The Penn State Nittany Lions have not fared well on the road this season. While they won the season-opener in New York against Syracuse, they have since lost their last two road games. After big defeats at Indiana and Ohio State, one common theme was the amount of yards and points given up by the defense.
At Indiana, the Hoosiers racked up 486 yards of total offense, including 336 through the air and put up 44 points. A few weeks later, the Nittany Lions were once again on the road and suffered their worst defeat in over 100 years. The Ohio State Buckeyes blew out Penn State 63-14 and put up an amazing 686 yards of total offense.
The Penn State defense has been at the center of much discussion this season, as the unit has struggled at times to stop opposing offenses. Teams have been able to move the ball on the Nittany Lions and create mismatches all over the field.
This week’s game at Minnesota presents another tough challenge for defensive coordinator John Butler’s defense. The Golden Gophers are riding a three-game win streak, having knocked off Northwestern, Nebraska and Indiana.
In nine games this season, Minnesota has scored at least 34 points five times. Recently, the offense has been racking up a ton of yards as well. In the last two games, the Gophers have totaled 573 and 430 yards respectively.
Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson has not had a spectacular season, but he’s done enough to win. However, he is coming off last week’s game against Indiana in which he threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns. Whenever the Gophers upset Nebraska, Nelson threw for one touchdown and ran for two scores.
Running back David Cobb has rushed for over 100 yards in the last three games. His best performance came against Indiana, where he ran for 188 yards and a touchdown.
The Penn State defense will have its hands full this week with an offense that has been very effective lately. If the Nittany Lions are going to be successful, the defense is going to have to step up and make big plays.
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