A fourth quarter comeback was able to propel Penn State to a 39-28 win over Northwestern on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Check out the highs and lows right here.
Zwinak pounded away for his second 100-yard game in as many weeks.
GAME BALL (OFFENSE) - Zach Zwinak - Penn State
Penn State rode the hot hand of Zwinak on Saturday as he led the Nittany Lions in rushing for the third straight game. The sophomore went over the century mark for the second week in a row, carrying 28 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also added six catches for 52 yards as a receiver.
GAME BALL (DEFENSE) - Gerald Hodges - Penn State
Penn State's seniors - namely Hodges, Jordan Hill, Michael Mauti and Sean Stanley - all came to play on Saturday. Hodges came up with the biggest day, notching a team-high 11 tackles, 1.5 tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. He was all over the field in the first half and contributed to some key stops in the fourth quarter.
GAME BALL (SPECIAL TEAMS) - Venric Mark - Northwestern
Mark silenced the Penn State faithful and, for a moment, looked to put the Nittany Lions away with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown up the Penn State sideline in the third quarter. The diminutive back put together a game-high total of 189 all-purpose yards as a running back, receiver and return man.
PLAY OF THE GAME - Down three and facing third down at the Northwestern five with 2:37 remaining in the game, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin rolled to his right looking for anyone in the end zone. When that didn't happen, the senior quarterback took off towards the front corner and despite an awkward dive, he made it inside the pylon to put the Nittany Lions up for good.
BEST PASS - Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin had little choice but to thread a bullet to a dragging Allen Robinson in the back of the end zone on a fourth down in the fourth quarter. Though he didn't have his best day, McGloin hit a diving Robinson from six yards out to pull the Nittany Lions within three.
WORST PASS - Driving late in the second quarter, Penn State needed yet another fourth down conversion but were unable to move the chains as Matt McGloin's effort to fullback Michael Zordich wasn't even close.
BEST RUN - Penn State fullback Michael Zordich nearly iced the game with the Nittany Lions' longest carry from scrimmage on a fourth quarter jaunt. Zordich broke loose as the Nittany Lions were trying to milk the clock and scurried up the sidelines for 25 yards before stepping on the boundary at the 3-yard line. He finished the job with a three-yard dive on the very next play.
WORST RUN Call it a run, a sack, whatever, but Matt McGloin would love to have back a 15-yard loss at the hands of Sean McEvilly. Tackle Donovan Smith was flagged for holding on the play and Penn State would have been fine eating the 10 yards and repeating the down, but McGloin took the sack and the Wildcats ended up declining the penalty.
BEST CATCH - Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson could have almost been credited with an interception as he wrestled the ball away from Northwestern defender Nick Vanhoose for a 13-yard gain on an ill-advised Matt McGloin offering in the second quarter.
WORST DROP - Penn State had six as Matt McGloin hit Kyle Carter in the hands at the goal line on a third down in the first quarter, but Carter could not hold on and the Lions had to settle for a field goal.
WORST FUMBLE - Penn State had an opportunity to take all the momentum after a Northwestern punt midway through the second quarter, but typically sure-handed returner Jesse Della Valle muffed the kick right into the hands of gunner Nick VanHoose. Northwestern scored two plays later.
BEST KICK - Northwestern punter Brandon Williams put forth his best effort when the Wildcats needed it most, rolling a 64-yard kick past the Penn State returnmen and all the way down to the Penn State 15-yard-line.
WORST KICK - Penn State punter Alex Butterworth went to his right for a rugby-style effort in the second quarter and promptly shanked a 22-yard kick, giving the Wildcats very good field position on their own 43.
BEST TACKLE - Needing a stop in the second quarter, Penn State seniors Jordan Hill and Gerald Hodges came up huge with a stuff of Northwestern running back Mike Trumpy, who was dropped for a 2-yard loss on a third down.
WORST TACKLE - Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo had a shot at crossing Penn State wideout Brandon Moseby-Felder but he was unable to corral Moseby-Felder, who shook loose for a big gain and a first down in the second quarter.
BEST CALL - Penn State started the game with Bill Belton at tailback, who didn't quite have the pop that he has shown in the past. The Lions then switched it up to go with the hot hand of Zach Zwinak, who pounded the Wildcat defense for 121 yards on 28 carries.
WORST CALL - Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris was stride for stride with Northwestern receiver Rashad Lawrence and made a nice play to knock away a pass down the left sideline in the second quarter. Somehow he was flagged for a big pass interference penalty that kept the Wildcat drive alive and led to seven points.
HEADS UP AWARD - Penn State elected to punt the ball away from the Northwestern 34-yard-line on its first drive, and the Nittany Lions' coverage team, led by Mike Hull, Derek Day and Jesse Della Valle, killed the Alex Butterworth punt at the 1-yard-line.
MOST TELLING STATISTIC - 99-61
How tired must the Wildcats be after this one? The Nittany Lions ran 99 offensive plays - the most they've run since a 38-6 win over West Virginia in 1966 - en route to a 39-point performance. The Nittany Lions finished with 443 yards of total offense, an average of 4.5 yards per play. Penn State ran the ball 48 times and passed the ball 51 times in the win.
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