Penn State-Minnesota wrap-up: A look at the Lions who stood out in PSU’s first loss of the season
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A 31-26 loss at Minnesota means this will be a relatively short list of Penn State standouts. The 8-1 Lions started slow and fell behind by 11 at halftime. A spirited comeback fell a play or two short. Too many mistakes. Too many big plays by Minnesota’s offense. Kudos to PJ Fleck and his Gophers for getting to 9-0 this season.
But this is a Penn State list, and I’ve only got four names for you today.
Pat Freiermuth. Minnesota’s secondary had its moments, as evidenced by three interceptions. But Freiermuth, the Lions’ second-year tight end, was a rough matchup for the hosts. He caught seven passes for 101 yards with a long gain of 20. The Lions probably should have gone to him more often.
Journey Brown. With Noah Cain sidelined with a bum ankle, Brown took over the lead role and responded with 124 yards on 14 carries. Brown ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run in the first half and he also had a 17-yard reception. Quarterback Sean Clifford was the Lions’ second-leading rusher with 39 yards on 10 carries.
Micah Parsons. The Lions actually did a decent job against the run, holding Minnesota to 121 yards on 40 attempts. Rodney Smith averaged just 2.8 yards on 18 attempts. PSU’s linebackers were active when they knew the run was coming and Parsons, suspended for the opening series, finished with 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and he had Penn State’s lone sack.
KJ Hamler. PSU’s top playmaker finished with a team-high 119 receiving yards on seven receptions. He also opened up a few things for some other players. Hamler was open on Sean Clifford’s final throw, in the end zone, but the ball was behind him and Minnesota defensive back Jordan Howden intercepted to seal the Lions’ fate.
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