Minnesota enters the half up 13-3 on Penn State. Thus far, Minnesota has been beset by multiple penalties on both sides of the football. Those penalties have obscured a solid defensive effort and a decent offensive effort.
Minnesota’s offensive line has had multiple breakdowns against Penn State’s loaded fronts, which has made running the ball more difficult than expected against a depleted Penn State defense. Rodney Smith has led the way for the Gophers with 70 rushing yards on 14 attempts. Shannon Brooks and Kobe McCray have added 33 and 16 yards respectively.
Mitch Leidner finished the first half with a great series in the two minute drill. The senior QB is 13 of 21 for 141 yards and 1 touchdown to Drew Wolitarsky. The two minute drill deserves special mention because it is the complete opposite of previous years. Minnesota mixed up their play calling and effectively managed the clock to get Carpenter in position to make a manageable 37 yard field goal.
To finish out this game, the defense needs to continue to bottle up Barkley and the Penn State offense while cutting down on silly penalties. The offense needs to improve its efficiency while continuing to control the clock and field position.