1st Quarter Recap: Penn State 3, Northwestern 0
Penn State held No. 22 Northwestern to 12 total yards during the first quarter and the Nittany Lions lead 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Penn State scored when Sam Ficken made a 21-yard field goal to cap off a 12-play, 41-yard drive, giving the Nittany Lions the game’s first lead.
Penn State had to settle for a field goal after failing to reach the endzone from the Wildcats’ four-yard line.
The Nittany Lions will start the second quarter with the ball on Northwestern’s 43-yard line.
Here’s more from BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart:
Player on the spot: Penn State QB Matt McGloin. The senior has emerged as the heart and soul of this Nittany Lions squad, pacing the Big Ten in passing yards (1,217) and ranking second in touchdown passes (10). And McGloin will work against a Wildcat defense that is last in the Big Ten vs. the pass (289.0 ypg). Hmmm. If McGloin—who has great chemistry with wideout Allen Robinson and his tight ends–has a big game, Penn State may roll.
Key matchup: Northwestern QBs Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter vs. Penn State front seven. This should be as entertaining as any matchup of the day, as both units are playing well. The Wildcats are deftly employing two quarterbacks, using the strengths of each with Siemian passing and Colter running. Colter also lines up at receiver and is as versatile an athlete as you will see for an attack that had a school single-game record 704 yards of offense last week. Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti is coming off national defensive player of the week honors following a sterling effort at Illinois. He teams with Gerald Hodges and Glenn Carson to form a strong linebacker corps that must mute the Northwestern signal-callers in the Wildcats’ spread/up-tempo attack.
Key number: 9, first-half points allowed by Penn State. And all of those have come on field goals. And Penn State–which is No. 1 in the Big Ten turnover margin–has outscored foes, 49-0, in the first quarter.
Key note: 90.0, yards rushing per game Northwestern is allowing. That’s No. 1 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats must continue to stuff the run vs. a Penn State offense that has seen its rushing game come to life the last two weeks in gaining 173 yards vs. Temple and Illinois.
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