Penn State’s first half against Minnesota was less than optimal for the Nittany Lions.
It started on the first drive of the game with Sean Clifford getting intercepted by Antoine Winfield Jr. It was a nice play by Winfield in man-to-man coverage, but the biggest issue of the game has been Penn State’s defense.
After entering the game with a Top-10 defense, the Nittany Lions were gashed for 24 points in the first half by the Golden Gophers. On top of that, Minnesota put up 199 yards of total offense in the first quarter of action.
The 24 points allowed in the first half are already the most Penn State has allowed in a game this season. The previous high was 21, put up by Michigan in Happy Valley.
The #Gophers' 24 points with three minutes left in the second quarter is the most Penn State has allowed in a game all year. Michigan had 21 on Oct. 19.
— Andy Greder (@andygreder) November 9, 2019
In addition to the score, the troubling trend for Penn State is that the defense has not put any pressure on Minnesota’s offense. They did not have any negative yardage plays, including zero sacks, and did not register a QB hurry.
Minnesota also has yet to commit a turnover:
Penn State's top-10 defense so far:
Tackles for loss: 0
QB hurries: 0
Minnesota 24-10, 3:41 left in 2Q
— Josh Moyer (@ByJoshMoyer) November 9, 2019
The byproduct of Penn State’s defensive effort is an incredibly efficient half for Gophers QB Tanner Morgan. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 240 yards with three touchdowns to three different receivers.
Fortunately, Penn State entered the half only down 11, 24-13. Still, the Nittany Lions will need a better defensive effort if they are hoping to get back into this game.