Northwestern (5-0) takes their undefeated recorded to Happy Valley for a noon kickoff on Saturday at Beaver Stadium against a hot Penn State team (3-2) coming off a solid road game performance against Univ. of Illinois.
Notes for Saturday’s game:
Homecoming — expect a lot more energy from the crowd than previous home games. Not only is it homecoming, but it’ll be the first B1G home game and the student section plans to organize a ‘white out’. Add this all on top of a 3 game winning streak and a Penn State team with confidence? You’ve got yourself a revitalized fan based.
Healthy roster — for the first time in a while, most if not all of the 1s and 2s are healthy.
Running back depth — at the beginning of the season, Penn State was struggling to find who would fill the hole with Silas Redd leaving. Surprisingly, a committee of running backs now fill the lineup, providing Penn State with of a variety of running styles. Belton, Day, Zwinak, Zordich, and Dukes could all have playing time on Saturday, depending on what the staff see during practice this week. Zordich stepped up big when Belton and Day were injured, but when he sat out with a leg injury, Zwinak came in as a hard-nosed North/South runner. It seems that the staff like the Belton/Zwinak combo, as they should. Belton provides a quick, receiver style back whereas Zwinak runs straight through you for short yardage.
1st quarter dominance — it’s impossible to ignore that Penn State has outscored their opponents 49-0 in the 1st quarter; however, expect Northwestern to come out hot.
Defense pressed to limit — the defense dominated against Illinois, but Northwestern brings with them a much more disciplined and electric offense, as displayed by their 700+ yard offense performance against Indiana this past Saturday. Granted it’s Indiana….but still, you have to respect any team that puts up those kind of numbers. And nearly 400 of those yards were rushing! Expect PSU defense to struggle a bit more than seen in previous games…
History favors PSU — Penn State is 12-3 overall against Northwestern, 7-1 at Beaver Stadium.
McGloin has led the Nittany Lions to back-to-back wins over Northwestern the last two seasons, throwing for 417 combined yards, 6 TDs, and no interception. It was in 2010, when McGloin came off the bench to throw for 225 yards and four touchdowns, rallying Penn State from a 21-0 deficit to a 35-21 victory, giving Paterno his 400th win.