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.