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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., October 17, 2009 - Penn State delivered its 40th shutout under Joe Paterno, shutting down Minnesota to post a 20-0 Homecoming victory today in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions improved to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten, winning for the 48th time in their last 60 games. Penn State limited Minnesota to just seven first downs, 37 rushing yards and 138 total yards.
The shutout was the first by the Nittany Lions since winning at Temple, 31-0, in 2007. It was Penn State's first shutout in a Big Ten game since winning at Purdue, 12-0, in 2006, and was the first shutout in a Big Ten home game since defeating Northwestern, 49-0, on Homecoming in 2002.
The Penn State defense has not allowed a first-half touchdown yet this season and only five touchdowns overall. The Nittany Lions have held five of their first seven opponents to seven points or less for the first time since the 1973 team held six of its initial seven opponents to seven points or fewer.
Penn State's posted 41:59 in time of possession, its most since having 42:01 against Brigham Young in 1991. The Nittany Lions gained 464 yards, with 287 passing yards from Daryll Clark and 177 rushing yards, led by Evan Royster with 137. Penn State did not have a turnover for the first time this season, despite the cold, wet conditions. The high temperature did not crack 40 degrees, marking the coldest Homecoming in the Paterno era.
Penn State had a season-high eight plays of at least 20 yards. The Nittany Lions had seven last week against Eastern Illinois and have 34 plays of 20 yards or more for the season.
Senior quarterback Daryll Clark was outstanding, going 21 of 32 for 287 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. The passing yardage total was the third-highest of his career. Clark delivered his 10th career 200-yard passing game, as Penn State improved to 9-1 in games when Clark passes for 200 yards or more.
Sophomore wide receiver Derek Moye had a tremendous game, tying his career-high with six catches and making a superlative touchdown catch with :35 in the first half for a 13-0 lead. Moye earned his second career 100-yard receiving game with his six catches for 120 yards. He had six grabs for 138 yards in the season opener with Akron.
Royster recorded his ninth career 100-yard rushing game and his third of the season, finishing with 137 yards on 23 carries (6.0). Penn State is 9-0 when Royster rushes for more than 100 yards. Royster moved into 12th place in the Nittany Lion annals with 2,390 career rushing yards.
Penn State allowed only seven first downs, tied for 10th lowest in the Joe Paterno era. It was the fewest first downs allowed by the Nittany Lions since Penn State gave up six to Indiana last season. Minnesota's 40 plays were the fewest by a Penn State opponent since at least the 1977 season.
The 138 yards given up by Penn State is the lowest total offense by an opponent since Temple had 138 yards last season. The 138 yards are season low for Minnesota.
The Nittany Lions recorded five tackles-for-loss, led by junior linebacker Navorro Bowman with 2.0 TFL for (minus-4) yards and senior defensive tackle Jared Odrick who had 1.5 TFL for (minus-12) yards, including a sack for (minus-11 yards). Bowman led the Lions with eight tackles and teamed with A.J. Wallace on a huge play in the fourth quarter. Senior linebacker Josh Hull made six stops and grabbed his second interception of the season. Odrick had four stops.
Penn State limited the Big Ten's leading receiver, Eric Decker, to one reception for 42 yards. He entered the contest averaging 7.6 catches for 114.8 yards per game. Senior cornerback A.J. Wallace made four stops, including the initial hit on Kevin Whaley at the Penn State one-yard-line on fourth-and-goal in the final period.
Senior co-captain Sean Lee had two tackles in his first action in four games, tying him with Brandon Short for eighth place on the school career tackle list with 273. John Skorupan and Shane Conlan are tied for sixth place with 274 tackles.
Penn State took a 3-0 lead on its second possession of the game. 26-yard run by Royster took the ball to the Minnesota 30. Collin Wagner came in and connected on a career-long 47-yard field goal with 8:08 left in the opening stanza. The Nittany Lions forced another punt and Wagner connected on a 27-yard field goal to extend the lead to 6-0 with 14:55 left in the second half.
Penn State took possession at its own nine-yard-line and proceeded to march 91 in the waning minutes to take a 13-0 lead. Clark connected with Zug for 16 yards and Moye for 26 yards to midfield. On third and six from the UM 46, Quarless hauled in a 25-yard catch and run. On third and goal from the UM 12, Clark fired a strike to Moye, who got one foot down in the end zone as he was falling out of bounds. The play was initially ruled incomplete, but the called was overturned after video review. Wagner's PAT attempt made it 13-0 with :35 left in the half.
The Golden Gophers ran the ball once and went to locker room, as Penn State extended its season-long streak of not allowing a first half touchdown.
Penn State took its second possession of the second half 85 yards on a monster scoring drive that consumed 7:56. Completions of 15 yards to Chaz Powell and 20 yards to Zug sandwiched a 23-yard run by Royster as big plays on the drive. Clark's one-yard run made it 20-0 with 1:41 left in the third quarter. Penn State improved to 65-20-5 in Homecoming games all-time; 39-5 under Paterno.
Penn State hits the road the next two weeks, visiting Michigan on Oct. 24. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and will be regionally televised by ABC (ESPN outside ABC coverage area) and heard on the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com The Wolverines are 5-2 (1-2 in Big Ten) after defeating Delaware State, 63-6, today.
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