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Penn State vs. Minnesota score, takeaway: The Gophers beat the Nittany Lions in great turmoil



It's time to take Minnesota seriously. The Gophers enter Saturday's game ranked No. 1. 17 in the College Football Playoff Rankings despite being off their first 8-0 start since 1941. Minnesota's start was written as the Gophers haven't beaten a ranked team this season and faced a string of Big Ten teams forced to use backup quarterbacks. A State with No. 4 State would set the record, and Minnesota set it well with a 31-26 home loss to Minneapolis.

Let the record show that the Gophers are now 9-0 after bothering the Nittany Lions to take their first win over a top five opponent since 1

999 (also at Penn State). Minnesota took control early and didn't release, racking up 461 yards of offense against a defense that allowed just 280 yards per game on the season. 339 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Minnesota's defense forced three Pennsylvania State turnovers, including an interception in the end zone to seal the game with just a minute to play.

Here are four things to take away from a big-time upset and a statement win by the Gophers.

1. Minnesota is very for real : Listen, I'm one of the many skeptics about starting Minnesota 8-0. I don't think the Gophers aren't good – nothing like an average 8-0 team – but it's hard to know how much they should do. As I said above, their five Big Ten wins came against teams that were all forced to play backup quarterbacks at least in most games. They combined 8-22 in Big Ten play entering Saturday. Pennsylvania State is the best team Minnesota has faced so far this season. This will be the test.

Minnesota passed it in flying colors. The fact that Minnesota won the game was a surprise, but it wasn't a shock. The shock was how much better Minnesota looked in the trenches for most of the game. Minnesota has an offensive behemoth line, and it does an excellent job against one of the best leaders in the country. Penn State ended the game with one sack and six tackles for loss. Minnesota, on the other hand, had two sacks and grabbed three passes.

Considering how important the CFP Selection Committee was that Penn State thought to rank it at No. 4, you have to believe that Minnesota will receive a healthy bump in the CFP Rankings when they are released on Tuesday night. Not only are the Gophers 9-0, but they have a grip on the Big Ten West title. Another win, and it's a wrap; Minnesota is heading to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. They might see this Penn State team again if they get there. This is more likely to be the State of Ohio. Whoever it is, if Minnesota gets to Indianapolis, you can bet people are more serious than they did in this game.

2. Morgan is the best QB you've never heard of: While I questioned Minnesota as a whole, I was a fan of Morgan before this game. I wrote Friday about how he would play an important role if Minnesota were to win because he became one of the best verticals passing the country this season. He made me wise against Pennsylvania State with a massive stat line. Morgan is averaging 16.95 yards per attempt and 18.83 yards per completion. He pushed the ball right below his receivers, and it killed Penn State. Rashod Bateman caught seven passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, including a 66-yard score. Tyler Johnson caught seven for 104 yards and a score of his own.

Morgan is not a household name, nor is he a high rank. He is seen by many as a type of quarterback game manager because he plays on an offense that runs the ball very often. Against the State of Pennsylvania, coach P.J. Fleck and Minnesota put the ball in the hands of their QB and told him to come out and surprise the world. He just did that.

3. Box scores can be misleading : If I had told you before the start of this game that Clifford would throw for over 300 yards, Travel to Brown would rush for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Pennsylvania State will have two receivers over 100 yards a day, no way do you think they will lose, right? Well, all that happened, and Penn State lost. The Nittany Lions outscored Minnesota 518-460 in the game but came up short.

The cause was twists and some dubious decisions. Clifford threw three interceptions, and while third sealed Pennsylvania State's fate, he also threw one of the team's first possession in the game. Pennsylvania State was moving the ball easily in that drive before the turnover. If Pennsylvania State scores there to take an early 7-0 lead, it could lose Minnesota's confidence, and things could be different.

There were also some questionable play calls, especially a fourth-and-goal. Penn State is calling for K.J. Hamler to run a corner route, and Clifford raised a pass in the back corner of the end zone that had been damaged. It was a call with a low percentage, and the decision to go with that play when Hamler was listed at 5-foot-9, and the cornerback that covered him 6-foot-3 reduced those percentages even further. pa. Now, some will point out that if Pennsylvania State kicked a field goal there, it would only take one field goal late to win the game. That's not fair because, given the situation in time, going to the touchdown was the right decision. It's the call of play that is more questionable than anything else.

4. The CFP of the State of Pennsylvania is not dead, but they are on life support : The State of Pennsylvania is about to become the largest Minnesota fan out of the state you've ever seen. The Nittany Lions will fall in the top four this week, but their playoffs are not expected to be dead. They'll still be able to play Ohio State, and a Buckeyes win will do away with a lot – like beating both Minnesota teams in the Big Ten Championship Game if they get there. Of course, avenging this loss to Minnesota in a possible Big Ten title matchup would mean a lot to the committee if Minnesota were 12-0 or 11-1. If the Gophers struggle along the stretch, it will not only hurt their cause but Penn State as well.

CBS Sports has been with you the whole way of updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and reviews from Penn State vs. Minnesota. If you do not see the updates below, please click here.

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