It wasn’t too long ago that Penn State lost 16-17 to a mediocre Virginia team that included four missed field goals and an extra point. Many people would have never thought Penn State would suddenly flip a switch from that point on.
In a game that many people marked as an L for Penn State, the Nittany Lions scored 22 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to knock off #24 Northwestern 39-28 and win their fourth straight game. This win is also the first time since 2008 that Penn State has beaten a ranked opponent at Beaver Stadium.
Quarterback Matt McGloin had yet another impressive game this afternoon going 35-51 for 282 yards, 2 TDs and once again, no interceptions. McGloin also had the eventual game winning touchdown run to put the team up by 4 with less than three minutes to go.
Running back Zack Zwinak had another impressive game for the second week in a row 121 yards on 28 carries as well as a TD.
With 50 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter Northwestern’s Venric Mark, who had a rushing TD earlier in the game, returned an Alex Butterworth punt 75 yards for a touchdown to put the Wildcats up 28-17 heading into the 4th quarter.
After this, however, the Penn State offense got rolling. Matt McGloin hit his favorite receiver Allen Robinson for a 6 yard touchdown with 10 minutes left, and instead of kicking the extra point, Coach Bill O’Brien went for two and converted off a 2 yard Michael Zordich run. Then with 2:37 left to go, Quarterback Matt McGloin scrambled for his 5th rushing TD of the season to put the Nittany Lions up by four, and a minute later running back Michael Zordich pounded the ball into the endzone to seal the game 39-28.
The Penn State defense played solid all game holding the dangerous dual-threat Kain Colter to only 24 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving. After putting up a school record 704 total yards against Indiana last week, the Wildcats could only muster 247 total yards against a stingy Nittany Lions defense. Defensive leaders Michael Mauti had yet another solid performance and Gerald Hodges had a key forced fumble late in the 4th to ice the game.
This game marks the third straight year that Northwestern has blown a halftime lead to Penn State. The Wildcats will also have to wait until next year to try and start 6-0 for the first time since 1962.
Penn State (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) will have a bye next week and will face 3-2 (1-0) Iowa who routed Minnesota 31-13 last week on October 20th.
Northwestern, who will drop out of the top 25 after this loss, will host a scrappy 4-1 (0-1) Minnesota team at TCF Stadium next week.