Penn State scores key touchdown despite uncalled delay of game

Sep 9 2017 Corvallis OR USA Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck encourages his players during the first half in a game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT USATSI-359

Penn State had an opportunity to stop the game-opening touchdown, but the safety took a awful angle on the tackle and whiffed on Bateman.

Penn State once again drove deep into Minnesota territory on its next possession, but the offense stalled out inside the Gophers' 10-yard line and failed to convert a score on 4th down.

Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan threw 10-for-12 for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, while the team had three different players on the receiving end of each first-half touchdown: Rashod Bateman, Tyler Johnson and Chris Autman-Bell. The Gophers maintained their two-game lead on the Big Ten West with three games to play. Two plays later, however, came the drive killer for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions followed that with a 50-yard drive that was capped off with a Nick Bowers touchdown reception in the red zone.

Defensively, the Gophers allowed Penn State 518 yards but made impact plays. Clifford, who was off target for most of the day, overthrew George on the next play before the game-sealing pick by Howden.

Surely the 17th-ranked Gophers would be exposed against the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions, right?

Minnesota running back Rodney Smith vs. Penn State's front seven.

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. Fleck's group deserves more respect and a top 10 ranking. The loss will also hurt the Nittany Lions in the CFP pecking order, with the Gophers getting a boost but still with a long way to go to be in the mix. Pinegar hit the 21-yard field goal and Penn State took a 24-13 deficit into the locker room.

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