MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Joe Paterno was his feisty old self,
arguing with officials and brushing off a television interview just
But the 79-year-old coaching icon had to leave the sideline
after hurting his knee in the second half of Penn State's game at
No. 17 Wisconsin on Saturday, and his team couldn't stand up to the
Badgers in a 13-3 loss.
"It was sad to watch," said Penn State defensive coordinator
Tom Bradley, who took over for Paterno. "But he'll probably be
back chasing officials next Saturday."
Wisconsin (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) scored the first touchdown given up
by Penn State's defense in more than two games, and kept the
Nittany Lions offense under control for most of the afternoon.
"All week, we had a little chip on our shoulder," Badgers
safety Joe Stellmacher said. "All we heard about was Penn State's
'D' and how good their linebackers were. We can play a little ball
Penn State (6-4, 4-3) squandered the few scoring chances it had
-- including a drop of a potential interception that might have been
returned for a game-tying touchdown.
Paterno stood with his hands on his knees for several minutes
after Penn State freshman tight end Andrew Quarless rolled into him
after catching a sideline pass early in the third quarter. Paterno
eventually was escorted to the bench.
As trainers wrapped Paterno's leg, Penn State safety Donnie
Johnson dropped a potential interception with nothing but open
field between him and the end zone.
"He just had to catch it," Bradley said.
Instead, Wisconsin punted, and the ball bounced off Penn State
returner Anthony Scirrotto and was recovered by the Badgers at the
Penn State 20-yard line. Taylor Mehlhaff kicked a 20-yard field
goal to extend Wisconsin's lead to 13-3 with 2:42 remaining in the
Bradley had taken over and tried to keep his boss in the loop.
But once Paterno was carted back to the locker room near the end of
the third quarter, NCAA rules forbid him from wearing a headset.
One thing they certainly didn't talk about: Whether Paterno was
"If I were to ask him, 'How are you feeling?,' I think he might
have punched me," Bradley said.
Paterno flew back to State College, Pa. ahead of the team with a
member of the school's medical staff, and is expected to have
x-rays on Saturday night and an MRI on Sunday or Monday.
Earlier this year, Paterno had to leave the sideline in a game
at Ohio State when he became ill.
"He's a tough old guy," said Paterno's son Jay, the Nittany
Lions quarterbacks coach. "He'll be back driving us nuts
Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco also was hurt on Saturday,
leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
Badgers coach Bret Bielema said he wasn't "overly concerned"
about the injury.
Stocco led Wisconsin on a nine-play, 68-yard drive in the final
five minutes of the first half, throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass
to wide receiver Paul Hubbard despite tight coverage by Scirrotto.
The score gave the Badgers a 10-3 lead with 23 seconds remaining
Penn State's defense hadn't given up a touchdown in 10 straight
"We were in need of a big play," Hubbard said. "The game was
going back and forth and I felt like we needed to score to separate
ourselves from them."
The Nittany Lions also allowed Wisconsin's P.J. Hill to gain 148
yards rushing on 31 carries. The freshman was injured in the
Badgers' victory over Illinois last week, and Bielema caused a stir
this week when he said that Hill needed to take some "toughen-up
Bielema said his comments shouldn't have been interpreted as
criticism, and Hill said he wasn't offended.
"P.J.'s a very, very focused young man," Bielema said. "I
think last week was very tough for him."
Bielema did, however, get Paterno's blood boiling near halftime
when the Badgers tried to run out the last 23 seconds of the half
by intentionally going offsides on two straight kickoff attempts to
take advantage of a new rule that starts the clock when the ball is
Paterno stormed onto the field to complain to officials, then
emphatically waved off a television reporter as he headed to the
The Nittany Lions had squandered another scoring chance earlier
in the second quarter when linebacker Dan Connor sacked Stocco deep
in Wisconsin territory, causing a fumble that was recovered by
linebacker Sean Lee at the 14-yard line. But quarterback Anthony
Morelli's first-down pass was tipped by Badgers defensive end Joe
Monty and intercepted by safety Roderick Rogers.
NOTES: With a tackle in the second quarter, Penn State
linebacker Paul Posluszny became the all-time leading tackler in
Penn State school history, surpassing the mark of 343 set by Greg
Buttle from 1973-75. "It doesn't mean much," Posluszny said.
"The game and coach Paterno's situation are more important." ...
Officials worked the game short-handed after linesman Mike Mahouski
was injured on the opening kickoff.
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