Nittany Lions Thump Syracuse, 55-13
Sept. 13, 2008
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New venue. Same result.
For the third consecutive week, the No. 17 Nittany Lions (3-0) took control early and cruised, belting Syracuse, 55-13, in the Carrier Dome. In the first meeting between the old rivals since 1990, Penn State earned its highest point total ever in the 69 meetings between the schools.
Penn State hit its season scoring average and pushed its season point total to 166, a program record for the first three games of the season. The previous mark over 122 seasons of Penn State football was 165 points by the 1926 squad
The Nittany Lions rolled to an incredible 393 yards in the first half, averaging 8.0 yards per play in taking a 38-6 lead at the break. For the third straight week, the Penn State starters left the field in the third quarter with the game well in hand.
Also for the third consecutive week, Penn State had at least 35 points at halftime, the first time the NIttany Lions have do so since the first three games of the 1994 season.
The victory was No. 375 in the career of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno.
Senior wide receivers Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood and quarterbacks Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin delivered impressive performances. The Lions gained 344 yards through the air on 216 on the ground for 560 total yards. Penn State limited the Orange to eight first downs and 159 total yards (49 rushing, 110 passing).
Butler had his best outing of the season, grabbing seven passes for 110 yards and two scores. The seven catches were tied for second-most in his career. His 17 career touchdown receptions are No. 3 in school history. Norwood made five receptions for 113 yards and two scores, delivering his second consecutive 100-yard game, becoming the first Lion to do so since Bryant Johnson in 2001.
Butler and Norwood became the first Penn State tandem to eclipse 100 receiving yards since Matt Kranchick (136) and Tony Johnson (122) did so vs. Wisconsin in 2003.
Clark was 10 of 21 for 163 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Devlin entered the game in the second quarter and completed his first six passes, finishing 8 of 13 for 130 yards and the first TD passes of his career. Senior Paul Cianciolo played much of the second half and was 2 of 4 for 51 yards, including a 33-yard TD pass to Derek Moye.
Sophomore tailback Evan Royster eclipsed the century mark for the second consecutive week, gaining 101 yards on just 13 carries for a superb 7.8 averge. Stephfon Green gained 52 yards on 10 carries and scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter.
Linebacker Navorro Bowman recorded eight tackles and pass break-up to lead the Penn State defense. Linebacker Tyrell Sales had five hits and LB Chris Colsanti had four. Freshman safety Drew Astorino grabbed his first career interception and made three stops and sophomore DE Aaron Maybin recorded his fourth sack of the season.
The game got off to a frenetic start. On the Nittany Lions' second play, Clark fumbled and the Orange recovered at the PSU 36. But, on Syracuse's first play, a lateral was bobbled and a diving Lydell Sargeant grabbed it at the Penn Ste 45.
On the next play, Clark hit Norwood near the SU 35, he spun away from a defender and dashed into the end zone for a 7-0 lead just 1:20 into the game. The play was Norwood's longest career reception and Clark's longest career completion and tied for the Nittany Lions' longest play of the season.
Penn State forced a three-and-out and Derrick Williams was interfered with on the punt return. A 23-yard completion to Norwood resulted in a first down. On third down, Clark lofted the ball into the end zone and Butler made a sensational catch near the out of bounds line, giving the Lions a 14-0 lead with 7:45 left in the opening period. The touchdown catch was the 16th of Butler's career, moving him into a tie for third place with O.J. McDuffie on the school career list.
The Lions forced another three-and-out and quickly were on the move again. A 14-yard run by Williams took the ball to SU one. On first down, fullback Dan Lawlor plunged over for his second career touchdown to make it 21-0 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
After one quarter, the Nittany Lions had eight first downs and 191 yards, while holding Syracuse to no first downs and minus-five yards.
Sophomore quarterback Pat Devlin quickly engineered a 74-yard scoring drive to make it 28-0. He threw a 28-yard completion to Butler and Evan Royster followed with a 31-yard burst to the SU 15. On the next play, Devlin hit Butler inside the five and he worked his way into the end zone for his second receiving TD of the game and 17th career. The TD pass was the first of Devlin's career. He completed his first six passes for 76 yards.
Syracuse gained its first first down of the game and got on the scoreboard with a 44-yard goal by Patrick Shadle midway through the second quarter.
Devlin then led Penn State on a 79-yard scoring drive in 13 plays. Devlin connected with Norwood on a 24-yard strike with 2:32 left in the half. The catch pushed him over 100 yards for the second consecutive game (4-106-1), becoming the first Nittany Lion with consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Bryant Johnson did so vs. Michigan and Northwestern in 2001.
Shadle connected on his second 44-yard field goal to make it 35-6 with :50 to play, but Clark retuned to efficiently lead the Lions in the 2:00 drill. He completed four consecutive passes to get the ball to midfield and then his Butler on a 15-yard completion. Kevin Kelly connected on a 52-yard field goal as time expired, the second-longest of his career.
The Nittany Lions rolled up 393 yards on 49 plays (8.0) in the first half, limiting the Orange to three first downs and 42 yards on 28 plays.
Early in the third quarter, freshman safety Drew Astorino grabbed his first career interception at the PSU 38. With Devlin directing the offense, Stephfon Green scored from two yards out to make it 45-6 with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
The Orange got into the end zone late in the third quarter, as Cam Dantley hit Marcus Sales on an 11-yard pass to make it 45-13.
The Nittany Lions host Temple on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 12:00 p.m. The game will air on the Big Ten Network as well as the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.
A limited number of tickets, returned by Temple, remain for the game. Tickets are available at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.