Northwestern-Penn State Instant Analysis

One out of three was good enough, as we look at the Northwestern-Penn State game.

After missing two earlier field goals, Jack Mitchell’s 35-yarder with nine seconds left lifted Northwestern to a 23-21 win over Penn State. The Wildcats overcame injuries to starting quarterback Clayton Thorson, third leading tackler Jalen Prater, and three offensive linemen to move on to 3-2 in the Big Ten and 8-2 overall.

Little used senior Zack Oliver (11 of 24, 111 yards, TD, INT) took over for Thorson late in the first quarter and immediately engineered a 59-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 20-yard dart to Christian Jones.

Northwestern dominated the first half in taking a 20-7 lead, highlighted by Solomon Vault’s 95-yard kickoff return touchdown. At one point late in the first half the Wildcats held a total yardage advantage of 222-66.

Christian Hackenberg and Saquon Barkley (170 total yards, 2 TD) finally got the Nittany Lions untracked, but it was a slick Geno Lewis to Daesean Hamilton halfback option pass for 32 yards that got Penn State back on the board at 20-13. After a missed handoff, Lewis scooped the ball up with his right hand and fired the best pass of the day in hitting Hamilton on stride with a defender draped on his back.

Barkley and Penn State’s defense seemed to be a winning fourth quarter formula until Oliver and Justin Jackson (28 carries, 186 yards) mounted a ten-play drive to put Mitchell in position to make up for three previous misses (2 FG, PAT).

MarkRogersTV provides more analysis on the Wildcats’ win at the wire.

Mark brings a passionate view and analytical eye to college football discussion. A 3-time Associated Press Mississippi Sportscaster of the year, Mark owns 23 years of anchor, reporting, producing and management experience in local and network television at ESPN, WCBI and WNCO. During that time, Mark covered several SEC championship games, bowl games, College World Series and a Final Four. Mark’s interview subjects range from Peyton Manning, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Archie Griffin to Vince Gill and Robin Roberts. Mark currently displays his skills on his Youtube Channel, MarkRogersTV which houses over 1600 college football videos with opinion and analysis, and also interviews with current coaches including Tommy Tuberville and Sonny Dykes.


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