3:30 PM ET, October 1, 2005
Beaver Stadium, UNIVERSITY PARK, PA
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State beat run-first Minnesota at its own game.
Whether going off-tackle, around the end or just straight up the middle, the Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) ran roughshod over the No. 18 Gophers' porous defense.
In the process, they shut down the vaunted running attack of Minnesota (4-1, 1-1) and gave a big hit to Laurence Maroney's Heisman Trophy campaign, holding him to a season-low 48 yards.
Penn State could return to the Top 25 with the win, but with a prime-time showdown coming up next week against No. 8 Ohio State, coach Joe Paterno spoke cautiously about his team.
"I don't want to get carried away here," Paterno said. "We got a long way to go."
Derrick Williams ran for two early scores and Tony Hunt rushed for two more touchdowns and 114 of Penn State's season-high 364 rushing yards. Quarterback Michael Robinson added 112 yards on the ground.
"I haven't had the luxury of seeing any statistics yet, but I'm not sure I want to see them," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "Any way you cut it, we got our butts kicked good."
The Nittany Lions notched their first win over a ranked team since beating Wisconsin in 2002, and now appear to be contenders in the Big Ten for the first time in awhile.
They struggled on offense a lot the last couple years -- both losing seasons -- and Paterno lamented at times about the lack of playmakers on his team.
That doesn't appear to a problem anymore.
Penn State scored on its first drive against Minnesota and never looked back.
Williams scored on a 13-yard run up the middle after lining up at running back and getting a pitch from Robinson to give Penn State a 7-0 lead. He also scored from 5 yards out on an end-around to give Penn State a 17-0 lead after lineman Charles Rush threw a nice block to seal the edge.
Williams was mobbed in the end zone by teammates, then pumped his arms as he jogged back to the sidelines and was greeted with high-fives.
Williams, a freshman who was one of Paterno's prized offseason recruits, plays mainly receiver but has been used in the backfield, too, in Penn State's new-look offense.
Coming into the game, a lot of the hype about the offense had been about the big-play, deep-passing ability. Williams, who finished Saturday with six carries for 40 yards and four catches for 32 yards, had a lot to do with that.
"We've got to find ways to get him the football, there's no question about that," Paterno said.
Minnesota's offense was rarely in sync and was held to three-and-outs on its first two drives. Penn State appeared to solve the Gophers' vaunted zone blocking scheme and stuffed Maroney on short gains for most of the day.
Maroney's 48 yards came on 16 carries. He had just 14 yards in the first half.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny said the defense was stunting and moving a lot against the Minnesota offensive line to throw them off.
The talk about Maroney and the Gophers' offense motivated Penn State's, defensive tackle Jay Alford said.
"He just wasn't hitting the holes like he wanted to," Alford said.
The Gophers' scores came on a 48-yard touchdown catch by Ernie Wheelwright and a 2-yard score off an end-around by Jakari Wallace.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Gophers were serenaded to chants of "Overrated" from the loud crowd of 106,000 clad mostly in blue and white.
One of Minnesota's best drives early was thwarted on a trick play. Quarterback Bryan Cupito hit Wheelwright for a 14-yard gain in a drive that moved the Gophers to the Penn State 32.
But two plays later, Maroney took a handoff and then attempted to give it to Wallace on a reverse, but the ball was fumbled and recovered by Penn State.
"We kind of live by the run and I guess if you don't run the ball, you die by the run," Mason said.
Maroney's rushing total was his lowest since being held to 54 yards against Michigan State last year, when he split carries with Marion Barber III.
After the game, a Minnesota official said Maroney wasn't available to talk to reporters because he was "getting treatment," though he did not specify what he was getting treatment for.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Nittany Lions figured out they could run at will against the Gophers, which was early in the game.
Gameball goes to... Penn State's defense, which held the Gophers to only 113 yards on the ground and limited Laurence Maroney to only 48 yards.
Stat of the game... 35-13:How dominant was Penn State on both sides of the ball? The Nittany Lions had 22 more first downs.
The Fan Pick
30.4% of College Pick'em players picked Penn State to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||13-19|
|4th Down Conversions||2-3||1-1|
|TD||8:53||DERRICK WILLIAMS 13 YD RUN (KEVIN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yards.
|FG||3:09||KEVIN KELLY 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||11:34||DERRICK WILLIAMS 5 YD RUN (KEVIN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yards.
|FG||3:07||KEVIN KELLY 47 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 23 yards.
|TD||1:43||ERNEST WHEELWRIGHT 48 YD PASS FROM BRYAN CUPITO (JASON GIANNINI KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||11:45||TONY HUNT 5 YD RUN (KEVIN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||8:11||TONY HUNT 3 YD RUN (KEVIN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yards.
|FG||2:33||KEVIN KELLY 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||11:25||JAKARI WALLACE 2 YD RUN (JASON GIANNINI KICK)|
Drive info: 16 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||5:38||RODNEY KINLAW 10 YD RUN (KEVIN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.