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November 4, 2006

Paterno, Penn State go down to Wisconsin

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Scenes from Saturday
The College Football Wire

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MADISON, Wis. -Joe Paterno literally couldn't stand to watch as No. 17 Wisconsin beat Penn State 13-3 on Saturday.

The 79-year-old Nittany Lions coach was forced to leave the sideline for the second time this season after one of his players tumbled into his leg early in the third quarter.

And his players weren't able to stand up to the Badgers.

Wisconsin (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) scored the first touchdown given up by Penn State's defense in more than two games, and kept the Nittany Lions' offense under control for most of the afternoon. Penn State (6-4, 4-3) squandered the few scoring chances it had - including a drop of a potential game-tying interception that might have been returned for a touchdown.

Paterno stood with his hands on his knees for several minutes after freshman tight end Andrew Quarless rolled into him after catching a sideline pass. Paterno, 79, eventually was escorted to the bench.

As trainers wrapped Paterno's leg, Penn State safety Donnie Johnson dropped a potential interception with nothing but open field between him and the end zone.

Instead, Wisconsin punted, and the ball bounced off Penn State returner Anthony Scirrotto and was recovered by the Badgers at the Penn State 20-yard line. Wisconsin couldn't find the end zone, but kicker Taylor Mehlhaff hit a 20-yard field goal to extend Wisconsin's lead to 13-3 with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter.

Paterno, who had been sitting on the Penn State bench surrounded by trainers and police, was carted to the locker room near the end of the third quarter.

Earlier this year, Paterno had to leave the sideline in a game at Ohio State when he became ill. He returned briefly at halftime, then left before coming back at the start of the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco also was injured, leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Stocco led Wisconsin on a nine-play, 68-yard drive in the final five minutes of the first half, throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Hubbard despite tight coverage by Scirrotto. The score gave the Badgers a 10-3 lead with 23 seconds remaining before halftime.

Penn State's defense hadn't given up a touchdown in 10 straight quarters.

The Nittany Lions squandered a scoring chance earlier in the second quarter when linebacker Dan Connor sacked Stocco deep in Wisconsin territory, causing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Sean Lee at the 14-yard line.

But quarterback Anthony Morelli's first-down pass was tipped by Badgers defensive end Joe Monty and intercepted by safety Roderick Rogers. The Badgers drove to the Nittany Lions 30, but Taylor Mehlhaff missed a 47-yard field goal attempt and the score remained tied at 3.

With a tackle in the second quarter, Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny became the all-time leading tackler in Penn State school history, surpassing the mark of 343 set by Greg Buttle from 1973-75.

For more coverage of Penn State, visit BlueWhiteIllustrated.com; for more on Wisconsin, visit BadgerBlitz.com.

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