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Rush Week at Penn State

Resurgent Nittany Lions run for 364 yards and improve to 5-0 with a 44-14 victory over No. 18 Minnesota.

October 02, 2005|From Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State beat run-first Minnesota at its own game.

Whether going off-tackle, around the end or just straight up the middle, the Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) ran roughshod over the No. 18 Gophers' porous defense in a 44-14 victory on Saturday.

They also shut down the vaunted running attack of Minnesota (4-1, 1-1) and put a big hit on Laurence Maroney's Heisman Trophy campaign, holding him to a season-low 48 yards.

Penn State could return to the top 25 with the win, but with a prime-time showdown coming up next week against No. 8 Ohio State, Coach Joe Paterno spoke cautiously about his team.

"I don't want to get carried away here," Paterno said. "We got a long way to go."

Derrick Williams ran for two early scores, and Tony Hunt rushed for two touchdowns and 114 of Penn State's season-high 364 yards rushing. Quarterback Michael Robinson added 112 yards on the ground.

"Any way you cut it, we got our butts kicked good," Minnesota Coach Glen Mason said.

The Nittany Lions notched their first win over a ranked team since beating Wisconsin in 2002, and now appear to be contenders in the Big Ten for the first time in a while.

They struggled on offense the last couple of years -- both losing seasons -- and Paterno lamented at times about the lack of playmakers on his team.

That doesn't appear to be a problem anymore.

Penn State scored on its first drive against Minnesota and never looked back.

Williams scored on a 13-yard run up the middle after lining up at running back and getting a pitch from Robinson to give Penn State a 7-0 lead. He also scored from five yards on an end-around to give Penn State a 17-0 lead after lineman Charles Rush threw a nice block.

Williams, a freshman who was one of Paterno's prized off-season recruits, plays mainly receiver but has been used in the backfield in Penn State's new-look offense.

Coming into the game, a lot of the hype about the offense had been about the big-play, deep-passing ability. Williams, who finished Saturday with six carries for 40 yards and four catches for 32 yards, had a lot to do with that.

"We've got to find ways to get him the football, there's no question about that," Paterno said.

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