STATE COLLEGE (AP) Joe Paterno spent the last three months saying his chase for the major college victory record was no big deal. Now that he”s got it, he”s changing his tune.
“You never think it”s going to be a big deal until it happens like this, with this many people,” Paterno said Saturday after his Nittany Lions rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Ohio State 29-27. “It”s just hard to describe. But I”m a very, very lucky guy to be at an institution such as Penn State with all these fans.”
The win was No. 324 for Paterno, who passed Bear Bryant for the record. Paterno has spent his entire coaching career at Penn State, serving as an assistant for 15 years before becoming head coach in 1966.
Paterno came into the season just one win behind Bryant, but was questioned and criticized even by some of the Penn State faithful after his team started 0-4. He tied Bryant last week with a 38-35 win at Northwestern.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said a brief congratulations to Paterno, then quickly went to his locker room.
“I have respect for his tremendous career, but that moment was for he and his team,” Tressel said.
After the game, in the understated style Penn State fans have come to expect, Paterno praised his team, hugged his wife and held his grandchildren at a ceremony at midfield.
“I can”t tell you how proud I am of this football team,” Paterno told the crowd. “They could have packed it in a long time ago. But they came back last week, and they came back today, and I tell you they”re going to be one hell of a football team.”
Nebraska 20, Oklahoma 10: Oklahoma is out and Nebraska is in the national title race for now.
No. 3 Nebraska beat Oklahoma 20-10 in a defensive struggle Saturday, derailing the second-ranked Sooners” hopes of repeating as national champions and ending their 20-game winning streak.
With the victory, the Huskers (5-0 Big 12, 9-0 overall) likely put themselves in front of the national title race. They were second to the Sooners (4-1, 7-1) in the Bowl Championship Series rankings entering the game.
“In a game like this, a lot of people are going to look at it for years and years to come. This was icing on the cake for my career,” Crouch said.
Syracuse 22, Virginia Tech 14: Syracuse forgot its humiliations of the past, and Virginia Tech can forget all about the Rose Bowl.
Doing what they have seen Virginia Tech do to others so many times before, the Orangemen scored on a punt return and after a turnover in the first quarter and beat the fifth-ranked Hokies (No. 5 AP) 22-14 on Saturday for their seventh straight victory.
“Every time we”ve played Virginia Tech, it seemed like it was their day,” said Syracuse quarterback R.J. Anderson, who completed just six passes, but rushed for 63 yards. “For once maybe it was our day.”
The Orangemen (7-2, 4-0 Big East) ended the Hokies” 16-game home winning streak, and avenged their last three visits to Lane Stadium, which ended with Virginia Tech winning by a combined scored of 124-10.
Syracuse also made itself part of the biggest conference game yet to come, a matchup with top-ranked Miami at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 17.
Virginia Tech plays the Hurricanes here on Dec. 1, but the loss means that game will now be more about rivalry and pride for the Hokies.
Stanford 38, UCLA 28: STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Chris Lewis just doesn”t understand goosebumps. After a thrilling win over UCLA, his Stanford teammates know all about them.
In his fourth career start, Lewis threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns as No. 20 Stanford held on for a 38-28 victory over No. 4 UCLA on Saturday, ending the Bruins” unbeaten season and messing with the Pac-10 race.
The backup quarterback sparked the Cardinal (4-1, 5-1) to 31 straight points against a team that hadn”t allowed more than 17 in any game this season. He threw three interceptions, but got his teammates to believe they could drive and score against the Bruins” defense.
His poise under pressure didn”t seem remarkable to him but his teammates were singing his praises after Stanford got off to its best start since 1992.
By the time UCLA”s defense got off its heels, the Bruins (3-1, 6-1) were down 31-7 and Stanford had enough points for an impressive upset. Lewis completed 13 straight passes in the first half as Stanford beat a top-five team for the second straight week.
“I don”t know why or how, but I really don”t get nervous,” said Lewis, who was 20-of-29. “Whenever we make mistakes, I feel we get tighter as a group. We feel that we”re as good as anybody in the country. If we play well, we can put up points with the best of them.”