Another year, another close call victory over Northwestern. Last year, Penn State went into halftime with a 27-24 lead in a game that would only see 7 more points scored in the game. In 2010, it was a 0-21 deficit that McGloin helped erase in the 2nd half. Today, McGloin led his team from behind again-an 11 point 4th quarter deficit.
Penn State used aggressive play calling, going for it on 6 different 4th down opportunities. They converted 5 of them, none bigger than the 4th and 2 from the 19 with about 4 minutes to play. Down by 3, a field goal there would have tied the game. A turnover on downs may have sealed it for the Wildcats. However, Bill O’Brien said that field position and ball location dictated an attempt-a no-huddle pass play. McGloin completed a 13 yard pass to Brandon Moseby-Felder and Penn State scored three plays later on a Matt McGloin scramble.
The Penn State defense played spectacular, once again. While Northwestern scored 28 points, that’s not a clear definition of how the defense played. Northwestern scored on a punt return and had another touchdown set up by a muffed PSU punt inside the 20. Another touchdown followed the phantom pass interference call on Stephon Morris on a 3rd down. Northwestern came into today with the 9th best rushing attack in the country, averaging 255 yards per game. They were held to 112 today, with only 24 coming from Kain Colter. They gained just 247 total yards and had 14 first downs.
Penn State held Northwestern to just 61 offensive plays-well below their season average. They did that by holding the Cats to 4-13 conversion rate on 3rd down and maintaining a 39:17 – 20:43 time of possession edge.
Matt McGloin had another strong showing, despite some issues in the 2nd quarter. He finished 31-51 (60.8%) for 282 yards. More importantly, he was 13-15 in the fourth quarter with a passing touchdown and the go-ahead score on the ground. Zach Zwinak added another tremendous performance with 121 yards on 24 carries and 6 catches for an additional 52 yards. He has 315 yards in the last 3 weeks. As for Allen Robinson, just another day at the office. The breakout wide receiver had 9 catches for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s his third game with at least 9 catches and his 5th game of 80+ yards. He now has 7 touchdowns on the year.
“Our coaches did a great job of giving putting together our tips and reminders and giving us everything that we needed to be successful. There were times when coach Roof made a defensive call based on what we saw on film and went over on film and it was the exact play that we saw in practice.”
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