Work in Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Quick, who was the coach at Penn State before Joe Paterno? It was Rip Engle, the last Nittany Lions coach to open a season with four losses in five games -- before today.
Five different players rushed for touchdowns and Steve Belissari passed for another as No. 12 Ohio State routed Penn State, 45-6, and handed the legendary Paterno his worst loss over.
Penn State last started a season 1-4 in 1964, two years before Paterno took over at Happy Valley. The 1964 team rallied to win its last five games, but the current group of Nittany Lions showed no indication that any similar resurgence is imminent.
The margin of defeat was the worst ever for Penn State under Paterno, eclipsing a 49-11 loss to UCLA in 1996 and a 44-6 defeat to Nebraska in 1983. The Nittany Lions allowed their highest point total since a 49-14 loss to Michigan State in 1997.
"These are tough days. I have to keep my head," Paterno said. "I'm not going to say I'm going to do this or that and I'm not going to say if I think we can play harder. I know we have to play better football. How we are going to do that, I don't know."
Paterno remains with 318 wins, six shy of the record for a major college coach held by Bear Bryant.
The start of the game was delayed about 30 minutes due to a severe thunderstorm, but that did not slow down the Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who scored two touchdowns in the first nine minutes.
"The message today was to take care of business," Ohio State coach John Cooper said. "I thought it was important to get ahead early because of the field condition."
Jamar Martin scored on a one-yard run 4:16 into the game and Ohio State made it 14-0 on an 18-yard TD pass from Bellisari to Darnell Sanders.
A 31-yard field goal by Dan Stultz midway through the second quarter increased the lead to 17-0 at halftime.
Penn State (1-4, 0-1) showed some life early in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 17-6 on a two-yard TD run by Eric McCoo.
Sensing a threat, Ohio State responded with four TDs in a 4:45 span late in the third quarter to break open the game, beginning with a two-yard TD run by Derek Combs, who had 86 yards on 23 carries.
Nate Clements intercepted a pass by Rashard Casay near midfield and Ohio State moved quicky downfield, scoring on a four-yard run by Jerry Westbrooks.
Matt Senneca replaced Casey and was sacked and stripped of the ball by right end Brent Johnson. Nose guard Mike Collins scooped up the loose ball and waltzed 10 yards into the end zone to increase the lead to 38-6.
Sam Maldonado capped the scoring on a seven-yard TD run with 53 seconds left.
Casay completed just 7-of-18 passes for 94 yards with one interception.
Bellisari went 10-of-17 for 203 yards, with Chad Cacchio catching three passes for 88 yards.
Penn State collected just 93 yards on the ground, with McCoo gaining 34 yards on 13 carries, and committed three turnovers.
The Buckeyes improved to 4-0 for the seventh time in 10 years.
Ohio State retired the No. 31 jersey of Vic Janowicz, the 1950 Heisman Trophy winner, at halftime. Janowicz, who died in 1996, became the second Buckeye to earn the honor, joining Archie Griffin (45).