Category Archives: NCAA Football
After falling into a 21-0 hole late in the first half, the quest for Joe Paterno’s 400th win wasn’t looking good.
The Penn State Nittany Lions came out flat at home against the Northwestern Wildcats at home and fell behind early.
Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa led Northwestern down the field on an opening 74-yard touchdown drive to put his team up 7-0 before anyone could blink.
Robert Bolden struggled for the Nittany Lions including coughing up a fumble which was recovered by Northwestern. On the next possession, Bolden was replaced by sophomore Matt McGloin.
Before Penn State could even muster any offense, Northwestern had a 21-0 lead off another Persa rushing touchdown and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Drake Dunsmore.
Dunsmore’s catch was one-handed in the back of end zone and is definitely one of the most incredible plays of the year so far.
Nearing halftime, McGloin and the Nittany Lions had to put some points on the board if they wanted to stay in the ballgame.
McGloin was able to get the Nittany Lions into the red zone before he hit Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone to make it 21-7 at halftime.
On their opening possession of the second half, Penn State broke out the running game. Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains over 10 yards on the drive.
The drive ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.
Suddenly the Nittany Lions had all the momentum and were only down 21-14 with very much of the game still to be played.
McGloin engineered a beautiful 91-yard drive which featured 20-yard passes to fullback Joe Suhey and wide receiver Graham Zug. It was completed with McGloin finding Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7 entering halftime.
Penn State came out in the second half featuring its talented running game. On their first possession, Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains of ten-plus yards.
The drive ended with a touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.
Suddenly Penn State was only down 21-14 and had all the momentum.
The Nittany Lion held Northwestern to a three-and-out and McGloin hit Derek Moye for a 36-yard touchdown on their next drive to tie the game with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Penn State’s defense was incredibly strong in the second half. They forced Northwestern to another three-and-out and got the ball back late in the third quarter.
Silas Redd capped off another nice drive with a nice touchdown run where he deked out a Wildcat defender to get into the end zone.
The Nittany Lions came all the way back from being down 21-0 nothing to scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 28-21 lead.
Penn State kept the momentum going with a 13-yard touchdown from McGloin to Royster to put the game out of reach.
The Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 35-21 to win their third straight game and climb back into the Big Ten conference race.
The real test will come next week when McGloin and the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Paterno has finally achieved his 400th college football victory. It is likely the only time such a feat will be achieved.
When asked what he kept him coaching throughout his 60 years of coaching, he said “the money.”
PSU: 2010 record – 3-3
MN: 2010 record – 1-6
Spread: Penn State by 8
Where: TCF Bank Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPNU
Last time met: Oct. 17, 2009 – Evan Royster ran for 137 yards and Darryl threw for 287 yards and a touchdown in a 20-0 win.
Opposing player to watch – QB Adam Weber: Weber is one of the few bright spots for a dismal Golden Gopher football team. He has thrown 14 touchdowns while only tossing six interceptions this season. He has been effective despite not having many playmakers to help him out. Minnesota has lost six straight games and Weber may be their only chance to avoid another loss.
Offense: This could be a breakout game for Robert Bolden. He has struggled at times and has had trouble finding the end zone. Minnesota ranks last in the Big Ten in sacks and that should give Bolden plenty of times to hook up with his receivers. Evan Royster hasn’t been very consistent this season and could use a great game. He torched the Golden Gophers last year and could do the very same once again. Derek Moye and Devon Smith are two huge playmakers that Bolden could be looking for throughout the game. It would be nice to see Smith more involved in the offense. This game also could show more of freshman running back Silas Redd. Redd hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impact this year. He has shown brilliance in flashes and could get some time in mop up duty.
Defense: The Nittany Lions have struggled against Iowa and Illinois in the last few weeks. They have had a week off to try and make some adjustments for the remainder of the season. They will have an easier task today against a Minnesota squad without many playmakers. This should be a game where Penn State pressures the quarterback and forces some turnovers. I’d like to see more out of the pass rush this afternoon. It will also be interesting to see how they respond without their defensive leader Nick Sukay. The loss of Sukay for the season is absolutely devastating for a team that doesn’t get many turnovers as it is. This could be a chance for the youngsters to step it up and show their skills.
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, CB Nick Sukay (Torn pectoral) *Out for the season, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Illinois: S Kim Royston (broken bones in leg) *Could miss a few more weeks
Prediction: Penn State runs over a bad Minnesota team and Bolden shows he’s going to be a big-time player. Nittany Lions roll 38-13
PSU: 2010 record – 3-1
IOWA: 2010 record – 3-1
Spread: Iowa by 7
Where: Kinnick Stadium
When: Saturday, 8:05 PM on ESPN
Last time met: Sept. 6, 2009 – Penn State was upset again by the Hawkeyes 21-10. The Hawkeyes blocked a Jeremy Boone punt and Adrian Clayborn ran it in for a late Iowa touchdown.
Opposing player to watch – RB Adam Robinson: Robinson is having a great year so far averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He gashed Penn State for 88 yards and a touchdown in last year’s contest. Robinson has carried for over 100 yards in three out of four Iowa games this season. He is a very small back but has a good amount of power and always keeps his legs moving. Robinson could pose a problem once again for the Nittany Lions front seven.
Offenses: Penn State’s red zone efficiency was a huge problem last Saturday against Temple. Robert Bolden drove the Nittany Lions deep into Temple territory many times during the game. Following the Youngstown State game, Penn State has only scored in two out of their last 11 red zone trips. The offense has plenty of talent to put the ball into the end zone. Evan Royster showed the nation that he is still one of the best backs in the country. Royster ripped off 187 rushing yards on the Temple Owls defense. Brett Brackett and Derek Moye have also been huge so far this season. The duo combined for eight catches last week. However the offense only managed one touchdown last week, coming on goal line carry by fullback Michael Zordich.
The Iowa offense has put some a lot of points this season. In their first four games this season, the Hawkeyes have scored 144 points. Ricky Stanzi has looked great and is back on top of his game. Stanzi has thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception so far. Now three of these games were against the likes of Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, and Ball State. Stanzi threw three touchdowns and one interception in their only challenging game against Arizona. The Hawkeyes fell short but Stanzi was certainly not the reason for that. Adam Robinson will have to have a big game if the Hawkeyes want to upend the Nittany Lions again. The Hawkeyes also have a nice receiver trio of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Allen Reisner, and Marvin McNutt. The trio has combined for 41 catches and six touchdowns this season. They benefit from the elevated play of Stanzi.
Advantage: Iowa has the advantage in the passing game due to Stanzi being a veteran signal caller. Both teams have good running games but the Hawkeyes have a slight edge overall.
Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense gave up two touchdowns to Bernard Pierce last Saturday and didn’t play very well overall. Penn State is giving up about 155 passing yards per game this season. The defense will be challenged this week facing a good signal caller in Stanzi. The Nittany Lion defense challenged Temple quarterback Chester Stewart to beat them with his arm last week. It resulted in a late interception for Penn State and led them to the victory. They are fourth in the Big Ten in sacks with seven. Getting pressure on Stanzi will be a huge key for the Nittany Lions this week. Jack Crawford and Ollie Ogbu will have to be active for the defense to be effective.
The Hawkeyes are coming off a shutout but it was against Ball State. They have only given up four touchdowns so far this season and an average 227 yards per game. As the same for the Nittany Lions, the Hawkeyes haven’t faced a very high level of competition. They are tied with Penn State for fifth in the Big Ten in interceptions with five. The Hawkeyes always have a solid defense that gives Penn State problems. Penn State will have to watch out for senior Adrian Clayborn on the defensive line. Clayborn was huge for the Hawkeyes in last year’s contest. The last two years they have upset Penn State and ruined their National Championship hopes. This has been behind a strong defense that stifled former quarterback Darryl Clark. It will be interesting to see how Bolden performs under the lights at Kinnick Stadium.
Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge with a very effective pass rush. Pressure on Stanzi will be a very big key.
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season
Alabama: K Dan Murray (hip flexor) *Could play on Saturday
Prediction: Penn State finally shrugs off the past disappointments against Iowa and wins a close battle 24-20.