Field goal unit blocked three more times

Ben Goessling

For the second-straight week, Gopher kicker Rhys Lloyd was left shaking his head.

Lloyd followed up two blocked extra points in last week’s win over Northwestern with a pair of blocked field goals and another rejected extra point in Saturday’s 16-7 win over Penn State.

“It was me. I don’t push blame,” Lloyd said of the blocked extra point. “I wasn’t underneath it enough.”

Lloyd’s second field goal attempt was from 43 yards, or just behind the dirt patch around second base left from the Twins’ game with the Indians earlier in the day.

The dirt wasn’t a factor, but it appeared a low snap might have been. Holder Bryan Cupito couldn’t get the ball on its end, and Lloyd drilled a low kick that was blocked by Penn State’s Scott Paxson.

“We have to work on every part of it – snap, hold and kick,” Lloyd said. “I need to get the ball up. I’ll be fine by Michigan.”

The biggest highlight of Lloyd’s day came on the first play of the game when, for the second year in a row, the Gophers opened the game with a surprise onside kick against Penn State.

Last year, Lloyd tapped the ball straight ahead and recovered it himself. This year’s version was a popup that receiver Jared Ellerson snared, leading to an opening-drive field goal for Minnesota.

“I decided to put that in around noon on Tuesday,” coach Glen Mason said. “I looked at (special teams coach) Vic Adamle and said, ‘Only a fool would start the game two years in a row with an onside kick.’ And he said, ‘I guess we’re starting with an onside kick, then.’ “

Topsy turfy day at Dome

An hour before the game, grounds crew workers were still scrambling to get the Metrodome ready for football. The Minnesota Twins’ game with Cleveland was suspended after the 11th inning because of a Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission rule that an inning can’t begin after 2:30 p.m. when the Gophers play a night game.

The Twins and Indians resumed play at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday, with Minnesota pulling off a 6-5, 12th-inning win.

Many Twins players were irate with the decision to postpone a game critical to deciding home-field advantage for the first round of the American League playoffs.

“We’re in the middle of a mess right now,” manager Ron Gardenhire told The Associated Press. “We don’t need a stadium? C’mon.”

Extra points

– Marion Barber III’s 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave him 31 scores for his career, placing him third on the school’s all-time list and moving him within three of his father, Marion Jr., for second place.

– Representatives from the Rose Bowl and Capitol One Bowl were on hand Saturday, and Athletics Director Joel Maturi, Mason and his wife Kate all sported Rose Bowl pins after the game.

When a Rose Bowl representative congratulated Mason and said he hopes to see Minnesota in Pasadena, Calif., next January, Mason said, “Not as much as I hope. (Having a Rose Bowl representative at a Gophers game) is a first right here.”