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 MADISON, Wis. (AP) -Meet Penn State, the scrappy little underdog looking to prove its doubters wrong.
OK, so the no-respect bit might be a little hard to swallow at this point, with Penn State ranked No. 3 and plowing through the opposition on its way to a 7-0 start.
But Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark senses some skepticism.
So after a 48-7 dismantling of slumping Wisconsin on Saturday night, Clark said the Nittany Lions are out to prove they're legitimate national championship contenders.
``We ignore what people say - that we're overrated, that we can't win on the road and things like that,'' Clark said. ``Joe (Paterno) tells us to put that on the back burner, but don't forget about it.''
After winning back-to-back Big Ten road games, the Nittany Lions head home to play struggling Michigan - the next step in what might be shaping up as another title run under the 81-year-old Coach Paterno.
id the Nittany Lions ``deserve to be considered'' in the national championship picture.
``Our goal is to get to the top and there is no room for stumbles,'' left tackle Gerald Cadogan said. ``It was important to keep making a statement and we did against Wisconsin.''
Despite dealing Wisconsin (3-3, 0-3) its worst loss since 1989, Nittany Lions players saw room for improvement - especially on offense.
Clark was 16-of-25 for 244 yards and a touchdown, and ran for another two scores. But running back Evan Royster was held to 60 yards and a touchdown.
The lopsided final score was more about the Nittany Lions' dominant defense. Penn State held the Badgers' once-intimidating running game to a relatively tame 148 yards and delivered four turnovers.
``Wisconsin gave us the ball multiple times,'' Paterno said.
So to summarize, Penn State beat a team that recently was ranked in the top 10 by 41 points on the road - and thinks it can play much better.
``We didn't play our best game but it was still a dominant performance,'' wide receiver Jordan Norwood said. ``We still have a lot to work on but it was great to quiet their crowd and to play so well in a hostile environment.''
Camp Randall Stadium certainly was a hostile environment Saturday, but much of that hostility was directed toward the home team and its embattled starting quarterback, Allan Evridge.
ulled Evridge, a transfer from Kansas State who won the job in training camp, in favor of backup Dustin Sherer in the third quarter.
Already on a short leash after disappointing performances in narrow losses at Michigan and against Ohio State at home, Evridge was 2-of-10 for 50 yards and an interception before he was pulled from Saturday's game.
Bielema isn't committing to a quarterback for Saturday's game at Iowa.
``Now it's all about pride,'' Evridge said. ``We've kind of let a lot of things go. We lost those two games by a small margin and today we just got absolutely destroyed. We've got to continue one game at a time and start next week against Iowa.''
It was the second straight home loss for the Badgers, and the first time they'd opened conference play with three losses since 2002.
``Obviously, when you get into the coaching profession, there will be good days and bad days,'' Bielema said. ``Today, our team did some good things at times, but overall, did not do very many positive things.''
Wisconsin's struggles didn't seem to be much of a surprise to Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin.
``We really are pretty confident in our abilities,'' Maybin said. ``We know what we can do. We knew coming in that we had the ability to break this game open. It was a matter of going out and getting it done, as always. We wanted to make sure we sent a message to them and we did that.''
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