College Football

26
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
10 3 6 7 26
14 10 0 7 31
31
9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET5:00 PM GMT1:00 AM 北京时间10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST, Nov. 9, 2019
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 51,883

Penn St.-Minnesota Preview

Penn State Nittany Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  1. This is the first Big Ten game where both teams are 8-0 or better since No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan, 42-39, on November 18, 2006. Both Michigan and Ohio State were 11-0 entering that game. The last time Minnesota beat an AP Top 5 team was No. 2 Penn State on November 6, 1999 (24-23).
  2. Penn State is 8-0 for the first time since 2008 after a 28-7 win at Michigan State on October 26. The Nittany Lions have outscored their opponents on the road, 104-19, second best by any FBS team in their first three road games this season behind Ohio State (+131).
  3. With four pass TDs against Michigan State, Sean Clifford now has 20 passing touchdowns on the season, most by a Nittany Lion in the team's first eight games in the last 20 seasons. His 9.3 touchdown percentage this season is on pace to be the highest by a qualified QB in school history.
  4. Minnesota is 8-0 for the first time since its 8-0 national championship season in 1941. The Golden Gophers have held their opponents to 10 or fewer points in three straight games, something they have not done in a single season since September 4-18, 1999.
  5. Rodney Smith has rushed for at least 100 yards in five straight games, longest streak by a Golden Gopher in a season since Laurence Maroney had six straight such games in 2004. With 3848 career rushing yards, he needs 86 more yards to pass Maroney for second on Minnesota's all-time rushing list (Darrell Thompson is first with 4654).
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The college football spotlight this weekend has been aimed at Alabama, where LSU's visit will mark the first regular-season meeting of the top two teams in the Associated Press poll since those same teams played eight years ago.

There is quite the undercard on the schedule, too, another matchup of unbeaten teams that will be staged, believe it or not, in Minnesota: When No. 5 Penn State visits TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, No. 13 Minnesota will take part for the first time in 15 years in a game with both sides ranked in the top 15.

"You've got P.J. Fleck in his third year trying to get these guys to really believe, `Hey, this is what we can do. You guys have bought into the offseason program, and we can win games, and now look at us. We're undefeated, and we're playing Penn State, and everybody's talking about us. This is who we are. This is your new Minnesota,'" said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, before raving about James Franklin's six seasons of work reviving a long-time power: "Penn State's brand is back."

The outcome will have a significant impact on the Big Ten championship chase. The Nittany Lions (8-0, 5-0, No. 4 CFP) are tied with Ohio State for first place in the East Division two weeks ahead of a showdown against the Buckeyes, and the Golden Gophers (8-0, 5-0, No. 17 CFP) have a two-game lead on Iowa and Wisconsin in the West Division with the Hawkeyes and Badgers facing each other on Saturday.

The College Football Playoff field will be influenced, too, with Penn State landing in the top four in the first edition of the rankings. True to form for their profession, however, Fleck and Franklin have each taken the one-game-at-a-time mentality to the extreme, insisting on the isolated goal of going 1-0 this week.

"It just takes a lot of stress off you," Penn State running back Journey Brown said. "You don't have to worry about the future. You don't have to worry about what happened before. You focus on what's coming up."

The Nittany Lions, whose last national championship was in 1986, have yet to be selected for the four-team playoff. They won the Big Ten title in 2016, though, presenting the Gophers a program to strive for.

"We're on our way to building that in terms of restoring our tradition from the past to the present," Fleck said, later adding: "You earned the right for a big game because of what you've done. The only way to continue to have that is keep having success in these big games, big moments."

CROWD PLEASING

Minnesota declared a sellout of its 50,850-seat facility, the first capacity crowd in 27 games since the 2015 season finale against Wisconsin (52,850). The announced attendance for November home games last year for the Gophers was just 31,068 (Purdue) and 32,134 (Northwestern).

CALL HIM, NOT ME

Despite his status at a prominent program, Franklin's name often lands on the speculative lists of candidates for vacancies, real or expected, that emerge with other powers around the country. Florida State became the latest example, after the recent firing there. Franklin slyly steered the subject at his news conference this week toward his counterpart and friend, Fleck, who also surfaced as a person of interest for the Seminoles.

"I've also heard P.J.'s name mentioned a bunch, so you guys could spend a lot of time calling him and talking to him," Franklin said.

Fleck signed a contract extension through 2026 about two hours later.

"What we're building here, it's just really exciting," quarterback Tanner Morgan said.

SHELTON SHELVED

Penn State's starting front four will be down one Saturday as junior defensive tackle Antonio Shelton serves a one-game suspension. He spit at a Michigan State player in the fourth quarter at Michigan State on Oct. 26, when he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and ejected from the game. Sophomore P.J. Mustipher is listed as the starter for this week.

HARDWARE TO STORE

Minnesota has rich rivalries with border-state foes Iowa and Wisconsin and a trophy game with Michigan, matchups that have each been staged more than 80 times. The Gophers have a newer prize to play for against Penn State, too, the much-less-celebrated Governor's Victory Bell that the Nittany Lions repossessed with a 29-26 overtime win in their last meeting in 2016 to take a 9-5 lead in the series.

The Gophers grabbed it after a 24-10 victory at home in 2013, a little too hard, actually. The trophy came apart when the boisterous players tried to hoist it in too many different directions, needing some repair. The governors of Minnesota and Pennsylvania commissioned the hardware in 1993, when the Gophers were the opponent for the inaugural Big Ten game for the Nittany Lions.

POINTS ON THE BOARD

Minnesota has outscored conference foes 206-72 and posted 28 points or more in all eight games, the first such streak by the Gophers since 1904 when they still had high school teams on the schedule. Penn State has allowed just 77 points, the second-fewest in the FBS.

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More AP college football coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Updated November 8, 2019

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