NCAA Football: Gophers roll on, knock off Penn State
Philip Nelson passed for a touchdown and ran for another as the host GoldenGophers knocked off the Nittany Lions to win their fourth straight Big Ten game for the first time since 1973.
David Cobb rushed for 139 yards on 27 carries for Minnesota (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten), which snapped a four-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions and reached the eight-win mark for the first time since 2003.
Nelson completed 15-of-24 passes for 186 yards and also rushed for 40 yards on 12 carries.
Zack Zwinak rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown and Allen Robinson caught seven passes for 63 yards for Penn State (5-4, 2-3), which was hurt by two turnovers, including a lost fumble by quarterback Christian Hackenberg on 2nd-and-goal at the Gopher 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.
Minnesota jumped to an early 10-0 lead, taking advantage of a Bill Belton fumble on the first offensive play of the game to go ahead 3-0 on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Hawthorne after just 87 seconds. Cobb added a 1-yard touchdown run on the next possession, capping an impressive 96-yard, 15-play drive that chewed up over eight minutes on the clock.
Penn State closed to 10-7 on a 6-yard touchdown run by Zwinak but the Gophers took control with two more impressive touchdown drives in the second quarter, the first one capped by a 6-yard run by Nelson and the other with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to tight end Maxx Williams just 17 seconds before halftime. Sam Ficken added a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Nittany Lions.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Cobb, who wasn't even listed on Minnesota's season opening depth chart, has broken the 100-yard rushing barrier in four straight games. ... Robinson (1,106 yards) broke Bobby Engram's single-season record of 1,084 yards set in 1995. ... Nelson has thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions duringMinnesota's four-game win streak.