnesota; 38-14 vs. USC). This year marks the fourth time Penn State has scored at least 100 points in its first games in Joe Paterno's 43 years as head coach.
Royster eclipsed his previous high of 126 yards vs. Purdue last season. He has scored a combined six touchdowns in the first two games of the season, the first Nittany Lion player to accomplish the feat in his first two games since Lydell Mitchell had six against Navy and Iowa in the first two games of 1971 (five vs. Navy, one vs. Iowa). Royster is the first player under Joe Paterno to have six rushing touchdowns in his first two games, as Mitchell had five rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
Royster became the first Nittany Lion with a combined six touchdowns in consecutive games since Larry Johnson ran for eight touchdowns (4 in each game) vs. Indiana and Michigan State in the final two regular season games in 2002.
Clark set career highs across the board, going 14 of 23 for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a career-best 61 yards on five carries, including an 18-yard touchdown run, giving him 276 yards of total offense.
Senior wide receiver Jordan Norwood (State College) tied his career-high with eight receptions for a career-best 116 yards, including a leaping 22-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Senior linebacker Tyrell Sales (Butler) recorded a career-high 10 tackles (9 solo). His previous high was eight vs. Cincinnati in 2005 and Michigan State last year. Sophomore LB Navorro Bowman (District Heights, Md.) had a career-high 10 tackles. His previous high was three tackles against Buffalo and Ohio State last season.
Junior DE Jerome Hayes (Bayonne, N.J.) made his first career start. Hayes left the game in second half with what was diagnosed as a serious injury to his left knee.
The Nittany Lions forced a three-and-out on Oregon State's first possession and quickly went to work. A 24-yard completion from Daryll Clark to Mickey Shuler set-up a 15-yard touchdown run by Evan Royster with 9:34 left in the first quarter.
The Beavers were forced to punt on their second possession and the Lions got the ball on their own 45. On third down, Clark took off around the right side, gaining 24 yards. A 15-yard run by Derrick Williams gave the Lions first and goal at the five. Clark then hit Shuler, who made a leaping catch near the Penn State sideline for a 14-0 lead with 5:04 to go in the opening period. Shuler made three receptions for 48 yards.
Late in the first quarter, freshman linebacker Nate Stupar tackled Beavers' punter Johnny Hekker at the OSU 28. On second down, Royster burst around the left side and sprinted untouched for a 28-yard touchdown run, giving Penn State a 21-0 lead with 14:41 left in the opening half.
Oregon State was forced to punt and the Nittany Lions again moved downfield quickly. A 34-yard run by Royster pushed him past 100 yards after just nine carries (9-107-2). A 20-yard completion from Clark to Williams took the ball to the OSU. Royster then scooted four yards for his third score of the game, giving the Lions a 28-0 lead with 11:11 to play in the second quarter. The touchdown was Royster's sixth in the first three halves of the season.
The Beavers came back with their first sustained drive of the game, going 80 yards in 11 plays to make it 28-7. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a 12-yard run with 5:55 left in the half.
The Nittany Lions pushed their lead back to 28, as Jordan Norwood made a leaping 22-yard catch with 1:07 left in the half. Norwood finished the half with six catches for 74 yards, moving into third place in school career receptions with 127, passing O.J. McDuffie (125).
Penn State scored at least 35 points in the first half of consecutive games for the first time since the record-setting 1994 squad did so in its first three contests of the season.
A 26-yard Norwood catch in between three defenders was the big play on Penn State's next scoring drive. Clark then ran 18 yards for a score, pushing the pile the last five yards, to push the lead to 42-7 with 4:53 left in the third quarter. Norwood made two catches on the drive, giving him a career-high tying eight receptions for a career-best 116 yards.
Linebacker Josh Hull grabbed his first career interception, returning it 14 yards to the Oregon State 16. Kevin Kelly connected on a 31-yard field, extending his school record to 22 consecutive games with at least one made field goal, to make it 45-7 late in the third quarter.
The Nittany Lions visit Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the first meeting between the old rivals since 1990. The game will air on ABC and on ESPN GamePlan
as well as the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.