Thousands of white pompoms fluttered and 100,000 Penn State fans broke into a sing-along as night fell on Beaver Stadium in State College.
Joe Paterno's greatest nemesis was about to be vanquished by the third-ranked Nittany Lions, and the coach, 81, had a bird's-eye view of party time in Happy Valley.
Yep, JoePa's getting a really good look at his latest national championship contender.
Behind the running of Evan Royster, who rushed for a 44-yard touchdown, and a few momentum-shifting plays by the defense and special teams, the Nittany Lions withstood the Wolverines' early flurry and ended a nine-game losing streak to their Big Ten rivals, 46-17, yesterday.
Paterno wasn't on the field to enjoy his record 380th victory, relegated to working from the press box for a third consecutive week because of a sore hip and leg.
"My being upstairs - it's funny, I'm not sure that's not the best place for a head coach," he said. "I mean, you really get a view of things, I get a better view of football games from up there than I ever do on the sideline."
No team had ever won as many in a row against Penn State during Paterno's 43 seasons 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 Wolverines (2-5, 1-2) have struggled mightily in their first season under coach Rich Rodriguez.
Michigan came in a 23 1/2 -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 they sped to a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter.
But Penn State (8-0, 4-0) deciphered the spread, got its own high-powered version of Rodriguez's offense rolling and delivered the knockout punch with a safety, a partially blocked punt and a forced fumble on consecutive second-half Michigan possessions.
No. 2 Alabama 24, Mississippi 20: : John Parker Wilson threw for a season-high 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) made a late defensive stand to hold off the visiting Rebels (3-4, 1-3). Alabama stopped Ole Miss on fourth-and-5 from the Tide's 43-yard line in the final minute.
No. 6 Southern California 69, Washington State 0: : Mark Sanchez became the first USC quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a half, and the Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pacific-10) breezed this time as huge favorites, beating the host Cougars (1-7, 0-5). It was the largest shutout victory for USC since a 69-0 win over Montana in 1931. The Trojans have won their past three games by a combined 141-10 since a stunning loss at Oregon State on Sept. 25 cost them their No. 1 ranking.
No. 7 Texas Tech 43, Texas A&M; 25: : Graham Harrell threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more touchdowns, and the Red Raiders (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) beat the host Aggies (2-5, 0-3), giving them their best start in 32 years. Harrell completed 44 of 56 passes for 450 yards.
No. 8 Oklahoma State 34, Baylor 6: : Dez Bryant made sure there would be no letdown for Oklahoma State. Playing their first game as a top 10 team since 1988, the host Cowboys (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) made quick work of the Bears (3-4, 1-2), scoring on four straight first-half possessions. Bryant had a career-high 11 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 10 Georgia 24, No. 22 Vanderbilt 14: : Knowshon Moreno rushed for a season-high 172 yards, freshman A.J. Green had 132 receiving yards and the host Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) overcame their mistakes to beat the Commodores (5-2, 3-2).
No. 12 Ohio State 45, No. 20 Michigan State 7: : Terrelle Pryor showed some of his potential during a spectacular start that kept Ohio State tied atop the Big Ten. Pryor ran for a touchdown and threw for another in the first half, helping the Buckeyes (7-1, 4-0) build a four-touchdown lead on the way to a win over the host Spartans (6-2, 3-1). The freshman quarterback finished 7-for-11 for 116 yards and a touchdown and had 72 rushing yards on 12 carries, including an 18-yard for a score early. Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells had season highs with 31 carries, 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
No. 14 Utah 49, Colorado State 16: : Backup quarterback Corbin Louks ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns and starter Brian Johnson threw two touchdown passes as the host Utes (8-0, 4-0 Mountain West) remained unbeaten with a win over the Rams (3-4, 1-2).Utah improved to 8-0 for the fourth time and gained a season-high 549 yards.
No. 19 South Florida 45, Syracuse 13: : Quarterback Matt Grothe threw three touchdown passes and ran for one, and the host Bulls (6-1, 1-1 Big East) topped the Orange (1-6, 0-3). South Florida seemed to be back on track after a disappointing loss to Pittsburgh on Oct. 2.