Check out our quarter-by-quarter recap, Powered by Narrative Science:
FINAL: Silas Redd and Devon Smith teamed up to lead No. 24 Penn State to a 34-24 victory over Northwestern on Saturday at Ryan Field. Redd ran for 164 yards and one touchdown. Smith caught six passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. Penn State’s (6-1) offense dominated, ripping off huge chunks of yardage. The Nittany Lions burned Northwestern’s (2-4) defense for five plays of more than 20 yards. With 5:57 to go in the first quarter, Matthew McGloin and Smith combined for a 45-yard touchdown, Penn State’s longest play on the day. The long touchdown gave the Nittany Lions a 14-7 lead. Kain Colter did his best to carry the Wildcats’ offense, turning nine carries into 51 rushing yards and one touchdown. Northwestern’s Dan Persa was good for 294 yards during the game, completing 26 of 34 passes. Persa finished the game with one touchdown and one interception. Persa had a good connection with receiver Colter. He caught six passes for 43 yards and one touchdown. The Wildcats’ offense finished the game having gained 406 yards, including 312 passing yards on 28 completions. Northwestern’s running game proved ineffective, netting 94 yards on 37 rushes. McGloin threw for 192 yards while completing 17 of 26 passes for Penn State. McGloin finished the game with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Nittany Lions racked up 391 total yards, including 192 yards passing while completing 17 of 27 attempts. Penn State also rushed 38 times for 199 yards.
FOURTH QUARTER: The fourth quarter was so slow, the teams combined for more punts than points, and Penn State kept the game out of reach for a 34-24 victory over Northwestern. Both teams saw their defenses make stands, forcing four punts in the quarter. The Nittany Lions held the Wildcats to negative rushing yardage (-10 yards) in the quarter.
THIRD QUARTER: In the third quarter, Penn State’s Silas Redd stood out. He ran for 35 yards and one touchdown and the Nittany Lions now lead 34-24. Penn State has scored 14 unanswered points. The Nittany Lions made their lead 34-24 when Redd turned a handoff into a 19-yard touchdown on the last play of a one-play, 19-yard drive. Gerald Hodges’ interception of a Dan Persa pass set Penn State up to start the drive. Northwestern’s Jeremy Ebert hit 100 yards receiving for the game in the quarter, part of his 109-yard, five-reception performance thus far. The Wildcats’ Persa hit 200 yards passing for the game in the quarter, part of his 266-yard passing performance thus far. The Nittany Lions’ Devon Smith topped 100 yards receiving for the game in the quarter, and has plenty of time to add to his 110 yards and six catches. Northwestern has possession at Penn State’s 46-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
SECOND QUARTER: Northwestern refuses to make things easy for Penn State, despite the Nittany Lions’ 27-24 lead at the end of the second. Anthony Fera kicked a 36-yard field goal to break the 14-14 tie in favor of Penn State. The play put a bow on a nine-play, 57-yard scoring drive. Kain Colter’s four-yard touchdown run gave the Wildcats the lead, 21-17, and was the final play of a seven-play, 75-yard drive. Northwestern used Colter’s 46-yard run to fuel the drive. The Nittany Lions finished off a 75-yard drive when Fera kicked a 33-yard field goal to make the score 21-20. The Wildcats opened up the lead, 24-20, after marching down the field for a nine-play, 72-yard drive that ended when Jeff Budzien drilled a 25-yard field goal. Northwestern’s drive was highlighted by Dan Persa’s 54-yard pass. The Wildcats ran just two times during that march downfield. Stephfon Green’s one-yard touchdown run finished off a seven-play, 63-yard drive and gave Penn State the lead, 27-24. The Nittany Lions’ drive was keyed by Silas Redd’s 42-yard run. Penn State capped a last-minute drive by scoring with six seconds left on the clock. The Nittany Lions’ scoring drive lasted 45 seconds. Penn State’s Redd hit 100 yards rushing for the game in the quarter, part of his 119-yard rushing performance thus far. Northwestern will have possession to start the second half.
FIRST QUARTER: Northwestern’s Dan Persa threw for 80 yards and one touchdown and ran for -3 yards and one touchdown in the quarter, and the two teams are tied 14-14 at the end of the first. The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a seven-play, 34-yard drive that ended in a score when Persa turned a quarterback sneak into a one-yard touchdown run. Northwestern started in good field position when the Wildcats recovered a fumble. No. 24 Penn State tied things up at seven when a 10-play, 44-yard drive ended after Matthew McGloin and Justin Brown combined for a four-yard touchdown. Chaz Powell’s big kickoff return set the Nittany Lions up to start the drive. A one-play, 45-yard scoring drive by Penn State snapped the 7-7 standoff, as McGloin threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Devon Smith. The Nittany Lions started in good field position when Penn State returned a punt. Northwestern tied the game at 14 after Persa tossed a 12-yard touchdown to Kain Colter to end a 10-play, 87-yard drive. The Nittany Lions will start the second quarter with possession at their own 48-yard line.