In a matchup of the Big Ten's worst scoring offense (PSU) and worst scoring defense (Minnesota), something had to give. It turned out to be the Golden Gopher defense, as the Nittany Lions (4-3 overall, 1-2 league) scored four touchdowns to go along with a field goal and safety.
The final was 33-21, as Minnesota slipped to 1-7 and 0-4.
Here is what went down.
MAN OF THE HOUR: He didn't have the best statistical game for PSU. But backup QB Matt McGloin replaced an injured Rob Bolden and threw a 42-yard TD to Derek Moye for his first college completion. He added a second TD to Moye -- this one 9 yards -- later in the game.
CLOSE SECOND: Corner D'Anton Lynn had a team-high 10 tackles to go along with an interception, which he brought out of his own end zone for a 58-yard return. An awesome day in State's injury-plagued secondary.
CLOSE THIRD: Bolden was on his way to a monster afternoon -- he was 11 of 13 for 130 yards and a score -- before being knocked from the game with an unspecified injury in the second quarter. It appeared to be a concussion. He did not return.
TURNING POINT: Penn State led 14-7 in the second quarter when Bolden left the game. McGloin came in and handed off to Evan Royster then threw an incompletion, and the Lions punted. Savvy Gopher QB Adam Weber drove his squad to the PSU 33, but on a first-and-10 he went deep for Da'Jon McKnight. The ball was underthrown and Lynn picked it off in the end zone, hesitated for a second then took of on his return. On the next play, McGloin hit Moye for the long score and 21-7 lead.
SOLID STRATEGY: When it was clear PSU would have trouble running the ball early -- again -- the offensive staff found a hot hand in Bolden and exploited the Minnesota pass defense. That eventually opened things up for the running game, as Royster averaged 6.2 yards per carry and rookie Silas Redd averaged 7.9
NUMBERS GAME: Minnesota outgained Penn State in overall yardage, 433-351. But the Lions scored two TDs on three red-zone chances.
BUSINESS AS USUAL: More injuries for the Lions in this one. Besides Bolden, starting strong safety Andrew Dailey left the game early with an unspecified injury. That forced the staff to move Drew Astorino from free safety back to strong safety, and put redshirt freshman Malcolm Willis at FS. Willis finished with nine tackles
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Anthony Fera averaged 45.2 yards on six punts, with four downed inside the 20.
WHAT'S UP WITH?
The interior of Penn State's defensive line -- featuring veterans Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still -- being chewed up most of the game. The Gopher O-line easily got to the second level, hurting the Lion linebackers and forcing the DBs to have to make too many tackles. Still redeemed himself a bit by forcing a late safety (he sacked Weber).
PSU corner Stephon Morris being beaten for two TD passes. Granted, both were great throws. But that does not excuse the two easy tackles he missed.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson's load of you-know-what on PSU's Thursday night radio call-in show. During the show, he suggested frequent dog-house resident and backup defensive tackle Brandon Ware was in the team's plan for the Gophers. Whatever those plans were, they did not include playing, as Ware made the trip but never saw the field.
HIDDEN HERO: Senior captain Brett Brackett caught three passes for 49 yards and a score and was Bolden's favorite target early.
LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: The PSU offensive line did not allow a sack.
DID YOU NOTICE?
When it was clear Bolden would not return, he donned the trademark blue ball cap McGloin usually wears on the sideline. It was the exact same hat.
Sophomore Jordan Hill moved from defensive tackle to defensive end and made his first career start at the injury-depleted position. He had six tackles.
Defensive end Sean Stanley played for the first time in three weeks. He was recently charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana. He made one tackle.
Backup guard/center Matt Stankiewitch did not make the trip. A team source said he has mono.
John Rohrbaugh replaced Emery Etter as long snapper on punts.
Redshirt freshman Nate Cadogan has been moved from offensive tackle to tight end. He was wearing No. 92 in warmups Saturday and went through passing drills. Cadogan is 6-foot-5, 297. He did not play in the game, though.
UNANSWERED QUESTION: Who will be under center when the Lions face Michigan at Beaver Stadium this week?