October 17, 1998
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Freshman tailback Eric McCoo rushed for 163 yards and one touchdown and Aaron Harris scored twice as No. 12 Penn State turned in its first solid offensive showing in four games and beat Purdue 31-13 Saturday.
McCoo's 77-yard run set up Harris' 1-yard touchdown, giving Penn State (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) a 28-13 lead just after Purdue's Drew Brees had engineered a touchdown to cut Penn State's lead to eight points.
The Nittany Lions' relentless pass rush pressured Brees throughout, but he still managed 39-of-57 for 361 yards with one interception. After passing for 1,116 yards and eight TDs in his last two games, he only had one touchdown pass against a defense that sacked him five times and harrassed him into several bad passes.
Penn State's offense, which had sputtered for three games, turned in four steady touchdown drives.
Kevin Thompson went 15-for-24 for 196 yards, rushed for one TD and set up one with a 45-yard pass to Corey Jones. Harris scored a 4-yard TD on the next play to give Penn State a 21-6 lead.
Purdue (3-4, 1-2) answered with its first touchdown on Brees' 16-yard pass to Gabe Cox. After Harris' second touchdown put Penn State up 28-13, Randall Lane bobbled the kickoff at the 1, Purdue went three-and-out and didn't threaten again.
For all the hype about Brees, defensive end Roosevelt Colvin kept the Boilermakers in the game by twice hammering Thompson to force interceptions.
Adrian Beasley intercepted a wobbling bomb late in the second quarter and Billy Gustin picked off another in the third quarter, leading to Travis Dorsch's second field goal that cut the lead to 14-6. Colvin also blocked a field goal attempt.
Thompson guided Penn State to its two longest drives of the year as Penn State took a 14-3 first-half lead.
Purdue helped on the first drive with 35 yards in penalties. Thompson completed a 10-yard pass to Mike Cerimele on third-and-8, then scored to cap the 13-play, 96-yard drive. McCoo rushed seven times for 44 yards behind a bruising offensive line on the next scoring drive, then caught a 12-yard TD pass.
By DAVID KINNEY
AP Sports Writer