Can anybody out there stop Penn State?
The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions, with perhaps their most diverse offense ever, got five touchdowns from five players in the first half Saturday and went on to beat No. 14 Southern Cal 38-14.
Kerry Collins threw two touchdowns passes and three running backs each added scores as Penn State took a 35-0 lead before Southern Cal had more than two first downs.
"It was devastating to us how quickly they were on top of us," Southern Cal coach John Robinson said. "We were knocked out of the game so fast."
Penn State (2-0) led 21-0 less than eight minutes into the game. Southern Cal (1-1) didn't cross midfield until the last three minutes of the half and scored only on Quincy Harrison's 68-yard interception return in the third quarter and after an 81-yard drive against Penn State reserves in the fourth quarter.
The Lions beat Minnesota 56-3 last week, with six players accounting for eight touchdowns.
"The more balanced we can be offensively, the more we spread the ball around, the better our whole offense is," receiver Freddie Scott said. "We know what it takes to execute plays. We don't try to make the big play every time."
The Trojans, who lost for a second straight year in Beaver Stadium, seldom managed to stop Penn State's first-team offense. When USC was looking for Bobby Engram or Ki-Jana Carter -- Penn State's top receiver and rusher -- Collins found Scott, who had six catches for 133 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown.
"I think there's a tendency to overlook Freddie because of Bobby. Everybody's scared to death of Bobby, and they give Freddie a little more room," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said.
Collins, 18-of-33 for 248 yards, opened the game with a 17-yard pass to Scott in the right flat and hit him again on a similar play for 14 yards before Carter's 32-yard TD run 75 seconds into the game.
Brian Gelzheiser, back after spraining his right knee in August drills, recovered a fumble by Southern Cal quarterback Rob Johnson and, on the next play, Scott faked a move to the right flat, went long past cornerback John Herpin and caught a 44-yard pass from Collins.
Penalties for offsides and holding pushed Southern Cal back to its 8 on its next possession. The Trojans punted to their 44 and Penn State immediately drove into the end zone, the score coming on Jon Witman's 7-yard run with 7:09 left in the first quarter.
Brian Milne scored on a fourth-down, 1-yard dive early in the second quarter and Collins hit Engram with a 19-yard touchdown pass 3:19 before halftime. The Trojans drove to the Nittany Lions 31 before sacks by Willie Smith and Todd Atkins pushed Southern Cal back to the 44 before the break.
"We couldn't have been much better. That's about as well as you could expect a team to play this early in the season," Paterno said.
Collins threw interceptions to end Penn State's first two second-half possessions. Harrison stepped in front of Chris Campbell to snag the ball at the USC 32 and eluded Collins on the way to the end zone.
Micah Phillips intercepted Collins' pass at the USC 37 to finish Penn State's next possession, but Gelzheiser stopped Johnson cold on a fourth-and-1 from the Penn State 27.
After Brett Conway's 23-yard field goal in the third period, Johnson led USC on an 81-yard drive in the final quarter. Delon Washington scored from the 5.
Southern Cal had but 70 yards at halftime to Penn State's 363. After three quarters, Penn State's edge was 493-98. Southern Cal's fourth quarter narrowed the margin to 534-281.
Johnson completed 18 of 30 passes for 221 yards after going 13-of-17, with nine completions in a row, in the fourth quarter.
Carter carried 17 times for 119 yards. Witman and Milne had 76 and 43 yards from the fullback position.