The Nittany Lions did that four times in the first half, as place-kicker Collin Wagner made two boots, missed one attempt and pooch-punted on a fourth. Penn State just couldn't punch the ball into the end zone despite holding a commanding time-of-possession advantage.
But that all changed thanks to receiver Derek Moye's left foot. With time winding down in the first half, Moye made a great catch for a score -- dragging the foot inbounds while he stretched beyond the boundary to make the catch -- and the No. 13 Lions would go on to win 20-0 while improving to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.
On second-and-goal at the Minnesota 12-yard-line with 35 seconds left before the break, quarterback Daryll Clark found Moye to his far right. Moye made the TD catch, which was initially ruled out of bounds but later overturned on video replay.
“Him using his long arms and everything, he stretched out and got the foot down and made the catch,” Clark said. “He ran right back to me and told me 'I got my foot down, I think we scored. ' ”
Moye didn't say anything to the official who originally called the pass incomplete.
“I kinda looked at him, gave him a little glare,” Moye said. “I didn't say anything.”
The call for review came from the official in the press box.
The catch gave Penn State a 13-0 lead going into halftime and a dose of offensive momentum on a day when the defense was dominating.
“For us to go down a couple of times and have opportunities to score touchdowns, they have to be touchdowns,” said Clark, who was 21 of 32 for 287 yards.
Despite cold, wet conditions, Moye put up his second 100-yard receiving day of the season. In the opener against Akron, he caught six balls for 138 yards and a touchdown. Saturday, his performance nearly mirrored that -- six catches, 120 yards and a touchdown.
“We had high hopes for him and he's doing well,” head coach Joe Paterno said. “Each week he gets better. He blocks well and is a big man. He's got the makings of a real good one.”
The Nittany Lions dominated in every single offensive category. Penn State ran 75 plays compared to Minnesota's 40.
Perhaps the biggest sign of Penn State's offensive control Saturday was time of possession: The Nittany Lions held the ball for almost 42 minutes, while Minnesota had 18:01 of offensive time.
The time of possession difference was partly attributed to Evan Royster. The tailback rushed for 137 yards on 23 carries, which was one yard fewer than Minnesota's total offensive output.
It was the ninth time Royster has surpassed the 100-yard mark in a game, and Penn State is undefeated in those games.
“Whenever a team's not the best tacklers, it feels like you're running good,” Royster said. “There were a lot of times where I thought I'd be down and squirted through.”
Much of the talk coming into Saturday's game was about Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker. Decker caught just one ball for 42 yards. It was Moye who was a big, game-changing receiver on Saturday, not Decker. The hoopla surrounding Decker did not motivate Moye.
“He's a good player and our defense did a good job against him, but that has nothing to do with me,” he said.