BEST RUN: It produced no touchdown, and only 6 yards, but Sean McHugh’s burst to near the goal line in the second quarter was memorable. That was largely because umpire Rick Nelson got a face full of the Penn State fullback when he got sandwiched between ballcarrier and tacklers at the 1-yard line.
BEST PASS: Minnesota running back Marion Barber III not only rushed for 134 yards, he also threw a pinpoint option pass to Ben Utecht for 15 yards in the first quarter. The completion, on third-and-4, kept alive Minnesota’s second touchdown drive.
BEST CATCH: Minnesota linebacker Terrance Campbell made a diving, one-handed interception of a Michael Robinson pass in the first half. OK, replays show the ball touched the ground, but the officials said it was a catch, so who are we to argue?
BEST TACKLE: Lavon Chisley sacked Gophers quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq on a fourth-quarter bootleg from inside the PSU 10-yard line, forcing Minnesota to settle for a field goal.
TURNING POINT: Robinson was intercepted at 8:38 of the fourth quarter, leading to a Minnesota field goal and the six-point lead that forced Penn State to go for a touchdown instead of a tying field goal at the end.
BEST DROP: Although the Penn State receivers had their best collective game, Gerald Smith dropped a Robinson pass that would have given the Lions a first down at the Minnesota 20 in the fourth quarter. Instead, Robbie Gould attempted and missed a 45-yard field goal.
WORST CALL: After considerable debate, officials resolved a disagreement within their ranks by ruling Minnesota had intercepted a Robinson pass late in the first half. TV replays show the ball hitting the ground.
SON OF WORST CALL: After considerable delay, the officials decided to give in to arguments from the crowd and Joe Paterno and tag Minnesota with an intentional grounding penalty in the third quarter.
WORST CALL III: Penn State ran Austin Scott on a draw play on second-and-10 from the Minnesota 15, trailing 20-14. The Lions were forced to use their third and final timeout to stop the clock with 15 seconds when the play gained only 2 yards. Paterno said that had a certain unidentified lineman held his block, Scott would have burst clean into the end zone. Then, it would have been the best call.
BEST SURPRISE: Minnesota began the game with a successful onside kick, recovered by kicker Rhys Lloyd.
QUOTABLE: “Boy, he looked good to me. I looked at him in pregame warmups and thought to myself, wow.” — Minnesota coach Glen Mason on PSU quarterback Michael Robinson.
UP NEXT: Penn State (2-3, 0-1) plays host to Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0) at noon Saturday.