Oct 11, 2003
Purdue-Penn State Game Statistics in PDF Format
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By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Joe Tiller spent the entire week challenging his
On Saturday, Anthony Chambers responded.
He returned a punt 76 yards for one score, set up two other touchdowns with
long returns, broke one school record and tied another as No. 18 Purdue beat
Penn State 28-14.
"We had to get back to where we wanted to be," Tiller said. "Our special
teams did a great job for us."
Chambers had a huge day.
He broke Vinny Sutherland's single-game record for punt return yardage (149)
and joined Sutherland as the only two Boilermakers with two career touchdowns
on punt returns.
But Chambers was only part of the equation.
Brandon Jones came off the bench to run for 149 yards, two touchdowns and
helped the Boilermakers chew up the clock in the second half.
Even sweeter was the fact that Purdue (5-1, 2-0) had not defeated the
Nittany Lions since 1951. The schools tied in 1952 and the Boilermakers had
lost six straight in the series since.
For Penn State (2-5, 0-3), it was more of the same - another sluggish start,
more special teams breakdowns and a third straight Big Ten loss.
"I'm not discouraged, I'm angry. I want us to get better," said coach Joe
Paterno, who remained a victory ahead of Florida State's Bobby Bowden for the
most wins in major college football with 338.
Jones replaced Jerod Void, the Boilermakers' leading rusher, after Void left
with a sprained right ankle on Purdue's first play. Void did not return.
All Jones did was turn in his best effort in nearly a year, carrying a
career-high 29 times and finishing just 16 yards short of his career-best.
"I think this was Brandon's kind of game," Tiller said. "He's a physical
If Jones was the workhorse, Chambers was the catalyst.
His first punt return went for 42 yards and set up the Boilermakers at the
Penn State 29. Later in the half, Chambers had a dazzling 76-yard return for a
touchdown, the second of his career, and a late 13-yard return to set up the
third Purdue touchdown.
It was an all-too-familiar saga for the Nittany Lions, who gave up a 65-yard
punt return and a 55-yard kickoff return in a loss to Wisconsin just a week
What went wrong this time?
"I'm afraid the kid kicks the ball too far and maybe a little too quick,"
Paterno said, referring to freshman punter Jeremy Kapinos. "We're not getting
people down there."
The Nittany Lions didn't get much period Saturday against one of the
nation's top defenses.
Michael Robinson completed just 10 of 32 passes for 98 yards with two
interceptions and one touchdown. Tony Hunt was Penn State's leading rusher with
nine carries for 47 yards.
And they managed only two scoring drives, one that covered all of 6 yards.
While the stagnant offense may have been as big a problem as Penn State's
poor special teams play, Paterno took the blame.
"You could point a finger at everybody," he said. "You ought to point a
finger at the head man first. I've got to figure out a way to get us over the
Chambers got Purdue started with the 42-yard return, setting up Purdue's
first offensive series at the Penn State 29. Seven plays later, Jones plunged
in from 1 yard.
Penn State tied the score at 7 on Tony Hunt's first career score, a 4-yard
But Purdue intercepted Robinson, got a 42-yard field goal from Ben Jones and
never looked back.
Chambers made sure of it the next time he touched the ball.
He backed up to field Kapinos' 58-yard punt, faked out one defender, found a
big hole up the middle, cut to the outside and raced in for the score to make
"There were no defenders within 10 yards of me when I caught the ball," he
said. "Once I got up the field, my teammates did the rest by picking up
Purdue could have blown open the game just before halftime, but Kyle Orton
was intercepted and Alan Zemaitis ran it back 90 yards to set up Robinson's
3-yard TD pass to Isaac Smolko. Zemaitis' return was the longest in school
history without a touchdown.
That was all the scoring Penn State could muster, and Purdue simply played
ball-control in the second half.
They sealed the victory with Ben Jones' 32-yard field goal and another
1-yard run by Brandon Jones after another Chambers' punt return.
"Special teams is my niche," Chambers said. "I'm just happy to help out