2011 Penn State Football

Big Ten football fans

Penn State @ Northwestern Football Recap

Penn State 34, Northwestern 24



The more things change, the more they stay the same. Penn State has fielded a decidedly limited and unmistakably mediocre offense the last two college football seasons, but when Joe Paterno’s team plays Northwestern’s defense, the boys from Happy Valley are regularly able to change their tune by lighting up the scoreboard. Penn State and Northwestern posted far more points than anyone expected in their 2010 encounter, and the same thing can be said about their 2011 tussle.

Penn State merchandise After a wild shootout of a first half by Penn State standards, the Nittany Lions shut down Northwestern in the second half to improve to 7-1. The Lions led 27-24 at halftime, an interesting turnabout in light of the fact that Northwestern led the 2010 game by a 21-7 score at the break. However, unlike NU a year ago, Penn State was able to hold on in the second half for a season-bolstering win that kept the Nits at the top of the Big Ten Leaders Division with a 4-0 conference mark.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno won his 408th career game, tying Grambling’s Eddie Robinson for second all-time at any level of college football. He won his 400th game last year against – you guessed it – Northwestern.

Silas Redd ran for a career-high 164 yards and one touchdown to power the Blue and White against a Northwestern team sporting loud, modernized shoe company-created uniforms. Matt McGloin threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns to add ballast and balance to the Penn State attack. McGloin started the game over his teammate, fellow quarterback Rob Bolden, who did not make an appearance, but the two signal callers will surely continue to split time as the season progresses. Devon Smith caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown for Penn State, which played an appreciably well-rounded game to remain unblemished in conference play. Wisconsin is the most talked-about team in the Legends Division, but with just one weekend left in October, here are JoePa’s boys, carrying the banner for this half of the 12-team Big Ten.

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Northwestern fell to 2-5, losing its fifth in a row. The Wildcats were held scoreless in the second half for the second time in three weeks. Penn State held Northwestern to 125 yards in the second half after allowing 281 in the first half. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, still gimpy after last season’s Achilles tendon injury, left the game in the fourth quarter with a minor injury to his healthy ankle, right after leading the Wildcats deep into Penn State territory. Speedy backup Kain Colter struggled, though, taking two long sacks that took Northwestern out of field goal range.

Persa completed 26 of 34 passes for 294 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Colter in the first quarter. Colter rushed nine times for 51 yards, caught six passes for 43 yards, and completed two passes for 18 yards.


By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Staff Writer


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