UNIVERSITY PARK -- Cory Giger and Neil Rudel recap Penn State's come-from-behind 39-28 win over No. 24 Northwestern on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions won their fourth straight game and now head into their bye week.
Penn State 3, Northwestern 0: The Lions put together a good drive on their second series, converting two fourth downs (4 yards at the Northwestern 31 and 1 yard at the 10) and getting to first-and-goal at the 7. Two carries by Zach Zwinak netted only 3 yards, then Matt McGloin had a pass dropped at the goal line by tight end Kyle Carter on third down. Bill O'Brien decided against going for it from the 4, and Sam Ficken booted a 21-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the quarter. PSU dominated time of possession in the period (12:00 to 3:00) but had just the slim lead.
Penn State 10, Northwestern 0: PSU had great field position on its early drives because of the Wildcats' struggles on offense, and this one started at the Northwestern 40. McGloin hit Brandon Moseby-Felder for 15 yards on the first play, and on fourth-and-1 at the 16, McGloin converted with a sneak for 2 yards. It was all Zach Zwinak from there as he ran for 2 yards, then 11 down to the 1 before going over the top into the end zone with 9:34 left in the half.
Penn State 10, Northwestern 7: Jesse Della Valle fumbled a punt deep in his own territory, and the Wildcats recovered at the PSU 17. Kain Colter, who had been kept in check early, took off for 12 yards on a keeper down to the 5. Two plays later, Venric Mark took a pitch from Colter and scored from 3 yards out with 6:23 to go in the half. It was the first TD allowed by Penn State in the first half this season.
Northwestern 14, Penn State 10: The Wildcats got a break on a questionable pass interference call against PSU's Stephon Morris that enabled them to keep a drive alive late in the half. It was third-and-6 at the Wildcat 38, and the call on Morris moved Northwestern to the PSU 47. Trevor Siemian hit Mike Trumpy for 16 and 7 yards on consecutive plays to get to the 24, then found Demetrius Fields for 13 yards to the 11. On third-and-10, Siemian threaded the needle on an 11-yard TD strike to Tony Jones with 30 seconds left in the half.
Penn State 17, Northwestern 14: The Lions jumped back on top on their first drive of the second half, going 80 yards in 12 plays and getting an 8-yard TD pass from McGloin to Allen Robinson. Zwinak got things going on the ground with several tough runs, including a 15-yarder to the Northwestern 43. The Lions also took advantage of a pass interference call in the end zone against Wildcat cornerback Quinn Evans, who was trying to cover Robinson. That moved PSU to the 8, and two plays later McGloin hit Robinson in the middle of the field for the score with 7:17 left in the quarter.
Northwestern 21, Penn State 17: The Wildcats answered PSU's long TD drive with a good one of their own, going 71 yards in 11 plays. The combination of Venric Mark on the ground and Siemian through the air ignited Northwestern's offense. The Wildcats were called for holding late in the drive and faced second-and-16 at the PSU 24 before Siemian ran up the gut for a 15-yard keeper. Colter took over at quarterback on the next play, faked a handoff to Mark and bounced outside to the left for a 10-yard TD with 3:12 to go in the quarter.
Northwestern 28, Penn State 17: The Lions went three-and-out, actually going backwards 13 yards in three plays, and Alex Butterworth's punt was returned 75 yards for a TD by Mark with 50 seconds left in the quarter.
Northwestern 28, Penn State 25: The Lions went right to their NASCAR no-huddle offense after the punt return TD and came up with an 18-play, 72-yard TD drive. Zwinak got a lot of action on the drive, both on the ground and catching three passes, and fourth-and-4 from the 6, McGloin stepped up in the pocket and fired a bullet to Robinson in the end zone with 9:49 to play. Bill O'Brien went for two, and Michael Zordich took a handoff and rumbled into the end zone to make it a three-point game.
Penn State 32, Northwestern 28: The Lions took the lead for good with a 15-play, 85-yard drive and scored on McGloin's 5-yard keeper with 2:37 to go. Penn State continued to run the NASCAR offense and mixed the pass and throw on the drive. The key play came on fourth-and-2 from the Wildcat 19 as McGloin found Moseby-Felder for 13 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 6. The Lions avoided disaster on second down from the 4 when McGloin fumbled but recovered, then he took it in on the next play.
Penn State 39, Northwestern 28: Northwestern turned it over on downs, and Zordich scored from 3 yards out with 1:30 to go.
-- Compiled by Cory Giger