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Williams thrice as good for Penn St.

September 28, 2008|From the Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Derrick Williams dazzled in one of the best performances a Penn State player has ever produced.

The speedy senior caught a touchdown pass, ran for a TD and returned a kick 94 yards for another score as the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions stayed unbeaten with a 38-24 win Saturday night over No. 22 Illinois.

It was the first time that touchdown trifecta had been accomplished by a Penn State player in the same game in Coach Joe Paterno's 43 seasons as head coach.

"This is the first time he's really had a chance to break out," Paterno said. "Derrick's been in tough games and made big plays. . . . He's a heck of an athlete."

Penn State (5-0, 1-0) rolled to four nonconference victories by easy margins, lighting up the scoreboard like a pinball machine. This time, they faced an offense that could keep pace -- though Illinois (2-2, 0-1) was held back by a number of mistakes.

Arrelious Benn caught touchdown passes of 54 and 33 yards from Juice Williams, who finished 13 for 24 passing for 183 yards. But Williams also threw an interception that foiled one drive.

Matt Eller made a 42-yard field goal to pull Illinois to within 24-17 before Derrick Williams took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to put the Nittany Lions ahead by 14.

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