Penn State top­ples Min­nesota in over­time

Penn State top­ples Min­nesota in over­time

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Travis John­son

STATE COL­LEGE >> Up un­til Saquon Barkley ripped off a gamewin­ning, 25-yard touch­down run through the mid­dle of Min­nesota’s de­fense in Penn State’s 29-26 over­time win over the Golden Go­phers, Barkley had been bot­tled up, driven back­ward for losses and frus­trated.

“I’m re­ally proud of Saquon,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “He’s not hav­ing the big games and sta­tis­tics that I think peo­ple an­tic­i­pated or ex­pected, you haven’t seen him once with bad body lan­guage, hang his head, been a great team player. Just kept per­se­ver­ing, wait­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties, and when it came, made a big play for us.”

Barkley’s daz­zling run came at a crit­i­cal time for Penn State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten). The Nit­tany Lions, al­ready down seven in­jured starters, risked a 0-2 con­fer­ence start amidst grow­ing fan frus­tra­tion that prompted ath­letic direc­tor Sandy Bar­bour to de­clare ear­lier in the week Franklin’s job is not in jeop­ardy.

Trace McSor­ley’s 80-yard touch­down pass to Irvin Charles was timely, too. It snapped a 0 for 8 string of third-down at­tempts for Penn State’s of­fense and sparked the team’s come­back from a 13-3 deficit. McSor­ley fin­ished with 408 yards of to­tal of­fense, the third high­est sin­gle-game to­tal in school his­tory.

McSor­ley com­pleted 19 of 40 passes and ran for a touch­down. Barkley fin­ished with 63 yards on 20 car­ries.

Mitch Lei­d­ner com­pleted 24 of 40 passes for 241 yards with a touch­down, and Rod­ney Smith and Shan­non Brooks added 104 and 100 rush­ing yards, re­spec­tively, for Min­nesota (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten). Brooks and Drew Woli­tarsky scored touch­downs for the

Go­phers.

“It’s pretty ob­vi­ous it hurts,” Min­nesota coach Tracy Claeys said. “We’ll be up in the morn­ing and we’ll be back and ready to go.”

Em­mit Car­pen­ter kicked four field goals for Min­nesota, in­clud­ing a go-ahead 37-yarder with 54 sec­onds to go. But Tyler Davis’ third field goal, a 40-yarder with two sec­onds left, forced over­time. Car­pen­ter’s 46-yarder put Min­nesota up af­ter the first half of over­time be­fore Barkley ended it on the next play.

“I think it was def­i­nitely some­thing our play­ers needed,” Franklin said. “Ev­ery­one needed it, there’s no doubt about it.”

Last Line of De­fense

Mar­cus Allen looked no worse for wear af­ter mak­ing 22 tack­les — eight solo — while play­ing most of his snaps as Penn State’s eighth de­fender in the box.

It was two shy of Penn State’s sin­gle-game record.

He’s grown used to help­ing sup­port what’s been a thin corps of linebackers since his fresh­man sea­son in 2014 and it’s as thin as it’s ever been with starters Ny­eem Wart­man-White, Ja­son Cabinda and Bran­don Bell out. Penn State lost fill-in Bran­don Smith in the sec­ond half with an ap­par­ent head in­jury.

The Take­away

MIN­NESOTA >> The Go­phers are a scrappy bunch and will have a shot to hang with a lot of Big Ten teams with Lei­d­ner and their run­ning backs play­ing well.

Lei­d­ner bounced back from a shaky start where he was 0 for 4 against the blitz to com­plete his next five passes for 35 yards and a touch­down against ex­tra-man pres­sures. He erred in the fourth quar­ter, How­ever. Lei­d­ner steered his team to Penn State’s 13-yard-line where he sailed a pass into 8-man cov­er­age to be in­ter­cepted by Jor­dan Smith.

PENN STATE >> Af­ter fall­ing into a 13-3 half­time hole and go­ing 0 for 7 on third downs over the first two quar­ters, Penn State sal­vaged some mo­men­tum with a win. More im­por­tantly, Joe Moor­head and the of­fense got on track with big plays in the third quar­ter where Penn State racked up 190 yards of of­fense with 156 of them com­ing on deep passes against Min­nesota’s short­handed sec­ondary.

Up Next

MIN­NESOTA >> Will try to take the Floyd of Rosedale back from the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Sta­dium on Oct. 8.

PENN STATE >> Hosts Mary­land on Oct. 8 in what’s be­come ar­guably each team’s big­gest ri­valry.

ABBY DREY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Penn State run­ning back Saquon Barkley runs for the win­ning touch­down in over­time against Min­nesota on Satur­day.

CHRIS KNIGHT — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Penn State’s Mike Gesicki runs af­ter a catch against Min­nesota on Satur­day.

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