Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Zach Zwinak (28) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Illinois 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Penn State at Minnesota Players of the Game

It was another disappointing road trip for Penn State, falling 24-10 to the surging Minnesota Golden Gophers.  It was a story of two halves for PSU.  In the opening 30 minutes, the offense moved the ball efficiently, but the defense struggled to get off the field, allowing 24 points.  In the second, the defense pitched a shut out, giving the Lions’ offense numerous chances on which they were unable to capitalize.  It’s a loss, but we do have a couple Nittany Lions worth of some recognition.

Offense: Zach Zwinak, 26 carries, 150 yards, 1 touchdown

My guess is that it wasn’t planned this way, but after Bill Belton received the opening two series of the game at tailback, Zwinak entered the game, and only put up his 2nd best day carrying the ball for Penn State (behind only his 176 yards vs. Wisconsin in 2012).  After struggling with ball security for much of the season, and parts of last, Zwinak ran confidently, and powerfully, the two hallmarks of a 2012 that saw him total 1,000 yards.  His 1st quarter touchdown was his 9th on the season, and the only Lions touchdown.

Defense: Malcolm Willis, 6 solo tackles, 2 assists, 1 fumble recovery

Malcolm Willis isn’t the most visible guy, and in a season where the secondary has been arguably the weakest link on a struggling defense, it has been touch to acknowledge a defensive back.  However, Malcolm seemed to be around the ball both on defense, but also on special teams.  He recovered a Gophers fumble midway through the 3rd quarter, setting up the PSU offense with great field position, which they could not take advantage of.

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Tags: Football Penn State Nittany Lions Players Of The Game

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