Minnesota lost in overtime to Penn State in Happy Valley. Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks both rushed for over 100 yards and the defense came up with key stops. Antoine Winfield was the key defensive contributor on the day.
Let’s start with Winfield because the freshman deserves a shout out for his performance today. He was all over the field, making plays against the run and the pass. With certain members of the secondary performing in a less than ideal manner, Winfield was a steady presence and showed poise far beyond his years.
On offense, as expected Minnesota ran the ball extensively against Penn State. Overall, the team rushed 45 times for 233 yards. Both Smith and Brooks went over 100. Brooks scored his touchdown on a 37 yard scamper to the left side to tie the game at 20.
The running backs were hindered by the offensive line’s inability to generate push all game. Minnesota’s offensive line also allowed Leidner to be sacked. Next week and the rest of the season needs to be much better to compete in the BIG.
Mitch Leidner was 24/40 for 241 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Unfortunately, the interception happened late and was an awful throw. Good Mitch and Bad Mitch appeared during the game, but needing to rely on Leidner against PSU was a problem in itself. Leidner should not need to throw 40 times in a football game against what was supposed to be a miserable run defense.
On defense, Minnesota rarely generated pressure from the front four. This gave McSorley plenty of time. When he had plenty of time, he had no problem picking on the weaknesses in the Gophers secondary. At the very end of the game, the defense finally let Barkley free to score a touchdown on Penn State’s first snap in overtime.