ShareThis Page
College

Paterno: Lousy way for Penn State to win

| Sunday, Oct. 22, 2006

UNIVERSITY PARK -- Joe Paterno was a man of few words Saturday, with "lousy" his clear favorite.

"We were lousy," Paterno said of the Penn State offense after the Nittany Lions survived Illinois, 26-12, on the strength of a defensive touchdown, a safety, and a return of a late onside kick for a touchdown.

Illinois (2-6, 1-3) outgained Penn State (5-3, 3-2) on the ground, 202-40, and overall, 358-184. The Illini led, 9-3, at the half, and generally took it to the home folks, limiting the festive mood for a homecoming crowd of 108,112.

"We didn't win that game today. Illinois lost it," Paterno said. "Illinois gave us a couple of easy ones. We didn't go out there and beat Illinois. Our defense kept us in the game until Illinois made a couple of mistakes."

Paterno was not in a mood to expand on why the Penn State offense can't seem to move the ball, or protect its quarterback, having surrendered two sacks this game after giving up seven the week before to Michigan.

"We were just lousy, OK?" Paterno said. "We were lousy today.

"We were lousy, OK• What else can I say?"

Offered the possibility that defenses were throwing surprises at the offense, Paterno dismissed that out of hand.

"No. We're just lousy. Can I get that across. It's spelled l-o-u-s-y."

There was no rationalization about three losses to opponents ranked in the top 5. There were no odes to the general toughness of the Big Ten.

Paterno had seen a weak effort, one that had him challenging the defense at halftime to make big plays and score points to bail out the team.

"Hearing it from him, when he came in and said you guys are going to have to make the play to win the game, that really hit home," linebacker Paul Posluszny said.

Illinois had missed first-half opportunities to build a bigger lead, settling for three field goals to one for the Nittany Lions.

The Penn State offense produced its lone touchdown drive using a short field a couple of possessions after the first of two Anthony Scirrotto interceptions.

Anthony Morelli, playing after being knocked out of the Michigan game in the third quarter by a concussion, hit tight end Kevin Darling with a 3-yard touchdown pass at 7:33 of the third quarter to cap a 34-yard drive, and the Kevin Kelly PAT put Penn State up, 10-9.

Posluszny gave the Nittany Lions some breathing room on the next possession, stripping quarterback Isiah "Juice" Williams and forcing a fumble that Tony Davis returned 6 yards for the team's first defensive touchdown of the season.

Illinois managed a fourth-quarter field goal, but Dan Connor tackled Williams for a safety late in the fourth quarter, and Scirrotto returned an onside kick attempt 29 yards for a touchdown to allow the Nittany Lions to escape with a win.

After the game, left tackle and team captain Levi Brown had a meeting with his linemates.

"I didn't feel that most guys out there, even myself, were making the second effort to get on blocks and things like that," Brown said. "We can't do that if we want to win games."

But Brown had a cryptic rejoinder to a question recalling seven quarterback sacks allowed against Michigan the previous game.

"Offensive line didn't give up seven sacks last week," he said. "You can say that. But we all know that more goes into it than just offensive line play and things like that."

But Paterno, saying Morelli had played OK, put the onus on the offensive line.

"It's tough that he can't get any rhythm because we're so inconsistent up front," he said. "Pass protection. Running game. Until we get better up front, I don't care who he is, we're not going to be real good."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me