Joe Paterno was embarrassed in victory.
“Nobody ever wants to be in a game like that,” said Paterno, the Penn State coach whose No. 5 Nittany Lions handed Cincinnati an 81-0 defeat Saturday at State College, Pa.
It was the highest point total by Penn State since Paterno became the coach in 1966.
It was also Cincinnati’s worst loss ever.
“We had too much speed for them,” Paterno said. “It was a fluke.”
Penn State quarterback Tony Sacca connected with Kyle Brady for two touchdowns, freshman J.T. Morris scored twice on runs of more than 50 yards and Sam Gash and Shelly Hammonds also ran for two touchdowns.
Cincinnati Coach Tim Murphy made a point to absolve Paterno of running up the score.
“I think Joe’s a class guy and I don’t believe he’d do that in a hundred years,” Murphy said. “We made too many mistakes even for a first game of the season and that’s my fault. I’m embarrassed, not Joe Paterno.”
Penn State (2-0), which plays USC next Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Coliseum, ran for 484 yards and passed for 222 while limiting the hapless Bearcats (0-1) to 229 overall. It was the most yardage ever by a Penn State team, surpassing the 632 against Texas Christian in 1971.
Penn State’s previous largest victory margin under Paterno was 58-0 over Texas Christian in 1978. The school-record is 109-7 over Lebanon Valley in 1920.
Cincinnati’s previous worst loss was a 71-0 defeat to Ohio Wesleyan in 1928.
No. 24 Syracuse 37, Vanderbilt 10--The Orangemen gave their new coach, Paul Pasqualoni, his first victory by scoring 34 consecutive points after falling behind 10-3 late in the second quarter of their opener at Syracuse, N.Y.
Sophomore quarterback Marvin Graves completed 11 of 18 passes for 211 yards.
Sophomore Shelby Hill caught five passes for a career-high 95 yards, had a 39-yard run and returned three punts for 34 yards.
Jeff Owen of Vanderbilt (0-1) kicked a 34-yard field goal with 4:03 left in the half before Syracuse scored 10 quick points on a 34-yard touchdown pass play from Graves to Chris Gedney and a 40-yard field goal by John Biskup.
Ninety seconds into the second half, the Orangemen extended the lead to 20-10 on a 37-yard fumble return by Tony Montemorra.
Pittsburgh 35, Southern Mississippi 14--The Panthers forged a 22-point halftime lead on an 81-yard interception return by Steve Israel and two touchdown passes from Alex Van Pelt to Chris Bouyer and held off the Golden Eagles at Pittsburgh.
Quarterback Tommy Waters rallied Southern Mississippi (1-1) with two touchdown passes in a nine-minute span that pulled Southern Miss to within 22-14.
But freshman Curtis Martin scored on a 10-yard run with 10:51 left to push Pitt (2-0) back into a two-touchdown lead.
Israel, who had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown called back by a penalty in the second quarter, also scored on a 35-yard fumble return with 53 seconds left.
West Virginia 24, Bowling Green 17--Adrian Murrell rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown to lead the Mountaineers at Morgantown, W.Va.
Murrell had been replaced in the third quarter by Garrett Ford after Murrell’s second fumble, which led to a 30-yard touchdown pass play from Erik White to Ronnie Redd that gave Bowling Green (1-1) a 17-9 lead.
West Virginia (1-1) tied the score on a one-yard touchdown run by Rodney Woodard and a two-point conversion run by quarterback Chris Gray.
Murrell reentered the game in the fourth quarter. He gained 36 yards on one play and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 6:27 left on a four-yard run that came seven plays later.
Ball State 33, Navy 10--Corey Croom gained 190 yards in 28 carries and scored three touchdowns, and the Cardinal defense forced four turnovers at Annapolis, Md.
Croom scored on runs of two and 60 yards in the first half to stake the Cardinals to a 21-10 lead. He scored on a four-yard run with 11:21 left to clinch the victory.