Nittany Lions comes back late, Paterno sets record

October 29, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --  Silas Redd's (Norwalk, Conn.) three-yard touchdown run with 1:08 left in the game propelled No. 19 Penn State to a 10-7 victory against Illinois at Beaver Stadium on Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions, the last undefeated team in Big Ten conference play, improved to 8-1 overall (5-0 Big Ten) with the Leaders Division win. For photos, visit online.

With snow falling down on Beaver Stadium throughout the game, head coach Joe Paterno recorded his 409th career victory, moving him past Grambling's Eddie Robinson for most wins in NCAA Division I history.

In the postgame media room, Tim Curley, director of athletics, and Penn State President Graham Spanier congratulated Paterno, who said he is honored to be in the same company as Robinson.

"On behalf of the university, President Spanier, the team, and all of your former letterwinners, we want to express our appreciation and congratulations to you on another great accomplishment and a wonderful milestone," Curley said to Paterno. "We know how much you admired and appreciated Coach (Eddie) Robinson. We know how special of a day it is to break his record. We want to just congratulate you."

Paterno noted that he has long felt Robinson, who retired in 1997 and passed away in 2007, and longtime Florida A&M Coach Jake Gaither, who retired in 1969 and passed away in 1994, are among the most important figures in college football coaching history for opening doors for African-American student-athletes.

"It really is something I'm really proud of to be associated with Eddie Robinson," Paterno said. "I've told people many, many times two of the greatest people we've ever had in college football are Jake Gaither and Eddie Robinson... Those two men opened up the doors for the African-American kid. They had no place to go. The Southeastern Conference didn't take any black kids. There were very few playing up North. Jake Gaither and Eddie Robinson went out and showed people what kind of athlete these kids could be. So for me; a kid from Brooklyn, whose grandfather was an immigrant, to be something like this really means a lot to me."

After Redd scored the go-ahead touchdown, Illinois drove down the field to set up a 42-yard field-goal attempt with five seconds remaining. Illini place-kicker Derek Dimke, who previously had not missed all season, sent his attempt off the right upright as time expired to secure the Penn State victory.

Redd rushed a career-high 30 times for 137 yards, giving him 1,006 yards on the season. The Norwalk, Conn., native became the 12th Nittany Lion to reach the 1,000-yard mark with his fifth straight game of at least 100 yards. Redd's fifth straight game reaching the century mark was the first time a Penn State tailback accomplished the feat since Curtis Enis in 1997.

One week after securing a career high in stops, Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) set a new career-best with 19 tackles, including one sack. Devon Still (Wilmington, Del.) also registered a career-high 10 tackles, including one sack and 3.5 stops for a loss. Sean Stanley (Rockville, Md.) recorded his first career fumble recovery and interception, and D' Anton Lynn (Celina, Texas) collected his first interception of the season. Penn State, which has caused 22 turnovers on the season, created a season-high four takeaways against Illinois.

Matthew McGloin (Scranton) played the majority of the game in his second start of the season and completed 9-of-24 passes for 98 yards. Justin Brown (Wilmington, Del.) led the Penn State receiving corps with 50 yards on three catches, while Derek Moye(Rochester), who missed the last two games, collected a pair of critical passes for 29 yards on the Nittany Lions' last offensive possession.

After both teams combined for the first scoreless first half in Penn State history since a 6-0 loss to Alabama in 1984, Illinois scored its lone touchdown with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. Nathan Scheelhaase connected on a 10-yard pass with Spencer Harris to cap off an 11-play, 64-yard drive.

With Illinois facing a fourth down from its 37-yard line in the fourth quarter, Brad Bars (Nashville, Tenn.) blocked the punt attempt to give the Nittany Lions a short field. Penn State reached as close as the Illini five-yard line but settled for Anthony Fera's (Cypress, Texas) 30-yard field goal to close the gap, 7-3, with seven minutes remaining.

With 3:05 left in the game, the Nittany Lion offense got the ball at their own 20-yard line and embarked on a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Although only garnering 129 yards of offense before the drive, McGloin threw for 58 yards and Redd ran for 12 more, including a three-yard rush up the middle to reach the 1,000-yard plateau.

With Penn State facing fourth-and-six, McGloin threw an incomplete pass to Moye, but a pass interference call gave the Nittany Lions a fresh set of downs. Four plays later, Redd plowed three yards to give Penn State the 10-7 advantage.

Penn State will have next week off before hosting No. 14 Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) on Sat., Nov. 12.

  • Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, and Athletic Director Tim Curley congratulated Joe Paterno on his 409th career coaching victory. To see more photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
Last Updated November 04, 2011