The Nittany Lions are still trying to get over last Saturday's 16-3 loss at Wisconsin.
Penn State lost two quarterbacks during the game and head coach Joe Paterno came off the field to learn his son-in-law was in the hospital following a brutal bicycle accident.
Zack Mills separated his non-throwing shoulder in the first quarter after absorbing a big hit from Wisconsin DE Erasmus James, while backup Michael Robinson suffered a concussion after absorbing another shot from James. Robinson landed in the hospital.
Mills is listed as probable for this week's game at Minnesota, while Robinson will almost certainly be on the sidelines.
Paterno's son-in-law Chris Hort remained in intensive care and was listed in critical but stable condition at Altoona Hospital with a head injury he suffered while riding his bicycle on the Penn State campus. Associate athletics director for communications Jeff Nelson said there was no indication of any other injuries.
With Mills and Robinson out last week, the QB responsibilities fell to Chris Ganter. He was harassed by the Wisconsin defense and completed just 6-of-23 passes for 32 yards.
"I feel like I let everyone down," Ganter said. "I've been waiting to get in there for so long. All those guys in there on the offense are my good buddies. I was dying to get in there with them, and I finally got the chance, and we weren't able to make big plays when we needed them."
The Nittany Lions have another difficult assignment this week at Minnesota. The Gophers have the top-ranked rushing attack in the Big Ten with a mark of 332.5 yards a game. That should be a big test for the Penn State run defense, which is allowing 97.8 rushing yards per game.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: While this unit was stopped in its tracks by Wisconsin, the offense has not been bad this year. RBs Tony Hunt and Austin Scott could give the Minnesota run defense problems. Zack Mills should be back in the lineup and can be an effective passer when his offensive line gives him decent protection.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Penn State defense will face its biggest test of the year when it goes up against Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber and the Minnesota running game. If that wasn't enough, QB Bryan Cupito has fit right in and has a couple of nice big-play weapons in Jared Ellerson and Paris Hamilton. Rather than shutting down the Gophers, the Nittany Lions need to take the ball away from the Minnesota offense if they hope to come up with the upset.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a very tough guy. You saw him last year come back after a knee injury and fight through and play hard. So I don't think he'll have any problem playing through it." — RB Tony Hunt on Michael Robinson, who suffered a concussion in last week's loss at Wisconsin.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Penn State at Minnesota, Oct. 2 — The Nittany Lions were beaten and beaten up by Wisconsin last week. They need to recover quickly and get that loss out of their minds if they are going to upset Minnesota. The Gophers appear to have an improving defense after limiting Northwestern to 267 yards a week ago. Their offense could be the most explosive in the Big Ten.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Zack Mills — He has largely been inconsistent for the last two years, but the Nittany Lions need him in the lineup. He separated his non-throwing shoulder against Wisconsin. He needs to play with pain if Penn State is going to have a chance at the upset.
CB Alan Zemaitis — He is one of the best cover corners in the conference and perhaps the nation. Zemaitis came up with his first interception of the season last week at Wisconsin.
ROSTER REPORT: Wide receiver/backup quarterback Michael Robinson (concussion) is doubtful for Saturday's game against Minnesota. Starting quarterback Zack Mills (shoulder) is probable. Linebacker BranDon Snow (foot) is sidelined indefinitely. Running back Mike Gasparato (knee) is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Defensive back Chris Harrell (neck) is expected to miss the season.
Next Up: Penn State
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