Penn State Dispatches Indiana

Victory at Beaver Stadium sets up a Big Ten title showdown with Michigan State next week.

Joe Paterno coached from the press box again while Penn State was on the soggy Beaver Stadium turf in a 34-7 win over Indiana Saturday.

And Paterno will be in the press box next weekend in the Nittany Lions' regular-season finale against Michigan State here, a game that determines the Big Ten championship.

“I'd like to [be on the sideline], but I won't,” Paterno said. “I can't. I'm going to have to get something done with this thing as soon as the Michigan State game is over. The next day probably.”

He was asked if surgery the day after the Michigan State game was set in stone. It isn't, he said, but he added that he was going to see if he could get it done that Sunday if surgery is necessary.

“I'm probably going to have to get a hip replacement or something like that, I don't know,” Paterno said.

With the 81-year-old's health taking a hit this year and his four-year contract expiring at the end of this season, some have speculated whether it would be the last time he coached at Beaver Stadium.

According to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, that's not the case.

“It will be Joe's last game of the season,” Bradley said. “Coach has no plans to retire.”

In Paterno's second-to-last game of the regular season,

At times, Penn State's performance Saturday must have been more painful to the coach than the bum hip. The Nittany Lions started off like the weather the game was played in -- sloppy.

The atmosphere at kickoff felt more like a Blue-White game rather than a game featuring the No. 8 team in the BCS. Offensively, Penn State (10-1, 6-1) echoed that emotion, or lack thereof, for the first half. Perhaps it was a hangover from the devastating, last-second loss the Lions suffered a week earlier at Iowa.

Quarterback Daryll Clark said that while the loss “stunk,” they got it out of their minds in the middle of the week.

Clark threw for two touchdowns and completed 20 of 36 passes for 240 yards. However, he turned the ball over three times, including fumbling the ball at the Indiana 2-yard line after Penn State safety Mark Rubin picked off Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis inside the 10-yard line. He also threw an interception into double coverage.

“We had three turnovers, all from me,” Clark said. “That can't happen. I just get upset and really, really frustrated with the turnovers because I work so hard to make sure things go the right way to help, not hurt, this team.”

Even so, his performance Saturday was a vast improvement over his 9-of-23, 86-yard effort against Iowa. Even is mistakes Saturday could have been attributed in part to wet, slippery footballs.

Clark said on the first pass of the game, he was surprised by how slippery the ball was. The pass was low and ended up incomplete.

Clark was helped out by his senior wide receivers. Jordan Norwood had seven catches, Derrick Williams added two touchdowns - one receiving and one running. And Deon Butler became the all-time receptions leader at Penn State, passing Bobby Engram with a grab in the first quarter.

“Oh, man, I just thought about that,” Clark said of Butler's record. “The relationship I have with Butler along with Jordan and Derrick is very strong, and it's been strong since we started.”

After slogging to a 10-7 lead at the half, Penn State had the ball to start the third period and promptly went 61 yards and eight plays to take a 17-7 lead. Tailback Evan Royster did the honors with a tough 19-yard touchdown run.

State later got a 36-yard field goal from Kevin Kelly before Clark found Butler on a third-and-goal from the IU 6-yard line late the third quarter for a 27-7 lead and, basically, the game.

Indiana fell to 3-8 overall and 1-6 in the Big Ten.

And Penn State now turns its attention to a showdown with Michigan State for the Big Ten title. Asked if it will be his final appearance in Beaver Stadium, Paterno said, “Nah. I haven't even thought about it.”

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