Date/Time: Oct. 22, 2022 / 6:30 p.m. CT
Site: University Park, Pa.
Stadium: Beaver Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass
Series Overall: Minnesota Trails 6-9
Streak: Minnesota Won 1
Series in Pennsylvania: Minnesota Trails 2-5
Streak: Minnesota Lost 3
Last Meeting: Minnesota won 31-26 in Minneapolis (11/9/19)
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1. Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, RV/NR Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 B1G) stays on the road for the second straight week with a visit to No. 16/16 Penn State (5-1, 2-1) Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
2. Saturday marks the 16th battle for the Governor’s Victory Bell. First played for in 1993 in recognition of Penn State’s first Big Ten game, the all-time series record for the Bell is tilted in the Nittany Lions’ favor at 9-6. The Bell is currently in Minnesota’s possession following a 31-26 victory in 2019. The Gophers are looking for consecutive wins in the series for the first time since winning four straight from 1999-04.
3. Minnesota boasts one of the best defenses in the nation under defensive coordinator Joe Rossi. The Golden Gophers rank sixth in the country by allowing 263.7 total yards per contest. They also have the No. 4 defense in terms of scoring (11.7 ppg) and fifth-ranked unit for passing yards allowed (159.2), as well as the No. 20 rush defense (104.5). Minnesota joins Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Syracuse as the only teams in the nation that rank in the top 20 of each of those categories. Minnesota has allowed 70 points through its first six games, its fewest since yielding 55 through six games in 1999 and second fewest since giving up 44 through six games in 1967. The Gophers have outscored opponents 207-70 this year, for a scoring differential of +137 that is their best through six games since 2003 (+167) and third best overall since 1934.
4. With Penn State ranked 16th, Saturday marks the second straight game that Minnesota is facing an AP Top-25 opponent on the road after playing at No. 24 Illinois last week. It’s the first time since 2016 that the Gophers will play consecutive road games against ranked teams. Minnesota is 2-5 all-time against the Nittany Lions when they are ranked, with one of those wins coming in the most recent matchup between the schools, a 31-26 victory in Minneapolis in 2019. The other was one of the most notable wins in program history when unranked Minnesota took down then-No. 2 Penn State in State College, 24-23, in 1999. (more info on Page 3). The Gophers are looking to snap an 11-game losing streak to ranked opponents on the road, last winning at then-No. 21 Nebraska in 2014.
5. The 2022 campaign is the sixth for head coach P.J. Fleck at Minnesota, where he holds a record of 39-25. He is already tied for fifth in program history for wins, sixth in Big Ten wins (22), and is seventh in games coached (64). Fleck’s .609 win percentage is third best among the 11 Minnesota coaches with at least 45 games under their helm behind only Henry L. Williams (.786, 1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (.716, 1932-41, ’45-50). A win Saturday would make Fleck the fifth coach at Minnesota to reach 40 wins and he is on track to do it in the third fewest games (65). In his 10th season overall as a college head coach, Fleck is 69-47 (.595).
Gopher linebacker Cody Lindenberg of Anoka spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports