Penn State gets first victory since JoePa fired

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COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - The last time Penn State won a game without Joe Paterno as coach was December 1965.

That day, the Nittany Lions played tough defense to beat Maryland.

On Saturday, No. 21 Penn State earned its first victory since Paterno was fired in much the same way.

Stephfon Green ran for two touchdowns and the Nittany Lions held Ohio State scoreless in the second half of a 20-14 victory.

“We talked about the last two teams to win here were `78 and `08,” said interim coach Tom Bradley, who was promoted after Paterno was ousted 10 days ago, near the end of his 46th season. “I said to them, `I want to know: How are you going to be remembered?’”

They’ll be remembered as at least co-champs of the Big Ten’s Leaders Division.

By clinching a share of the division title, Penn State (9-2, 6-1) set up a showdown next week at Wisconsin, with the winner playing Michigan State in the conference’s first championship game on Dec. 3.

The 84-year-old Paterno won’t be on the sidelines. He was ousted for failing to do more about a child sex abuse allegation against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and then on Friday, Paterno’s family announced he had a treatable form of lung cancer.

After the win, however, Jay Paterno, the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator and the son of the deposed coach, was thinking mainly about the game ahead.

“As I’ve been trained to do my whole life, immediately (I) began to think about next week,” he said, recounting what was going through his head as he walked off the field at Ohio Stadium. “Essentially, we’re in the Big Ten semifinal. I started to think about Wisconsin _ and I’ll have some nightmares tonight.”

Joe Paterno was a longtime assistant under Rip Engle before getting promoted in 1966. The last game Engle coached, Penn State beat Maryland 19-7 on Dec. 4, 1965. The last time Penn State won a game without Joe Paterno on staff was Nov. 12, 1949, a 28-7 victory at Temple.

The teams exchanged handshakes at midfield after the opening coin toss _ although there was a smattering of boos from the Buckeyes faithful.

It was a gesture of mutual respect and sportsmanship in the wake of the Sandusky scandal which has engulfed Penn State. In the days since Sandusky was arrested about two weeks ago for allegedly molesting eight boys over 15 years, Paterno has been fired, the former university president and the athletic director have stepped aside and the NCAA has announced it is looking into the athletic program’s actions.

Bradley said he spoke about how everyone was watching to see how the Nittany Lions would react and behave.

“I challenged the guys on the team to show a lot of character and resolve,” he said. “Which they did.”

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