In the past year, after beginning the 2001 season with four consecutive losses, Paterno has taken daring steps to make the Nittany Lions a contemporary team on the field. For years Penn State thrived because of its outstanding linebackers and powerful running backs. The quarterback was the dutiful son who took the snap and handed off the ball. Midway through last season, however, Paterno gave the play-calling reins to his offensive coordinator, Fran Ganter, who in turn let loose freshman Zack Mills, the unpredictable and dynamic quarterback. He runs! He scrambles! Sometimes he even takes shotgun snaps! Hard to believe but true at old Penn State. It's a new day.
The Lions defeated Northwestern 49-0 on Saturday, before 108,853 fans at Beaver Stadium, and on Sunday they moved up to No. 18 in the AP poll. This week they visit Ohio State. If Paterno had any complaints about the officiating in Saturday's game, he kept them to himself.