EIU: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the overmatched from Penn State's blowout win of Eastern Illinois at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

No. 13 Penn State beat its first ranked opponent of the season Saturday, cruising past No. 25 Eastern Illinois at Beaver Stadium, 52-3.

But don't count on this one improving the Nittany Lions' strength of schedule. The Panthers, you see, are members of the FCS, a step down from the major-college BCS programs in the Big Ten.

So this was, in many ways, a mid-season breather before Penn State returns to conference action against Minnesota in Happy Valley next week. The Lions will carry a 5-1 record into that game after handing EIU (4-2) its second loss of the season.

Here is some of what went down Saturday.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Nittany Lion quarterback Daryll Clark connected on 13 of 19 passes for 234 yards and three scores. He tacked on 11 rushing yards and a TD, too.

CLOSE SECOND: Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman had five tackles, including two behind the line, and returned a fumble 91 yards for a score.

CLOSE THIRD: PSU tailback Evan Royster averaged 11.8 yards on eight carries, all of them in the first half.

TURNING POINT: Penn State went 85 yards on 10 plays on its first possession, with Clark scoring on a 1-yard sneak. The Lions took a 7-0 lead and were never threatened.

SOLID STRATEGY: The Lions could have rushed for 500 yards in this game but they wisely worked on the passing attack, too. Eight different receivers caught a total of 17 passes.

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State ran 29 plays in the first half but only faced two third downs and no forth downs.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Linebacker Josh Hull had another solid effort with 11 tackles. He now has 63 stops on the season.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Lion Andrew Dailey blocked Kevin Cook's second-quarter punt, setting up a short-field score for Penn State.


• Nittany Lion backup QB Kevin Newsome not seeing the field until late in the third quarter. Clark played until the Lions built a 45-3 lead. And when Newsome finally got on the field, he was with the second-team offensive line.

• Penn State's offensive line being slapped with two false start penalties in the first half. That kind of sloppy play will be a real issue if it happens against a quality opponent.

• Attendance being listed at 104,488. Looked closer to 85,000. Sources say EIU sold 600 tickets for this game.

HIT SQUAD: Defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu nailed EIU quarterback Jake Christensen late in the second quarter, causing the fumble Bowman returned for a score.

UNSUNG HERO: A tip of the cap to the EIU players. They were overmatched but put forth an honest effort.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Cornerback A.J. Wallace had seven tackles and an interception. More on him later.


• Bowman nearly running out of steam on his long fumble return. He caught considerable flack from his teammates after the play.

• Wideout Devon Smith, who missed the Illinois game with a concussion, returned to action this week. He had an end-around for 18 yards in the second quarter.

• Senior cornerback Knowledge Timmons was injured early in the first quarter. He was replaced by Wallace and did not return to the defense but did play on a kick coverage play. He was spotted on the sideline with ice on his right leg and later said he had a sprained right MCL and that he should be fine for Minnesota next week.

• Senior Ako Poti made his first career start, getting the nod at right tackle. Poti played with the first and second teams, as former starters DeOn'tae Pannell and Nerraw McCormack both dressed but did not play due to injuries.

• Rookie Gerald Hodges has been moved from safety to linebacker. He saw his first action at the new position in the fourth quarter and made a big hit on receiver EIU Kenny Whittaker.

• Backup punter Ryan Breen kicked off for the first time this season, getting a chance in the fourth quarter. He boomed the ball for a touchback. Place-kicker Collin Wagner had no touchbacks on eight kickoffs in this game and has three touchbacks on 35 kickoffs on the season.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Are the Lions ready for the meat of the Big Ten schedule?

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