Mistakes Prove Fatal in South Bend

It typically takes a mistake-free game to beat a top-5 team on the road. Just ask 19th-ranked Penn State, which headed to Notre Dame Saturday looking to spring an upset of the No. 4 Irish but self-destructed in the opening half and never recovered in a 41-17 loss.

The first half was a comedy of errors for the Nittany Lions, who dropped a pair of potential interceptions, fumbled the ball away once, botched yet another field goal attempt and did not attack a Notre Dame fumble, allowing the Irish to recover.

State was able to overcome similar errors in a season-opening win over Akron at Beaver Stadium, but All-American quarterback Brady Quinn and his talented Notre Dame teammates exploited the errors and an uncharacteristically passive Lion defense to lead 20-0 at the half.

Quinn had TD passes of 10 and 7 yards (to Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzija, respectively), and Carl Gioia hit field goals from 36 and 35 yards.

Penn State opened the second half with the ball. But on a third-and-short play, the staff called an option right for junior quarterback Anthony Morelli. Morelli was quickly hit but still tried to pitch to running back Tony Hunt. The ball hit the turf.

Safety Tom Zbikowski recovered on the fly and scampered 25 yards to give the Irish a 27-0 lead and, effectively, the game.

Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for coverage of the game from South Bend.

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