Anderson delights in 4 exotic TDs Penn State tailback enjoys fruits of labor


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Richie Anderson likes to be creative running the football, but this was gaudy overkill.

Slip a tackle here, dodge a defender there, that's one thing.

But yesterday, the Penn State tailback made the entire Maryland defense miss him. Often.

Anderson, from Sandy Spring, Md., scored four touchdowns -- three rushing, one receiving -- to lead the ninth-ranked Lions past his Maryland pals, 49-13, at Beaver Stadium.

"I know a lot of their guys on the defensive side," he said after Penn State ran its record to 4-0. "A win against them isn't any sweeter for me, personally. I try to treat it like a normal game."

Anderson's touchdowns were hardly garden-variety, though. These were some of the more exotic touchdowns you will see.

There was a 6-yard sprint up the middle, brushing off would-be arm tacklers, to make it 14-3, Penn State, in the second quarter.

There was a 26-yard catch-and-run on a play that was wide open to make it 21-3 later in the second. Anderson, in fact, had called the play, telling quarterback John Sacca that he had been uncovered on the play the previous time the Lions ran it.

There was a tantalizing 25-yard run in the third quarter to make it 28-6. The run was almost pure second effort as Anderson broke four tackles and dragged cornerback Gene Green into the end zone. Green was flagged for a face-mask penalty, to boot.

Then there was a 22-yard run in the fourth quarter that made it 35-6. Again, Anderson ran through would-be tacklers.

He also had non-scoring runs of 17 (twice) and 18 yards and finished with 138 rushing yards -- averaging nearly 7 a carry.

It was the fifth 100-yard rushing game of his career and the second this season. Never before had he scored more than two touchdowns in one game for the Lions. He has nine this season.

"Richard Anderson had a superb football game," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said.

"He made a lot of things happen on his own.

"All he needs is to go into a football game and wear some people down. He should carry the ball somewhere between 20 and 25 times. He can do it all. You might have missed some of the blocks he made. He made a couple of great ones."

Anderson was quick to compliment his blockers, especially fullbacks Brian O'Neal and J. T. Morris. But when Anderson runs like he did yesterday, there's not much to stop him.

"He's got explosive speed, and he's strong as an ox," Sacca said. "He's got both things working for him."

Anderson, 6-feet-2 and 210 pounds, pounded the Terps for 92 yards and two touchdowns in last year's 47-7 Penn State rout. He says he is a better back in the open field this year.

"You've got to create something out there sometimes," he said. "It's just instinct. When I get in trouble, I try to get myself out of it."

Is Anderson surprised by some of his innovative runs?

"I never surprise myself," he said, smiling. "I have confidence in myself."

When asked to compare Anderson's running style with previous Penn State tailbacks, Paterno declined.

But he made it clear that Anderson is a special talent.

"I just think Richard Anderson is an outstanding football player in every way," Paterno said. "He's probably the most powerful tailback we've had."

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