The Gophers have toppled the Lions. Minnesota gashed Penn State, a defense that had been allowing an average of 280 yards per game, for 182 yards on its first two drives of the ballgame - scoring drives of 95 and 87 yards. The Nittany Lions lost to the Terrapins 3-1 in their Big Ten regular season opener in late September and are looking to avenge yet another loss in the postseason.
On just the third play of the game, Antoine Winfield Jr., leapt in front of Penn State receiver Justin Shorter, rising above him to snag the ball.
Clifford, who went 23 for 43 for 340 yards and one score, connected with Jahan Dotson for 49 yards to get Penn State to the 11. Quarterback Tanner Morgan produced an impeccable performance, completing 18 of 20 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns. The Minnesota defense forced three Penn State turnovers, including an interception in the end zone to seal the game with just over a minute to play.
Check back for updates. The ball floated harmlessly toward the middle of the field, but the Nittany Lions were unable to come up with the interception. Minnesota kneeled out the rest of the game for the victory. Working off a flawless seal block from Rasheed Walker, Brown did the rest of the work in the open field to complete the score.
This was the most points Penn State had allowed all season, a feat the Gophers accomplished in the first half.
BEST DECISION Minnesota's offensive set pieces in the first quarter were marvelous exploitations of Penn State's weaknesses in the middle of the field defensively, no better executed than Morgan's 21-yard pitch-and-catch with Chris Autman-Bell for a 21-yard touchdown. Journey Brown capped it off with a 45-yard touchdown rush and Penn State tied the game at 7-7 with 10:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Parsons, the major tackler on the team and a single of the finest recruits on Penn State's roster, apparently did not start out the video game simply because of a "behavioral" challenge.
Let the record show that these Gophers are now 9-0 after upsetting the Nittany Lions to pick up their first win over a top-five opponent since 1999 (also Penn State).