Mighty Minnesota: Gophers row past Penn State, improve to 9-0

Carrie Guzman
November 10, 2019

Morgan completed 18 of his 20 attempts for 339 yards and three scores.

Penn State moves on to face the top-seeded Maryland Terrapins (16-2, 7-1 Big Ten) in the conference semifinals on Friday afternoon.

James Franklin has built a great program at Penn State, but there's a big difference between great and elite. The Nittany Lions came out flat at the beginning of the game and several late coaching mistakes cost the team a shot at the College Football Playoff.

The Nittany Lions received the opening kick but turned the ball over to Minnesota on their third play from scrimmage thanks to an Antoine Winfield Jr. interception.

Penn State's starting front four will be down one Saturday as junior defensive tackle Antonio Shelton serves a one-game suspension. Clifford then led the Nittany Lions on a huge 71-yard drive to close out the first half, but once again couldn't score a touchdown inside the red zone.

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That's awesome for the Golden Gophers, but it didn't seem like their top-50 offense would be prepared to cut through Penn State's top-10 defense.

The second half started quickly for the Nittany Lions as freshman midfielder Paityn Wirth hammered home a rebound to open the scoring just two minutes into the third period to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.

This might be the biggest game in Minnesota history, but P.J. Fleck has to keep his team as level-headed as possible. Despite the score, Clifford was injured after he handed the ball off to Brown.

The Nittany Lions, whose last national championship was in 1986, have yet to be selected for the four-team playoff. He spit at a Michigan State player in the fourth quarter at Michigan State on October 26, when he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and ejected from the game.

This was the most points Penn State had allowed all season, a feat the Gophers accomplished in the first half. Pry's defense forced a three-and-out on the Gophers' next possession, and the Nittany Lion offense was given the ball with zero timeouts and 2:40 remaining. A few plays later, Clifford tossed his third interception of the game - this time in the end zone - to seal the upset victory for the Gophers. Throw in a Minnesota offensive line that allowed just one sack on the day, and the game belonged to the team with the nation's fifth-best passing efficiency.

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