OVERALL: It may not have been pretty at times. But in the end, the Lions won by double figures on the road with a backup quarterback and an injury-ravaged defense.
OFFENSE: State went into this game with nine offensive touchdowns on the year. The Lions posted four TDs in this one. Yeah, we know the Gopher defense stinks. The PSU offense did, too, before starting to come out of the doldrums Saturday.
DEFENSE: Minnesota moved the ball too easily at times, even against what is a patchwork unit. It is never a good sign when a cornerback (D'Anton Lynn) and safety (Malcolm Willis) lead the team in tackles, which happened for the Lions.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Some good (Anthony Fera's punting) and some not-so-good (Collin Wagner missing a short field goal and the Gophers busting a 30-yard punt return).
COACHING: We thought the staff -- especially on offense -- adjusted well on the fly.
INTANGIBLES: A new coach (Jeff Horton) and kind of new stadium (TCF Bank) didn't seem to help the Gophers against Penn State. To the Lions' credit, they played like the team that was supposed to win and did just that.
OTHER GUY: You can't accuse Minnesota of playing soft. The Gophers are a tough lot who are just not very good.
OFFICIALS: Some dicey stuff, especially in the eyes of the home crowd, which offered its share of boooooooooos.
CROWD: Speaking of which, the late-arriving group seemed to have more fun dogging the refs than cheering on its own team. A weird feel.