Football live blog: Minnesota vs. Penn State

Austin Cumblad

Odd start for the Gophers.  After a gift of a personal foul penalty gave them a first down, quarterback Adam Weber had his pass intercepted by Penn State middle linebacker Josh Hull.  The Nittany Lions took over on Minnesota’s 34 but were forced to pooch punt after a three-and-out.  So really after an offensive possession apiece, it’s like the game is just starting.  The Gophers have the ball at their own 11 to begin their second drive.

Still not much doing on either side of the ball, but Penn State managed to drive down for a 47 yard field goal by Collin Wagner, a career long. 3-0 Penn State. 160 yards thus far for the Nittany Lions offense but only 6 points to show for it. Give credit to both Minnesota’s defense and some drive-killing penalties. Wagner could not best his career long field goal as a 49 yard attempt came up about 2 yards shy of the goalposts. On third-and-2 from the Minnesota 13 late in the second quarter, a 6-yard pass from Daryll Clark to Graham Zug originally ruled incomplete was overturned to give Penn State a first-and-goal from the 7. Three plays later, a 12-yard Clark pass to Derek Moye in the end zone was likewise ruled incomplete and likewise overturned. Touchdown Penn State, 12 plays, 91 yards in 5:46, its longest of the season in terms of yards. 13-0 just before halftime. Let’s juxtapose a few first half stats: Total yards – Penn State 259, Minnesota 38 First downs – Penn State 11, Minnesota 2 Third down conversions – Penn State 5-of-9, Minnesota 1-of-6 Time of Possession – Penn State 20:01, Minnesota 9:59 Another fun fact: For its seventh straight game, Penn State did not allow a first half touchdown. All things considered, it’s actually quite remarkable that this game is only 13-0. Important stop by the Minnesota defense to open the second half. The Gophers’ offense needs to put points on the board or at least sustain a drive. They don’t. Four plays and they punt again. The defense is at risk of getting warn down if Minnesota doesn’t start keeping the ball for more than 1 minute and 44 seconds at a time. Here comes the fatigue. It’s most evident on a 23-yard cutback run by Evan Royster during which he just outran the Minnesota defense to the edge and burst downfield. Wasn’t touched until he had gained probably 20 yards. A few plays later, Clark lobs a 20-yard pass to Zug on the sideline. Safety Kyle Theret sees the pass but is too late to the ball. A QB sneak by Clark polishes off the drive and extends State’s lead to 20-0 with 1:41 left in the third. Welcome back Eric Decker. The senior wide receiver went nearly five quarters without a reception before Weber found him for a 42-yard strike on the first play of Minnesota’s drive following Penn State’s second touchdown. Suddenly the Gophers have life. The following play, Duane Bennett gains 5 on the ground, then Weber finds tight end Nick Tow-Arnett for 9 and another first down. Minnesota drove to Penn State’s 1-yard line, but it was all for naught. On fourth-and-goal, Kevin Whaley took a pitch and bounced outside but he was chased down by Navorro Bowman and A.J. Wallace and stopped short of the goal line.