Penn State plays its last game before taking a week off. This week they match-up against the #24 Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium. The grand old joint ought to be rocking because not only is it homecoming, but it’s also a student-driven whiteout. I don’t think its too much of a stretch to say this might be the best team that Penn State has faced to date.
The 5-0 Northwestern Wildcats return their dynamic playmaker, quarterback-wide receiver-running back extraordinaire, Kain Colter. He has pretty much done it all for the Wildcats thus far. Colter has accounted for 871 yards of total offense (37.3% – 131 receiving, 371 rushing, and 369 passing) of Northwestern’s 2333 offensive yards.
While Colter is a name that many are familiar with, the name Venric Mark should also be a name that you keep an eye on. The Northwestern running back leads the team in rushing with 538 yards on 101 carries (5.3 ypc).
While the Wildcats used to be a team that would spread you out, the dink and dunk you down the field, they have become much more reliant on their running game. The combination of Colter and Mark have led Northwestern to the 9th best rushing offense in the FBS to the tune of 255.8 ypg.
In order for Penn State to defeat this potent Northwestern Wildcats offense, they are going to have to control the time of possession, get off the field on third downs, win the turnover battle, and make their possessions on the plus side of the field count.
The likelihood of this game being rather high scoring is definitely there, but Penn State has the better defense and will try and make this as low scoring of a game as possible.
Continue reading to find out what factors I will be watching for this Saturday as Northwestern invades the confines of Beaver Stadium.