3:30 PM ET, September 4, 2004
Beaver Stadium, UNIVERSITY PARK, PA
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Zack Mills ran for a touchdown, caught a TD and threw two scoring passes to lead Penn State to a 48-10 victory over Akron on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
The Nittany Lions quarterback became the first Penn State player to accomplish the rare triple under Joe Paterno, who started his 39th season as head coach with career victory 340.
Mills made it 14-3 with a 5-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. The Nittany Lions then got the ball back when Brett Biggs fumbled on the Zips' first play.
Michael Robinson stepped in at quarterback for Penn State, rolled right and pump-faked, then threw a fade to Mills, who made his first career catch in the corner of the end zone for a 21-3 lead at the end of the first.
Mills returned the favor late in the second quarter, throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Robinson on a play set up by Anwar Phillips' 47-yard interception return -- the first of Phillips' two interceptions.
It was Mills' second touchdown pass of the game, following a 17-yarder to Terrance Phillips earlier in the second.
The Nittany Lions led 41-3 at halftime.
Penn State's offense, which floundered throughout last year's 3-9 season, at times seemed unstoppable. Mills and Robinson combined to complete 12 of 15 passes to a receiver corps that earned a reputation for drops last year.
Tony Hunt rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, and Austin Scott rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Paterno sidelined both players late in the season over concerns about their experience.
Hunt -- freed up by a Robinson block -- ran 77 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead on Penn State's second play from scrimmage.
Scott's touchdowns were a 1-yard leap over the top in the second quarter, then a 3-yard option in the third.
Charlie Frye completed 29 of 36 passes for 223 yards, but Akron didn't reach the end zone until late in the fourth quarter, when Biggs rushed in from 1 yard out to make it 48-10.
The Zips had to settle for a field goal in the first quarter after Frye was sacked on a third-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Jason Swiger's 27-yard field goal made it 7-3.
|3rd Down Conversions||6-13||5-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-2|
|TD||11:32||TONY HUNT 77 YD RUN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 79 yards.
|FG||6:43||JASON SWIGER 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||0:50||ZACK MILLS 5 YD RUN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 92 yards.
|TD||0:36||ZACK MILLS 18 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL ROBINSON (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 18 yards.
|TD||11:07||AUSTIN SCOTT 1 YD RUN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||2:21||TERRANCE PHILLIPS 17 YD PASS FROM ZACK MILLS (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||0:50||MICHAEL ROBINSON 10 YD PASS FROM ZACK MILLS (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 9 yards.
|TD||10:18||AUSTIN SCOTT 3 YD RUN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||6:17||BRETT BIGGS 1 YD RUN (JASON SWIGER KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 64 yards.