STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State beat run-first Minnesota at
its own game.
Whether going off-tackle, around the end or just straight up the
middle, the Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) ran roughshod over the
No. 18 Gophers' porous defense.
In the process, they shut down the vaunted running attack of
Minnesota (4-1, 1-1) and gave a big hit to Laurence Maroney's
Heisman Trophy campaign, holding him to a season-low 48 yards.
Penn State could return to the Top 25 with the win, but with a
prime-time showdown coming up next week against No. 8 Ohio State,
coach Joe Paterno spoke cautiously about his team.
"I don't want to get carried away here," Paterno said. "We
got a long way to go."
Derrick Williams ran for two early scores and Tony Hunt rushed
for two more touchdowns and 114 of Penn State's season-high 364
rushing yards. Quarterback Michael Robinson added 112 yards on the
"I haven't had the luxury of seeing any statistics yet, but I'm
not sure I want to see them," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said.
"Any way you cut it, we got our butts kicked good."
The Nittany Lions notched their first win over a ranked team
since beating Wisconsin in 2002, and now appear to be contenders in
the Big Ten for the first time in awhile.
They struggled on offense a lot the last couple years -- both
losing seasons -- and Paterno lamented at times about the lack of
playmakers on his team.
That doesn't appear to a problem anymore.
Penn State scored on its first drive against Minnesota and never
Williams scored on a 13-yard run up the middle after lining up
at running back and getting a pitch from Robinson to give Penn
State a 7-0 lead. He also scored from 5 yards out on an end-around
to give Penn State a 17-0 lead after lineman Charles Rush threw a
nice block to seal the edge.
Williams was mobbed in the end zone by teammates, then pumped
his arms as he jogged back to the sidelines and was greeted with
Williams, a freshman who was one of Paterno's prized offseason
recruits, plays mainly receiver but has been used in the backfield,
too, in Penn State's new-look offense.
Coming into the game, a lot of the hype about the offense had
been about the big-play, deep-passing ability. Williams, who
finished Saturday with six carries for 40 yards and four catches
for 32 yards, had a lot to do with that.
"We've got to find ways to get him the football, there's no
question about that," Paterno said.
Minnesota's offense was rarely in sync and was held to
three-and-outs on its first two drives. Penn State appeared to
solve the Gophers' vaunted zone blocking scheme and stuffed Maroney
on short gains for most of the day.
Maroney's 48 yards came on 16 carries. He had just 14 yards in
the first half.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny said the defense was stunting and
moving a lot against the Minnesota offensive line to throw them
The talk about Maroney and the Gophers' offense motivated Penn
State's, defensive tackle Jay Alford said.
"He just wasn't hitting the holes like he wanted to," Alford
The Gophers' scores came on a 48-yard touchdown catch by Ernie
Wheelwright and a 2-yard score off an end-around by Jakari Wallace.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Gophers were serenaded to
chants of "Overrated" from the loud crowd of 106,000 clad mostly
in blue and white.
One of Minnesota's best drives early was thwarted on a trick
play. Quarterback Bryan Cupito hit Wheelwright for a 14-yard gain
in a drive that moved the Gophers to the Penn State 32.
But two plays later, Maroney took a handoff and then attempted
to give it to Wallace on a reverse, but the ball was fumbled and
recovered by Penn State.
"We kind of live by the run and I guess if you don't run the
ball, you die by the run," Mason said.
Maroney's rushing total was his lowest since being held to 54
yards against Michigan State last year, when he split carries with
Marion Barber III.
After the game, a Minnesota official said Maroney wasn't
available to talk to reporters because he was "getting
treatment," though he did not specify what he was getting