Every Saturday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart watches all the Big Ten action and offers his Snap Reactions. See his reactions to Michigan State and Penn State’s comeback victories over Indiana and Northwestern, respectively, in this post.
Matt McGloin had the go-ahead score with a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left and Penn State rallied from 11 points down in fourth quarter to beat No. 24 Northwestern 39-28 on Saturday. The Nittany Lions scored three times in the final 9:49, starting with McGloin’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson as the receiver dragged along the back line of the end zone.
Northwestern gained 72 yards on the ground in the third, and the Wildcats now lead Penn State, 28-17. Northwestern held Penn State to just 24 rushing yards in the quarter. The Wildcats have erupted for 14 straight points.
Trailing 10-0 early in the second quarter, Northwestern got on the board when Venric Mark pounded in a two-yard touchdown run to put a bow on an 18-yard drive. The Wildcats started in good field position when Northwestern recovered a muffed punt.
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.
Week 2 of Big Ten competition saw three hard-fought games that needed more than 90 minutes of play to be decided. It showed that there is not much separating each team in the conference and that many games are going to come down to one shot, one save, or one executed set piece. So, no matter the records, easy games are few and far between in the Big Ten with only two games having been decided by more than one goal so far.
You have Big Ten questions, and I have answers. In this week’s Mailbag, I offer my answers on when Northwestern and Purdue will start to get respect and how the Big Ten could fare this bowl season. And don’t be afraid to send questions for future Mailbags. Or you can send them my way on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart).