Pa The University of Minnesota football team defeated Penn State, 20-14, on Saturday afternoon in University Park, Pa. The Golden Gophers improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1987 and move to 1-0 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota set the tone early on the opening kickoff. Rhys Lloyd recovered his own onside kick. Although the Golden Gophers were forced to punt, Lloyd's kick was downed inside the 10-yard line. After forcing a Penn State three-and-out, the Golden Gophers got the ball back at the Lions? 43 yard line.
Behind the running of Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber III, the Golden Gophers went right down the field. Barber capped off the scoring drive with an 11 yard touchdown run. It was his 11th of the season.
The Golden Gopher defense would force another punt and Minnesota took over at its own one yard line. It didn?t make a difference as the offense took it right down the field. At third and nine, Barber took the pitch and proceeded to connect with Ben Utecht for a 15 yard gain. On the next play, Minnesota lined up in the wishbone and Asad Abdul-Khaliq scrambled for a 12 yard gain. Maroney gave Minnesota a 14-0 lead with his three yard run.
Penn State responded with a 14 play, 79 yard drive that ate up over six minutes. The first quarter ended with Nittany Lion quarterback Zack Mills being taken off the field. Backup Michael Robinson took over and quickly energized the Penn State offense.The Nittany Lions cut the lead to 14-7 with a one yard touchdown run by Austin Scott.
With less than 10 minutes to play in the half, the Golden Gophers responded with a drive of their own. A 12 play drive resulted in a 44 yard field goal by Lloyd that made it 17-7.
Penn State followed with another long drive behind the play of Robinson. His 11 yard touchdown run finished an 11 play, 80 yard drive.
Trailing 17-14 with less than a minute to play, the Nittany Lions got the ball back at the Minnesota 47. Penn State faced a third and goal from the 11 yard line. Robinson's pass was deflected and Terrance Campbell made the diving interception to keep the Golden Gophers ahead by three at the half.
After a total of 31 points scored in the first half, the second half was decidedly different. Following a scoreless third period, Penn State's Robbie Gould missed a 45 yard field goal early in the fourth. Two possessions later, the Nittany Lions were stopped again as Justin Fraley picked off a Robinson pass at the Golden Gopher 35 yard line.
With less than nine minutes to go, Minnesota came up huge with its running game. The Golden Gophers ran off more than six minutes of the game and Lloyd converted again from 30 yards out to make it 20-14.
Penn State had one last chance after the Lloyd touchback. Robinson brought the Nittany Lions right down the field. With a third and six from their own 24, Robinson found Gerald Smith for the first down. On the next play, Robinson completed a 20 yarder to the 50. Robinson had a 10 yard sprint and also an 11 yard pass to Smith and Penn State was down to the Golden Gopher 15. On second down, Scott was held to a two yard gain on a draw. After using its final timeout, Penn State had two more chances at the end zone. Robinson's pass on third down was caught out of the end zone by Matt Kranchick. On fourth down, his pass sailed just out of the reach of Smith in the corner of the end zone.
Minnesota took over with six seconds left and ran out the clock to seal the win.
Barber led the attack for the Golden Gophers with a game-high 134 yards on 23 carries. Maroney saw extensive action and finished with 46 yards on 11 carries.
Abdul-Khaliq was 6-for-14 on the day for 56 yards.