WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Joe Tiller spent the entire week
challenging his special teams.
On Saturday, Anthony Chambers responded.
He returned a punt 76 yards for one score, set up two other
touchdowns with long returns, broke one school record and tied
another as Purdue (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) beat Penn State 28-14.
"We had to get back to where we wanted to be," Tiller said.
"Our special teams did a great job for us."
Chambers had a huge day.
He broke Vinny Sutherland's single-game record for punt return
yardage (149) and joined Sutherland as the only two Boilermakers
with two career touchdowns on punt returns.
But Chambers was only part of the equation.
Brandon Jones came off the bench to run for 149 yards, two
touchdowns and helped the Boilermakers chew up the clock in the
Even sweeter was the fact that Purdue (5-1, 2-0) had not
defeated the Nittany Lions since 1951. The schools tied in 1952 and
the Boilermakers had lost six straight in the series since.
For Penn State (2-5, 0-3), it was more of the same -- another
sluggish start, more special teams breakdowns and a third straight
Big Ten loss.
"I'm not discouraged, I'm angry. I want us to get better,"
said coach Joe Paterno, who remained a victory ahead of Florida
State's Bobby Bowden for the most wins in major college football
Jones replaced Jerod Void, the Boilermakers' leading rusher,
after Void left with a sprained right ankle on Purdue's first play.
Void did not return.
All Jones did was turn in his best effort in nearly a year,
carrying a career-high 29 times and finishing just 16 yards short
of his career-best.
"I think this was Brandon's kind of game," Tiller said. "He's
a physical guy."
If Jones was the workhorse, Chambers was the catalyst.
His first punt return went for 42 yards and set up the
Boilermakers at the Penn State 29. Later in the half, Chambers had
a dazzling 76-yard return for a touchdown, the second of his
career, and a late 13-yard return to set up the third Purdue
It was an all-too-familiar saga for the Nittany Lions, who gave
up a 65-yard punt return and a 55-yard kickoff return in a loss to
Wisconsin just a week earlier.
What went wrong this time?
"I'm afraid the kid kicks the ball too far and maybe a little
too quick," Paterno said, referring to freshman punter Jeremy
Kapinos. "We're not getting people down there."
The Nittany Lions didn't get much period Saturday against one of
the nation's top defenses.
And they managed only two scoring drives, one that covered all
of 6 yards.
While the stagnant offense may have been as big a problem as
Penn State's poor special teams play, Paterno took the blame.
"You could point a finger at everybody," he said. "You ought
to point a finger at the head man first. I've got to figure out a
way to get us over the top."
Chambers got Purdue started with the 42-yard return, setting up
Purdue's first offensive series at the Penn State 29. Seven plays
later, Jones plunged in from 1 yard.
Penn State tied the score at 7 on Tony Hunt's first career
score, a 4-yard TD run.
But Purdue intercepted Robinson, got a 42-yard field goal from
Ben Jones and never looked back.
Chambers made sure of it the next time he touched the ball.
He backed up to field Kapinos' 58-yard punt, faked out one
defender, found a big hole up the middle, cut to the outside and
raced in for the score to make it 17-7.
"There were no defenders within 10 yards of me when I caught
the ball," he said. "Once I got up the field, my teammates did
the rest by picking up blocks."
Purdue could have blown open the game just before halftime, but
Kyle Orton was intercepted and Alan Zemaitis ran it back 90 yards
to set up Robinson's 3-yard TD pass to Isaac Smolko. Zemaitis'
return was the longest in school history without a touchdown.
That was all the scoring Penn State could muster, and Purdue
simply played ball-control in the second half.
They sealed the victory with Ben Jones' 32-yard field goal and
another 1-yard run by Brandon Jones after another Chambers' punt
"Special teams is my niche," Chambers said. "I'm just happy
to help out the team."