Despite somewhat of a rocky start for the Lions, who grabbed just three points in the first quarter thanks to kicker Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) (but also maintained their pristine record of not allowing any points on them in the first quarter - the only team in FBS to do so), mounted a classic Penn State halftime comeback and rallied to finish the game strong with a 31-7 win over Northwestern.
In the first half of the game, usual standout Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) was held to -1 rushing yards, a first for him this season.
It was backup quarterback Tommy Stevens (Indianapolis, Ind.) who really got the ball rolling when he scored the team’s first touchdown of the game.
Stevens lined up as a running back and then received a perfect pass from quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) to lock in a 10-0 lead just before halftime.
More battles at the line of scrimmage made for a rather stagnant start to the second half, with Penn State not its usual explosive self and Northwestern appearing to pick up some steam.
The Wildcats never made it into the Nittany Lion’s end zone, and it was Barkley who struck twice before the fourth quarter to solidify the squad’s lead over Northwestern.
After 10 plays for 66 yards, Barkley made the one yard run into the end zone with just over nine minutes to go to boost the Lions to 17-0.
Just seven minutes later, Barkley made an epic 53 yard run, besting at least five of Northwestern’s defenders, and carried the ball safely into the end zone to up the ante to 24-0.
Our own scrappy quarterback McSorley made the move to get Penn State its final points. McSorley saw an opening just five yards from the end zone and took his chance, scoring the final touchdown of the game for the Nittany Lions.
Northwestern snuck in a single touchdown with under two minutes to go, but were unable to even come close to orchestrating a comeback in the second quarter.
This game marks the 13th straight game in which Barkley has logged a touchdown, and he is now 7th in program history with 234 points to his name.
For McSorley, this game noted the 21st consecutive game in which McSorley has thrown a touchdown pass, and the quarterback broke Penn State’s record by throwing 15 straight pass completions from the first to the third quarter in this game.
No. 3 Penn State has its work cut out for them this week as they host No. 17 and notorious rival Michigan with a TBA kickoff time at Beaver Stadium this Saturday. No official word yet, but you can bet Coach Franklin will call for a whiteout.
Will we see you out there this weekend for one of the biggest Big Ten games of the year, Nittany Nation?