STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno knew that
if Larry Johnson waited for plays to develop, he'd eventually have
a big game. Johnson's patience paid off.
Johnson ran for a school-record 257 yards and two touchdowns as
the Nittany Lions (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) routed Northwestern 49-0 Saturday.
Five of his 23 carries were for 20 yards or more, and on most of
those he fought off tackles at the line of scrimmage, turning the
play around and finding open field.
"You can see him getting a little better feel for things, a
little bit more patient. His vision a little bit better,'' Paterno
said. "It's not anything that he ever really lacked, it's just he
was always in a hurry to get things done. You saw today he had a
lot more patience waiting for a couple things to open up.''
Johnson knew things were going well when even quarterback Zack
Mills was blocking downfield for him.
"Zack made a great block when I cut it back,'' Johnson said.
"You do have 10 other guys out there trying to help you, and you
want to use them as much as you can.''
Johnson broke the school mark of 256 yards, set by Curt Warner
against Syracuse on Oct. 17, 1981.
Johnson had 191 yards in the first half and was stopped for a
1-yard gain on the first play of the third quarter. Two plays
later, he went through the middle of the line and sprinted 60 yards
up the left sideline to the Northwestern 5. He ran around the left
side on the next play for the rushing record and his second
touchdown, giving Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) a 42-0 lead.
Northwestern (2-6, 0-4) got in scoring position only once,
reaching the Nittany Lions 21-yard line midway through the first
quarter. But Tony Stauss was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Gino
Capone. The possession ended when David Wasielewski's 39-yard field
goal went wide right.
Even when he didn't have the ball, Johnson was dangerous. After
putting the Nittany Lions on the Northwestern 2-yard line late in
the second quarter, Johnson dived over the line and into the end
zone -- drawing the entire Wildcat defense and leaving tight end
Mike Lukac wide open for a 2-yard touchdown pass from Mills. That
made it 21-0.
"I love that play,'' Johnson said. "We always practice it, but
I never get to practice jumping over the line. I told them I'm just
going to jump over. It turned out to be a great fake, and I loved
Mills had a 1-yard touchdown run and threw a 40-yard touchdown
pass to Tony Johnson, Larry's younger brother, to make it 35-0 at
It was the 332nd win for Paterno, extending his Division I-A
The Wildcats set up their missed field goal with a trick play,
as Jeff Backes ran 47 yards on a reverse on the kick return, to the
Penn State 46-yard line. The Wildcats tried the same play in the
second quarter, but to no avail -- Jason Wright was stopped at his
Northwestern's anemic offense -- Stauss' fumble for a 31-yard
loss on the Wildcats last play left them with just 9 rushing yards
-- was matched by its porous defense, which gave up 423 rushing
"Sure, he's a great back and they're a good football team, but
we didn't play very well today,'' Walker said. "We have played
better defense than this.''
Larry Johnson put Penn State up 14-0 with a 3-yard run early in
the second quarter. He set up the score with a 27-yard run, first
going left, then breaking a tackle and cutting back to the right
for the big gain.
Sean McHugh scored his first career touchdown, going in from the
1-yard line to give Penn State a 7-0 lead. Larry Johnson set up the
score with a 24-yard run, skipping inside a block, then slipping
two tackles before being brought down at the 1.
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