STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Before the season, defensive tackle
Michael Haynes felt he was holding back Penn State's vaunted
Penn State quarterback Zack Mills leaps in for a two-point conversion following a fourth quarter TD.
That's not the case. Haynes had three sacks and forced a fumble
that set up a touchdown as No. 19 Penn State beat Virginia 35-14
"I felt last year that I was the weak link in the defensive
line. I was hoping I could step it up,'' Haynes said. "I think
under the circumstances, this was a pretty good game.''
Haynes forced Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub to fumble midway
through the fourth quarter -- Haynes' sixth forced fumble of the
season -- and Shawn Mayer recovered for Penn State (7-3). Six plays
later, Larry Johnson ran 6 yards into the end zone for a 35-7 lead.
"He's a great player -- not too many players like him in the
country,'' Virginia running back Wali Lundy said. "He's just an
athlete. He gets the job done.''
Schaub completed 30 of 38 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown
for Virginia (6-4), but the Cavaliers managed just 30 yards
Haynes was a big reason for that, with seven tackles. His three
sacks set the Cavaliers back 23 yards.
"We couldn't attempt to play a power game against them,''
Virginia coach Al Groh said. "They have a lot of power on their
Penn State's offense succeeded at running and passing. Johnson
finished with 188 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries. Zack Mills
completed 19 of 30 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, his
first 200-yard passing game since throwing for 264 yards in a 27-24
overtime loss at Michigan on Oct. 12.
"I think he's a big-time football player,'' Penn State coach
Joe Paterno said of Mills. "He's a leader, he's very accurate, has
a lot of poise.''
The win helped Penn State make up for last year's season-ending
20-14 loss at Virginia, which prevented the Nittany Lions from
becoming bowl eligible.
"That was a huge motivating factor,'' cornerback Bryan Scott
said. "We had guys looking at it as they knocked us out of bowl
contention. They just really spoiled our season.''
It was the 334th career win for Penn State coach Joe Paterno,
the winningest coach in major college history.
Lundy had a 4-yard touchdown run for Virginia midway through the
fourth quarter to make it 35-14, but the Cavaliers wouldn't score
On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions
faked a field goal and third-string quarterback Chris Ganter swept
around the left side for a 30-yard touchdown run. Mills ran in the
2-point conversion for a 28-7 lead.
Robbie Gould had two field goals for the Nittany Lions,
including a 50-yarder in the third quarter to make it 20-7.
Billy McMullen made a spectacular play for the Cavaliers on the
first play of the second half, catching a pass over the middle,
then stopping -- causing three Penn State defenders to collide -- and
spinning toward the left sideline for a 41-yard gain.
But the Cavaliers lost the ball two plays later when Alvin
Pearman fumbled on the Penn State 39, and Andy Ryland recovered for
the Nittany Lions.
Mills was 3-for-3 passing on the next possession, including a
10-yard shovel pass to Paul Jefferson for a touchdown and a 17-7
Casey Williams caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Mills to tie
the game at 7 late in the first quarter, and Gould's 33-yard field
goal in the final seconds of the second quarter gave the Nittany
Lions a 10-7 halftime lead.
Mills fumbled and Chris Canty recovered at the Penn State 46 to
set up Virginia's first score. Heath Miller made two third-down
catches, including a 1-yard touchdown catch that gave the Cavaliers
a 7-0 lead.