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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Penn St. 38, (19) Wisconsin 7

Consecutive road losses by the Badgers will most likely move them out of the top 25.

By GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer
October 13, 2007

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Wide smiles broke out on the faces of the Penn State Nittany Lions after Deon Butler's 29-yard touchdown catch.

Terrell Golden greeted his teammate on the sideline by jumping high in the air and bumping Butler's hips.

Penn State was glad to be playing football again.

Anthony Morelli threw for 216 yards and the TD to Butler, Rodney Kinlaw ran for 115 yards and another score, and the Nittany Lions capitalized on mistake-prone No. 19 Wisconsin in a surprisingly easy 38-7 win Saturday.

"It was getting back to the basics. Just play football," Golden said Saturday, following a week full of off-the-field distractions at Penn State. "You don't work football. You play it."

Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) moved the ball with ease in claiming its second straight conference win and scored on two of three Wisconsin first-half turnovers.

The Badgers (5-2, 2-2) lost their second straight after having won 14 in a row.

Just last week the Badgers were ranked No. 5 and had aspirations for a national title. Now, they've lost two straight and are struggling.

Wisconsin's season-long woes on defense continued after giving up 437 yards Saturday. Their formidable offense faltered, too, held to a season-low point total.

"We can't let them intimidate us," defensive end Maurice Evans, who had two sacks, said about the Badgers' physical offensive line. "We can't play scared."

"Overrated!" chanted blue and white-clad fans with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and the game well in hand.

Star tailback P.J. Hill, who bruised a groin last week against Illinois, had 19 carries and ran for a touchdown but was held to 75 yards rushing on the afternoon, 50 below his season average.

Coach Bret Beilema said Hill may have also hurt his wrist Saturday afternoon.

Hill got the Badgers off to an awful start, fumbling on the Wisconsin 16 after being hit by defensive end Josh Gaines on the first play.

Linebacker Sean Lee recovered at the 12, and three plays later Matt Hahn leaped into the end zone from 1 yard out to give the Nittany Lions a quick 7-0 lead.

"I was just at the right place at the right time," Gaines said about the fumble. "It kind of set the tone."

It was a bad omen for the Badgers.

"Anytime you start the game the way we did, with turning the ball over on the opening possession and putting our defense behind it ... mistakes out of the gate," Bielema said, trailing off at one point.

Early in the second quarter, wide-open freshman wideout David Gilreath, getting more playing time because of injuries to the Wisconsin receiving corps, bobbled a pass that would have given the Badgers a sure first down at midfield. Penn State's Lydell Sargeant picked the ball out of the air for an interception.

Three plays later, Morelli faked left and hit Deon Butler in stride down the right sideline for a 29-yard score and 17-7 lead.

A giddy Butler raised his right fist as he trotted by the raucous student section.

Happy Valley celebrated a happy homecoming game.

Evan Royster's 19-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 with 6:29 in the second quarter gave Penn State a 24-7 lead that Wisconsin would never threaten. Royster had 68 yards on eight carries, and Morelli finished 16-of-28 passing.

Wisconsin safety Kim Royston readied for long day Sunday of watching film back in Madison.

"I can't think off the top of my head," Royston said when asked what's wrong with the defense. "Our defense has to get better, that's all I can really say."

The beleaguered Nittany Lions finally generated some good news Saturday after a tough week off the field.

Police on Friday charged running back Austin Scott with rape. Scott was suspended on Oct. 5.

Coach Joe Paterno has also said he is investigating the possibility that a couple players were involved in a fight earlier this month. And two Nittany Lions are still awaiting trial on criminal charges in connection with another fight off-campus in April.

Saturday was all about football.

"I told them, 'Let's go play football.' That's all," Paterno said when asked how his team responded in practice. "You can't do anything about some of the mistakes" made by other players.

Anthony Scirrotto also had an interception for Penn State's active defense.

For the second straight week, Wisconsin couldn't overcome a double-digit halftime deficit on the road.

Quarterback Tyler Donovan was forced to throw often in the second half and had to scramble often to keep drives alive. He finished 16-of-29 for 220 yards and an interception.

Wisconsin's Kyle Jefferson had six catches for 124 yards. Butler led Penn State with seven receptions for 93 yards and Golden added five for 83.

Updated on Saturday, Oct 13, 2007 8:40 pm, EDT


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