STATE COLLEGE, PA. – Quarterback Tanner Morgan, who had started 45 consecutive games for the Gophers, missed Saturday night's game at No. 16 Penn State because of a head injury suffered the previous week at Illinois.

Redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis, who finished the game at Illinois, made his first career start in the frenzied atmosphere of an expected 107,000 at Beaver Stadium during Penn State's "White Out" game, completing nine of 22 passes with one touchdown and an interception in a 45-17 loss.

Morgan participated in early pregame warmups but returned to the full-padded warmups wearing his jersey and sweatpants.

Morgan was injured when he took a hit to the head in the fourth quarter at Illinois and did not return to the game. He was evaluated at a local hospital and returned to Minnesota on the team flight. On Monday, coach P.J. Fleck said Morgan "woke up Sunday and surprisingly felt really good.'' Morgan was expected to attend practice this week, Fleck said, but didn't reveal to what degree the quarterback would participate.

Kaliakmanis completed two of six passes for 17 yards with two interceptions in relief of Morgan last week. For the season, the Antioch, Ill., native was 5-for-11 for 84 yards and had rushed seven times for 5 yards entering Saturday.

A little diplomacy

Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi grew up in Pittsburgh and attended Central Catholic High School. He had teammates who played at both Pittsburgh and Penn State, and this week he was asked if he was a Pitt fan or Penn State fan as a youth.

"When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, most of the city was Pitt [fans], but some were Penn State,'' he said. "At that time, Penn State was probably having more success than Pitt. But it was kind of cool when those two teams would play each other.''

As for his preference? "I was a Steeler guy, to answer your question,'' Rossi said. "I'll take the third option.''


  • Wide receiver Dylan Wright did not make the trip, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Star Tribune. Wright was targeted three times last week against Illinois but did not make a catch. The Texas A&M transfer has seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown this season.
  • With 102 yards on 30 carries, Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim extended his FBS-best streak of 100 or more rushing yards to 15 games. His streak is the longest in FBS since Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott had a 15-game streak during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
  • Ibrahim's second-quarter touchdown Saturday was the 43rd of his career, tying Darrell Thompson for the school record for total TDs.
  • The Gophers entered Saturday with a 11-game road losing streak against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Their last road victory over a ranked team came Nov. 22, 2014, 28-24 at No. 21 Nebraska.
  • Patt Evans, who played tight end for the Gophers from 1989 to '91, gave the speech at Saturday's captains' breakfast. Evans is a Swarthmore, Pa., native.