After 45-plus years at Penn State and one nasty October snowstorm, Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in Division I college football history.
With the 84-year-old Paterno watching from the press box, the Nittany Lions overcame an afternoon of offensive frustration by driving 80 yards in the closing minutes to score the go-ahead touchdown, then held on for a 10-7 victory on a snowy day in Happy Valley, Paterno's 409th in a tenure that began in 1966. Paterno had been tied with Eddie Robinson, the legendary Grambling coach.
Silas Redd ran 3 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 1:08 remaining. Illinois, which had taken a 7-0 lead after a scoreless first half, had a chance to tie on the game's final play, but its field goal attempt hit the upright.
"It really is something I'm very proud of, to be associated with Eddie Robinson," Paterno said afterward. "Something like this means a lot to me, an awful lot. But there's a lot of other people I've got to thank."
Partly because of the weather, partly because of sloppy play, the game was sloppy as well. Penn State fumbled six times and lost two of them, and Illinois lost both of its fumbles. The Illini also threw two interceptions, and Penn State threw one.
Illinois had taken the lead on a 10-year pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to Spencer Harris in the third quarter, and Penn State made it 7-3 on Anthony Fera's 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
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