Throughout the storied history of Penn State football, the defensive philosophy has always been to bend but not break.

Saturday, before the second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history, the Nittany Lions showed Wisconsin just how effective that scheme could be in a 35-14 win.

The win put the Nittany Lions in the driver’s seat for just their second Big Ten championship since joining the conference in 1990. Penn State’s only title came in the 1994 season.

The Nittany Lions (9-1, 6-1) stayed a half game ahead of Ohio State, which is 5-1 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2) dropped a game back in the conference.

Penn State’s goal coming into the game was to shut down Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun, who had 1,218 yards and 19 touchdowns in the Badgers’ first nine games.

The Nittany Lions certainly did that, limiting Calhoun to 38 yards on 20 carries. Penn State held Wisconsin to minus-11 yards rushing and a mere three first downs on the ground.

With Penn State keying on the Wisconsin game, Badgers quarterback John Stocco threw for 313 yards on a 19-of-34 passing performance. He also was picked off twice to kill drives.

The Nittany Lions’ defense, led by Paul Posluszny (12 tackles) and Tamba Hali (nine), came up with nine sacks for minus-64 yards. Hali set a Penn State record with seven tackles for loss.

“Our kids have played hard on defense all year, and I have been bragging on Tamba Hali since the preseason,” said Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

“Tamba is a heck of a football player, and I think the kids played really well. They did a good job on (Brian) Calhoun. We got a little sloppy in our pass defense late in the game, but we have a good defensive football team.”

While the Lions’ defense shut out the Badgers for three quarters, the Penn State offense got another outstanding effort from Michael Robinson. The senior quarterback ran 16 times for 125 yards while throwing for 238 yards and two scores on a 13-of-28 passing performance. He also threw two interceptions.

Running back Tony Hunt ran for a career-high 151 yards and two scores.

“Tony Hunt is a fine back,” Paterno said. “He is not as flashy as some other people, but he gets tough yards.”

Redshirt freshman receiver Deon Butler grabbed five passes for a career-best 125 yards while scoring twice on catches of 43 and 47 yards.

The Penn State seniors were honored before the game to a thunderous applause.

“They stuck together and we talked a lot about that they would be a good football team if they just stuck with it,” Paterno said. “When they do it and have success, then you can't help feeling really good about it.”

Wisconsin won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. It would be the beginning of the end for the Badgers as Penn State jumped to a 21-0 halftime lead. The Lions took the kickoff and went 78 yards in five plays with Robinson hooking up with Butler for a 43-yard score.

Penn State extended its lead with scoring runs by Hunt and BranDon Snow.

Penn State amassed 305 yards of total offense on 40 plays in the first half while holding Wisconsin to 109 yards on 35 plays. While the Lions allowed 193 yards of offense in the second half, Wisconsin managed just a pair of scores in the fourth quarter with Penn State responding each time.

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