CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Michael Robinson threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more – in the first half – and 12th-ranked Penn State gave coach Joe Paterno his 350th victory the easy way with a 63-10 rout of Illinois on Saturday night.

The Penn State victory was so decisive that Robinson and most of his fellow starters did not play after the Nittany Lions built a 56-3 halftime lead to spoil Illinois’ homecoming. The win keeps Penn State (7-1, 4-1) in a tie with Wisconsin at the top of the Big Ten standings and moves Paterno’s record to 350-117-3 in 40 seasons, second on the all-time Division I-A coaching victory list.

Penn State’s performance set a new school record for scoring in a half, breaking the old mark of 55 set on Oct. 11, 1947, in the first half of a 70-0 victory over Fordham. It was the worst defeat for Illinois (2-5, 0-4) since a 69-13 loss to Michigan on Nov. 1, 1986, and marked the second consecutive home game that the Illini have given up more than 60 points, after a 61-14 defeat by Michigan State on Sept. 24.

Robinson had scoring throws of 35 yards to Ethan Kilmer, 31 yards and 19 yards to Deon Butler, and 3 yards to Patrick Hall during a first quarter in which the Nittany Lions averaged more than 11 yards per play on the way to a 28-3 lead. He had touchdown runs of 4 and 31 yards in the second quarter before he was replaced by Anthony Morelli with 1:24 left in the half.

Robinson completed 11 of 18 passes for 194 yards. He also led Penn State in rushing with 69 yards on seven carries. Morelli threw only two passes, completing one for 23 yards.

Linebacker Dan Connor ran a recovered fumble back 18 yards for another score and Rodney Kinlaw scored on a 1-yard run 26 seconds before halftime. Nolan McCready ran an interception back 76 yards for Penn State’s only second-half score.

The Nittany Lions rolled up 438 yards, while Illinois gained 244, its lowest offensive output of the season.

Illinois took the opening kickoff and marched from its own 20 to the Penn State 23. But a holding penalty stopped the drive and the Illini had to settle for Jason Reda’s field goal and a 3-0 lead.

The Illini would gain only 42 more yards and get only one more first down for the rest of the half. They committed nine penalties for 78 yards before halftime.

Just 1:16 after Reda’s field goal, Robinson found Kilmer over the middle and he outran two Illini defenders to the end zone with 8:58 left in the quarter. The Nittany Lions scored on seven of eight first-half possessions.

Illinois quarterback Tim Brasic was 8-of-16 for 49 yards before being relieved by Chris Pazan in the third quarter. Pazan threw a 3-yard TD pass to Rashard Mendenhall to complete a 12-play, 91-yard drive with 2:19 left in the game.

AP-ES-10-22-05 2229EDT


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