Morelli OnLion: Gophers Broken

The Penn State football team got a much-needed win over the weekend, knocking off the struggling Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Saturday.

There was some good and bad in the win. In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a look back at the Lions’ 33-21 win over the Gophers. Our weekly feature, the Two-Minute Drill, returns as well.

Gopher Broke

Who cares that it was Minnesota, easily the Big Ten’s worst team? Penn State handled the Golden Gophers, 33-21, to post its first win in conference play this season. The Nits are now 1-2 in the conference, 4-3 overall.

The game was tied, 7-7, after the first 15 minutes. However, Penn State took over in the second quarter and carried a 21-7 lead into the intermission. There was plenty of good and bad in the win. Let’s look at the game with a new feature — cheers and jeers.

Cheers to … Evan Royster. With a hard-fought 62 yards on 10 carries, Royster inched closer to the Penn State all-time rushing record. He now has 3,368 yards on 566 carries for his career. He still trails Curt Warner, who finished his PSU career with 3,398 yards on 649 attempts.

Cheers to … Coach Joe Paterno. The iconic coach moved closer to 400 wins with the 12-point win. He now has 398 wins in his historic career.

Cheers to … Silas Redd. The freshman running back had another impressive afternoon, racking up 71 yards on nine carries. His longest run of the day went for 26 yards.

Jeers to … Collin Wagner. After connecting on a 49-yard field goal, Wagner missed a makeable 37-yarder. He has to get more consistent as the Lions get into the heart  of the Big Ten schedule.

Jeers to … Sean Stanley. Facing a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession, Stanley still made the trip to Minneapolis and even played, registering a solo tackle. Can someone explain why Stanley was on the trip in the first place?

Jeers to … Matt McGloin. The third-string QB was sloppy. Despite throwing a pair of touchdowns, he also threw a bad pick and had several other passes that could have been intercepted.

Two-Minute Drill: Minnesota

Game ball to … Derek Moye
The wide receiver broke out in a big way, catching three balls for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

What Was He Thinking? … Adam Weber
The Minnesota QB threw three touchdowns, but he had too many incompletions and overthrew wide open targets on several occasions. He also threw a very bad interception that D’Anton Lynn returned 58 yards.

Numerology … 433
Minnesota racked up 433 net yards, something that doesn’t bode well for a defense that is banged up and getting ready for the meat of the Big Ten schedule.’

Play of the Game … Moye’s 42-yard touchdown catch from McGloin gave the Lions a 21-7 lead and they never looked back.

The Countdown

5. Anthony Fera — Had a great day punting the ball, hitting six balls for 271 yards — an average of 45.2 yards per kick. He put four inside the 20-yard line and had a long of 61 yards.

4. Kevin Newsome — The flu bug kept Newsome out of the lineup after Rob Bolden got dinged up. That’s unfortunate because we’ve been waiting to see how he’d fare in the spotlight. He appeared briefly, running the ball three times for four yards.

3. D’Anton Lynn — He turned a bad Weber pass into a nifty return, scampering 58 yards with the ball after the pick. Can someone say wideout?

D'Anton Lynn had one of the biggest plays against the Golden Gophers on Saturday.

2. Silas Redd — I’ve been a skeptic, but Redd made a believer out of me on Saturday, rushing for 71 yards on 9 carries. Impressive, Minnesota or not.

1. Rob Bolden — The true freshman QB was having his best day this season before he suffered a concussion that knocked him out. He completed 11-of-13 for 130 yards and a touchdown. Quite a good day at the office, indeed.

Next Up … Michigan
Penn State will face the Wolverines (5-2), who are coming off a bye week. The game is at Beaver Stadium under the lights. It won’t matter, though, because the Wolverines have one of the best QBs in the Big Ten in Denard Robinson. Sorry, Nittany Nation. On Halloween Eve, Michigan will have too many tricks in its bag.

Gantdaily.com prediction: Michigan 35, Penn State 24.

Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics. He is also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at morellionlion@gmail.com. Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!

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