UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Saquon Barkley broke through the Minnesota defense on Penn State’s first offensive snap in overtime, allowing the Nittany Lions to reclaim the Governor’s Victory Bell with a 29-26 win over the Golden Gophers in Big Ten football action Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
Penn State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) was also led by sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley, who accounted for 408 yards of total offense – 335 passing and 74 rushing – to mark the third-highest total in school history.
Minnesota (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) led 13-3 at halftime, but the Nittany Lions rallied with 17 points on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter. Minnesota fought back as running back Shannon Brooks broke free for 37 yards to tie the game with 13:29 to go, and Emmit Carpenter scored the go-ahead points with a 37-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining in regulation.
Penn State started at its own 25 after a touchback, and got rolling on third-and-10 on a 20-yard pass to Chris Godwin. A 7-yard reception by DeAndre Thompkins to the Minnesota 48 and a spike by McSorley stopped the clock with 20 seconds and setup third-and-3. The Nittany Lions looked to throw on the ensuing play, but the Gophers left the left side of the field open and McSorley scrambled for 26 yards out-of-bounds to the Minnesota 22 with 11 seconds remaining.
McSorley took one shot at the end zone, but his pass for Godwin fell incomplete. After a Minnesota timeout. Davis drilled a 40-yard field goal with two seconds remaining to force overtime.
Penn State won the coin toss and elected to play on defense first. Nittany Lion defensive end Evan Schwann sacked quarterback Mitch Leidner on second down for a 4-yard loss, and pressure from Garrett Sickels forced an incompletion and fourth down. Carpenter drilled a 46-yard field goal attempt down the middle to give Minnesota a 23-20 lead.
The lead was short-lived though, as Barkley found a hole, juked a Minnesota defender and outran the rest for a touchdown on Penn State’s first snap.
Penn State totaled 471 yards of total offense, it’s most since racking up an identical total against Rutgers in 2015.
Minnesota seemed to have all of the momentum heading into halftime after scoring 10 points in the final 2:06 of the second quarter. Both teams traded punts to start the third quarter, and then Penn State scored on its next three consecutive possessions. Wide receiver Irvin Charles broke a tackle for an 80-yard touchdown reception to cut the deficit to three, Tyler Davis connected on a 27-yard field goal to tie it, and then quarterback Trace McSorley used his feet on a 6-yard touchdown for Penn State’s first lead, 20-13, with 2:27 to go in the third quarter.
- QB Trace McSorley – McSorley connected on 19-of-41 pass attempts for a career-high 335 yards. He also had a team-high and career-high 73 on the ground on eight attempts.
- RB Saquon Barkley – Barkley rushed for 63 yards on 20 attempts. Minnesota contained him for much of the second half, but Barkley’s 25-yard touchdown run was his longest of the game and clinched the victory.
- TE Mike Gesicki – Gesicki finished with five catches for 73 yards, including a career-long 53-yard reception that setup McSorley’s third quarter touchdown run.
- WR Chris Godwin – Godwin caught four passes for 97 yards, with his biggest being a 36-yard reception to setup a third quarter field goal and a 20-yard reception Penn State’s game-tying drive in the final minute of the fourth.
- S Marcus Allen – Allen made a career-high 22 stops in the game, the most by a Penn State player since Paul Poslusznymade 22 stops at Northwestern in 2005.
- CB Jordan Smith – Smith earned his first career interception in the third quarter, picking off Leidner in the end zone. It was the first time this season Minnesota had broken into the red zone and failed to score.
- K Tyler Davis – Converted all three field goal attempts, matching his season high of 40 yards to force overtime. He has now made 17 consecutive field goals for a Penn State record.
- QB Mitch Leidner – Leidner completed 24-of-40 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown.
- WR Brian Smith – Smith caught seven passes for 101 yards.
- WR Drew Wolitarsky – Wolitarsky caught seven passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
- RBs Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith – Brooks and Smith both broke 100 yards rushing each. Smith rushed for 104 yards on 23 carries, and Smith rushed for 100 yards on 14 carries and found the end zone once.