ND: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's easy win over Notre Dame Saturday.

It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. But at Beaver Stadium Saturday, it was delivered steaming hot, as Penn State atoned for a 41-17 loss at Notre Dame last season by handling the Irish 31-10 on a humid, sticky evening in Happy Valley.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Penn State senior tailback Austin Scott methodically battered the Fighting Irish to the tune of 116 yards and two TDs on 28 carries. It was a solid, workmanlike effort. Scott had only two yards in losses on the night.

CLOSE SECOND: Senior linebacker Dan Connor was way too much for the Notre Dame offense. He finished with 12 tackles, including a sack and 2.5 stops behind the line. PSU's young D-line continues to allow Connor and fellow 'backer Sean Lee to run free.

TURNING POINT: Notre Dame threatened to make a game of it following Tom Zbikowski's third-quarter, 47-yard punt return to the Lion 7-yard line. But the Penn State defense throttled Notre Dame, forcing a field goal and keeping the edge at a (kind of) comfortable 17-10. They were the first and only points the PSU defense allowed in its first two games.

SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State was smart to use Scott extensively in the second half (17 carries). The ground game took the starch out of the Irish and gave Scott some needed confidence.

NUMBERS GAME: Notre Dame gained 55 yards rushing and lost 55 yards rushing to finish with a goose egg in that department. Penn State has now allowed a net of minus-3 rushing yards on the season. The long run against the Lions is a 12-yarder.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Senior QB Anthony Morelli was not sensational (12 of 22 for 131 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick), but he was solid. He hit seven different receivers. He took one bad sack, but overall did what he had to do for the Lions to cruise to the win.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Kevin Kelly averaged 70 yards on kickoffs for the Lions, including a pair of touchbacks.

WHAT'S UP WITH: Notre Dame playing like anything but a well-coached team. The Irish were flagged for a false start on the first play of the game and finished with 14 penalties for 97 yards.

HIT SQUAD: Redshirt freshman defensive end Aaron Maybin blew past left tackle Paul Duncan and hammered rookie QB Jimmy Clausen in the second period.

HEADS-UP: No one throws at PSU corner Justin King, but he grabbed an interception anyway when a ball bounced off the hands of Notre Dame wideout Robby Parris and fluttered deep into the secondary.

TOUGH GUY: Give Clausen credit for taking a beating (six sacks and probably as many hits after he threw) but never quitting. It is easy to see why so many folks are high on him.

HIDDEN HERO: The Penn State crowd was amazing. The “White House” concept was in full effect, and rattled the Notre Dame offense — especially the line — throughout the game. Here's hoped the real White House doesn't claim trademark infringement.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: PSU punter Jeremy Boone was strong again, averaging 43.2 yards on six boots.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Redshirt freshman linebacker Navarro Bowman saw plenty of snaps behind starter Tyrell Sales.


• Penn State's lousy tackling at one point of the first quarter? We are speaking, of course, of the effort of the offense after Darrin Walls returned a Morelli pick 73 yards for a score. Guess there is a reason they are playing on that side of the ball.

• Lion backup guard Lou Eliades did not dress. He sustained a concussion in the opening win over Florida International. Tight end Francis Claude did not dress, either, but the reason was not made know.

• Penn State now uses student greeters to welcome fans once they come through the gates at Beaver Stadium. The PSU marketing people got the idea while visiting Notre Dame, when the Irish athletic department employed a similar tactic.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Is it just us, or is Penn State suddenly looking like the class of the Big Ten?


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