Aug. 30, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State posted its highest total offense in 13 years and six players scored touchdowns as the No. 22 Nittany Lions rolled past Coastal Carolina, 66-10, in their season opener in Beaver Stadium.
The victory was the 373rd in Joe Paterno's career, as he tied Florida State coach Bobby Bowden for the all-time lead among major college coaches. Penn State improved to 36-7 in season openers under Paterno, scoring its most points in an opener since 1926.
The Nittany Lions gained 594 yards, their most since delivering 661 yards in a 59-34 win at Rutgers in 1995. Penn State gained 334 rushing yards, scoring seven touchdowns, and 260 passing yards. The seven rushing touchdowns were its highest since scoring seven against Michigan State in 2002.
In his first start, quarterback Daryll Clark was highly effective, going 11 of 14 for 146 yards, throwing a five-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood in the second quarter. Quarterback Pat Devlin entered the game in the second stanza and was 5 of 8 for 83 yards, including a 40-yard completion to Norwood on his first attempt.
Norwood made a game-high four receptions for 74 yards. Derrick Williams made two catches for 45 yards and returned a kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown. Deon Butler made two catches for 29 yards and Brett Brackett had two receptions for 25 yards in his first career start.
Senior linebacker Tyrell Sales led the defense with seven tackles (six solo) and combined with Cedric Jeffries to force a fumble on the opening kickoff. Linebacker Navorro Bowman made six tackles, cornerback Willie Harriott had five and defensive end Aaron Maybin had five hits, tying his career-high with two sacks.
Twenty-eight players recorded at least one tackles, with many reserves seeing extensive action throughout the second half.
The Nittany Lions quickly took their first possession and grabbed a 7-0 lead. A 14-yard punt return by Williams gave Penn State the ball at the Coastal Carolina 43. A pair of completions from Daryll Clark to Deon Butler set-up a seven-yard touchdown run by Evan Royster with 11:02 left in the first quarter.
On the Lions' second possession, a 22-yard run by Royster and a 29-yard pass from Clark to Williams got the ball deep into Coastal Carolina territory. Royster capped the drive with a two-yard run for a 14-0 lead with 6:08 left in the opening period.
The Chanticleers drew within seven points on a 33-yard pass from Zach MacDowell to Trent Usher with 13:38 to go in the second quaeter. But, co-captain Williams immediately took the lead back to 14, zipping up the middle for an 89-yard kickoff return touchdown, the first of his career. Kevin Kelly's PAT made it 21-7 with 13:24 left in the second.
Penn State used a couple more big plays to extend it lead to 28-7 midway through the second frame. A 23-yard completion from Clark to Jordan Norwood was followed by a 22-yard run by freshman Stephfon Green. Clark then connected with Norwood on a five-yard scoring toss, the first of Clark's career.
On Coastal Carolina's next possession, linebacker Bani Gbadyu tipped a pass and grabbed it for his first career interception, at the CC 45. Sophomore Pat Devlin entered the game and completed his first pass, a 40-yarder to Norwood. Green finished the drive with a seven-yard, his first career score, to make it 35-7 with 5:42 left in the second quarter.
Late in the half, Kevin Kelly connected on a 21-yard field goal to make it 38-7 at the break.
The Nittany Lions took their opening possession of the second half to paydirt, as Royster ran 10 yards to make it 45-7. The sophomore became the first Penn Stater to score three rushing touchdowns since Tony Hunt did so against Temple in 2006.
Green scored his second touchdown of the, also from seven yards, to make it 52-7 midway through the third quarter. Redshirt freshman Chaz Powell then took a reverse 55 yards for his first collegiate score to make it 59-7 with 1:43 left in the third stanza.
Penn State's 66 points were its most since scoring 67 against Louisiana Tech in 2000. The Nittany Lions had their highest scoring total in a season opener since an 82-0 win over Susquehanna in 1926.
The Nittany Lions host Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the first meeting between the schools. The game will air on ABC and on ESPN or ESPN2 outside of the ABC coverage area as well as the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.