Purdue coach Joe Tiller doesn't care about statistics, especially when the final score doesn't go his way.
No. 16 Purdue held second-ranked Penn State to only 11 first downs and outgained them by over 100 yards. But three Purdue turnovers were turned into 21 points and a 31-25 victory by the undefeated Nittany Lions on Saturday.
"There were a lot of mistakes made by both sides. It was a sloppy game. A lot of that was the intensity. Our kids were very emotional early in the game," said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who moved into third on the major-college career victory list with his 315th.
"There is a lot of positive things. The negative thing was the way the thing ended. We had a horrible throw on the last play of the game," Tiller said. "We expect a perfect game from our quarterback and we expect no sacks from the O-line (offensive line). We didn't get that done today. Part of it was us, and a lot of it was Penn State."
Drew Brees passed for two touchdowns and 379 yards the most yielded by Penn State all season. But he had a pass intercepted and returned 25 yards for a touchdown by defensive end Courtney Brown. The Lions got another score when LaVar Arrington sacked Brees and caused a fumble, which he returned two yards for a TD.
Penn State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) forced Brees into four incomplete passes in the final minute after he had moved the Boilermakers (5-3, 2-3) 58 yards to a first down at the 12 with 31 seconds remaining.
Brees, who was 31-of-48, had his first-down pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by cornerback Anthony King on a blitz. A pass to Randall Lane went incomplete on the next play and on third down he threw the ball out of the end zone to avoid a sack.
Brees then threw past the outstretched arms of Chris Daniels, and Purdue was out of downs.
"It was just fades on both sides anVinny was running a 5-yard out. The guy (defender) was playing outside leverage, so he had no chance," Brees said. "I was thinking Randall because it was a shorter throw, but right at the snap of the ball the DB jumped outside and it didn't look like he would be able to fade outside."
"So I turned around and threw it to Daniels as quick as I could. There really wasn't much room to work with."
The victory was the 315th for Paterno, moving him past Amos Alonzo Stagg into third place among major-college coaches and within eight of Bear Bryant's record total. It was the 10th consecutive victory for Penn State, the second-longest winning streak among majors.
Another mistake by Purdue produced a 14-14 halftime tie. Antoine Neal was attempting to return a punt when he mishandled the ball and Mac Morrison recovered for Penn State at the Purdue 41. Two plays later, cornerback James Dunnigan was beaten by Eddie Drummond, who caught a 39-yard TD pass from Kevin Thompson.
"Courtney is a great player. If he doesn't get the Lombardi award there's something wrong with somebody," Paterno said "He plays every play. If coach Lombardi was alive, that's the kind of kid he'd want to have the award in his name. He's a super kid."
Brown said he had seen Purdue run its bubble-screen on film.
"I had no idea that was what they were running on that particular play. I just put my hands up, hit the ball and it came down and I went running," he said. "I think I was the most surprised."
Thompson and Chafie Fields hooked up for a 78-yard TD pass behind Dunnigan to put Penn State ahead for good 21-14 on the first play of the second half.
Brown's interception with 10:19 left in the third quarter made it 28-14.
A 27-yard field goal by Travis Dorsch, who missed two attempts in the first half, made it 28-17 and the Boilermakers converted a Penn State mistake to get back into the game. Mike Rose recovered reserve quarterback Rashard Casey's fumble at the Penn State 26 and Purdue scored in three plays, the last a 4-yard pass from Brees to Lane. The same combo connected on a 2-point conversion pass with 2:05 left in the third period and Penn State led only 28-25.
Travis Forney scored the only points of the fourth quarter on a 24-yard field goal with 8:01 left in the game.
Purdue had another scoring bid end on a fumble by Sedrick Brown, who lost the ball at the Penn State 42 when hit by King, and Anthony Adams recovered.
Purdue became the first team to score a touchdown against the Nittany Lions in the first quarter by moving 80 yards in six plays to score on a 2-yard run by Brown. Bress completed a 28-yard pass to Larry Shyne and two for a combined 24 to Vinny Sutherland on the drive.
Arrington had two sacks of Brees, who had been taken down only five times this season. The Lions had five sacks of Brees, whose 223 yards passing in the first half was ore than the average of 188.7 Penn State had allowed in its first seven games.
The Boilermakers missed two scoring chances in the first half when Dorsch had a 40-yard field goal attempt fall short and a 37-yard attempt blocked by Arrington.
Purdue had won 10 straight at home and was 15-1 at Ross-Ade Stadium in three seasons. The only previous loss at home was 42-17 to Penn State in 1997.
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