At the conclusion of Saturday’s game, nearly all thoughts were directed at a kicker, a point after attempt and an official.
But lost in the stunning defeat was a Gophers’ passing attack that put together its best game of the season – and, in the process, helped two Minnesota receivers climb higher in the record books.
Senior quarterback Bryan Cupito finished 25-of-36 for 347 yards and two touchdowns, efficiently spreading the ball out to six different receivers.
Senior tight end Matt Spaeth led the way, hauling in six receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.
With his 30-yard touchdown reception on Minnesota’s opening possession, Spaeth became the 19th player in Gophers history to hit the 1,000-yard career receiving mark.
Three quarters later, he nabbed in his 84th career reception, passing Ben Utecht (2000-2003) for the most career receptions by a tight end.
Cupito said Spaeth’s spot in the record books is well-deserved.
“I just expected it,” Cupito said of Spaeth. “He’s a great tight end and he’ll definitely
be playing on Sundays next year. I don’t know if there are any more records he can break.”
Senior wide receiver Logan Payne caught six passes for the fifth consecutive week, finishing with 94 receiving yards.
Payne became the 20th player in Minnesota history to collect 1,000 yards receiving with his early-second quarter 15-yard reception.
“I think (Payne) is playing as good as any football player in this league,” coach Glen Mason said. “He’s a senior, a product of the program, a guy that has worked real hard for us.”
Payne wasn’t exactly excited by the record.
“I don’t know about the stats. I don’t care about the stats,” he said. “All I know is we’re 0-3 in the Big Ten.”
Banks in books
Senior cornerback Trumaine Banks most likely will be remembered for his costly penalty in overtime, but during the course of the game the senior moved into a tie for most career pass breakups with 31, tying Ukee Dozier (2001-2004) and Michael Lehan (1999-2002).
Banks has started all 39 games he has played in his career.
Punting on display
Punters for both teams were kept busy Saturday, and both put on impressive displays, booting a combined total of 13 punts.
Minnesota punter Justin Kucek finished the day with seven punts for 307 yards, an average of 43.9 yards per kick. The sophomore kicker, who averaged 39.4 yards per kick last season, also had his career high punt of 59 yards.
Penn State senior punter Jeremy Kapinos punted six times for 274 yards, an average of 45.7 yards per punt.
Kapinos, who has a career average of 41.7 yards per kick, placed four punts inside the 20-yard line and also collected a 59-yard punt.