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Penn State rolls over Michigan

Polishing off Joe Paterno’s greatest nemesis, No. 3 Penn State ended a dozen years of disappointment against Michigan.

Behind the running of Evan Royster and a few momentum-shifting plays by the defense and special teams, the Nittany Lions withstood the Wolverines’ early flurry and snapped a nine-game losing streak to their Big Ten rivals, 46-17 Saturday.

Paterno wasn’t on the field to enjoy his team’s highest-scoring game against Michigan, relegated to working from the press box for a third consecutive week because of a sore hip and leg. Surely, his 380th victory looked just as good from the bird’s-eye view.

No team had ever won as many in a row against Penn State during Paterno’s 43 seasons at the helm than Michigan. But if ever there was an opportunity for the Nittany Lions (8-0, 4-0) to break the streak it was now. The struggling Wolverines (2-5, 1-2) have looked little like the winningest program in college football history in their first season under coach Rich Rodriguez.

In fact, Michigan came in a 23-point underdog. Never before had the Wolverines been so lightly regarded by odds makers.

The Wolverines looked like a good bet early, their spread offense clicking as well as it has all season as they sped to a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter.