TNL said 24-14 (PSU)
Actual Score: 20-0 (PSU)
I didn't see a shutout coming and I have to say, I'm not giving this defense enough credit. They have yet to be scored on in the first half of any game and they continue to pass every test thrown their way. I don't care who you blame the Iowa loss on it's definitely not the defenses' fault. This game was by far the most complete game Penn State has played all season. Penn State was nearly flawless in all aspects of the game.
Derek Moye is turning into Clark's big play maker and he's getting better and better as the season goes on. Moye's tip toe touchdown catch at the side of the endzone was a thing of beauty (even if the refs didn't think so at first). Moye finished the day with 6 catches for 120 yards and the aforementioned circus TD catch. It was Moye's second 100 yard game and he gives opposing defenses something to worry about. Clark was decisive, made good decisions and often threw the ball where only his receivers could get to it. His timing with the receivers was spot on.
The big offensive splash though was the return of the 'old' Evan Royster. Royster ran for 137 yards on 23 carries and looked brutal at times. It was the Royster we all expected at the beginning of the season but has been absent at times. He ran with patience, authority, and an urgency that was lacking up until this point. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come because we need that kind of effort if this offense is going to be effective against the meat of the schedule.
The return of Sean Lee was a welcomed addition to a unit that did fine without him. He had a bit of a 'quiet' day only recording 2 tackles but his presence did not go unnoticed. Josh Hull continues his steady, workmanlike season getting 6 tackles and his second interception. In a very short time Hull has gone from lost walk on to a dependable player even in passing situations, something I thought I would never say. Bowman led the team with 8 tackles 2 for loss and one spine-adjusting crunch on Minnesota running back Duane Bennett, a tackle Bennett did not recover from. I'll say this, I'll put these three guys up against any linebacking corpse in major college football, if there's a better one, I haven't seen them yet.
The secondary did a fantastic job on super stud Eric Decker holding him to 1 long catch for 42 yards.* At this point in the season if anyone is still worried about the secondary please file your worries under "not an issue."
The defense held Minnesota to 7 first downs, 138 total yards and no points. Sometimes statistics can be misleading, not in this case.
Hey, even the special teams decided to get in on the fun. Collin Wagner hit a career-long 47 yard field goal and was 2-3 on the day with his only miss an excusable 49 yarder. Jeremy Boone had an off day but he's allowed one of those every now and then considering his entire body of work this season. Most importantly though, the coverage team did a fantastic job keeping Stoudermire bottled up , his longest kickoff return was 19 yards. Wagner had two touchbacks on his 5 kickoff attempts.
Simply put this was a total team effort and it's hard to find any nits to pick in this game. When you shut out an opponent, don't turn the ball over at all (for the first time this year) and you hold your opponent to 138 yards of offense you end with this kind of result. Penn State is peaking at the right time, now it's on to Michigan and hopefully an effort like this.
*I blame myself for that catch, right before that play I said (like a moron) "Wow, the defense is doing a great job against Decker he doesn't have a catch yet." If I only kept my mouth shut!