Nov. 11, 2006
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Somewhere in Happy Valley, Joe Paterno must have been smiling.
Tony Hunt had a career day with 167 yards rushing and four touchdowns and Derrick Williams scored on a 75-yard punt return as Penn State beat Temple 47-0 on Saturday in its game without Paterno in nearly three decades.
The 79-year-old Paterno, recovering from left leg surgery, was said to have watched the game on television from home, just a couple miles down the road from Beaver Stadium.
He could have turned the TV set off by halftime.
Hunt ran for three scores and caught an 11-yard TD pass. Two scoring runs came in the game's first six minutes, including a 26-yard scamper capped when the senior extended the ball over the goal line just before getting shoved out of bounds to give Penn State (7-4) a 14-0 lead.
The Lions held the Owls (1-10) on the next drive, so Jake Brownell boomed a 53-yard punt that would have pinned Penn State deep and swung momentum.
Instead, the Owls were penalized and forced to punt again. Williams backpedaled after looking the ball into his chest before bursting past would-be tacklers to jet untouched into the end zone for a 21-0 lead.
Penn State led 31-0 at the half, and Nittany Lion reserves took the field by midway through the third quarter.
Temple, with Division I-A's worst offense, mustered just 74 yards and two first downs. Quarterback Adam DiMichele was 7-of-17 for 52 yards and one interception, and ran for minus-13 yards on seven carries.
The blue-and-white faithful relished the blowout, rocking to the thumping beats of "Zombie Nation." Chants of "We are ...Penn State" reverberated through the stands.
Only Paterno was missing.
He went home from Mount Nittany Medical Center on Friday night, five days after having surgery to repair a broken shinbone and two torn knee ligaments in a left leg damaged after an ugly sideline collision during Penn State's loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 4.
Paterno turned control of the team over to his assistants after deciding to concentrate on his recovery. The last time he missed a game was in 1977, after his son David was involved in an accident.
Fans missed him. "Roll up your pants for JoePa" read one banner hanging in the cheering Penn State student section. Even the off-and-on rain couldn't dampen the mood of Nittany Nation.
Only the Owls didn't seem to be enjoying themselves.
They hurt themselves with penalties and mistakes, and couldn't capitalize on any Penn State blunders.
Temple defensive back David Reese intercepted a pass in the first quarter, but Penn State got the ball back on the next play after linebacker Paul Posluszny leveled Travis Shelton and forced a fumble.