November 01, 2010
Posted by Joe Chuba
Steve Jones looks back at Penn State’s primetime win against Michigan and previews the match-up with Northwestern.
It was without question Penn State’s finest offensive performance of the season as the NIttany Lions beat Michigan 41-31.
Matt McGloin was calm and confident in throwing for 250 yards and a touchdown. He can be a swashbuckler at times but he reeled that in Saturday. He played slow and under control and did not rush anything. If it wasn’t there, he threw it away. He took what Michigan gave him. The maturity he has shown in the last two games has been very impressive.
Evan Royster broke Curt Warner’s career rushing record and admitted it was a monkey off his back. Now he says he can just play and not think about it. He had a career high 29 carries which led to 150 yards. His best run of the night was one of his shortest… a two yard gain on fourth down where on sheer heart and determination he spun out of a tackle in the backfield and found enough will to get the first down. Royster never ran harder in his career than he did Saturday night. How important is the running game in this era of pass happy offenses? Well, Penn State has now won 44 of its last 47 in which it has had a runner clear the 100 yard barrier.
Special teams had another big night. Collin Wagner leads the nation in field goals made beyond 40 yards and he showed his moves on the all important fourth quarter fake. Anthony Fera was terrific again on kickoffs and his two punts. Devon Smith had a big punt return and Chaz Powell turned in a key kickoff return when they needed it.
Ok… now for the defense. In the second half they were hanging on. It was not really a question of tackling in the game. Denard Robinson is just so fast and has such a great feel for the offense that he is tough to catch. He is not a great thrower but he gets you with run action that leads into a pass.
Northwestern is 6-2 on the season and like Penn State 2-2 in the Big Ten. Quarterback Dan Persa is the leader. He was hurt in the fourth quarter at Indiana and redshirt freshman Evan Watkins finished up. Persa has hit 74% of his passes and he is the team leader in rushing with 360 yards and six touchdowns.
Northwestern has seven receivers with ten catches or better this season. Jeremy Ebert is the unquestioned leader. He has 42 catches including seven touchdowns. He had a great game at Indiana making several big plays.
Freshman Mike Trumpy became the first Northwestern runner in two years to crack 100 yards in a game. He is averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Safety Brian Peters leads the defense with 52 tackles which is one better than linebacker Nate Williams. Vince Browne has nine tackles for losses including six sacks. Linebacker Quinton Davie leads the team with three interceptions.
Stefan Demos has missed only one field goal attempt less than 40 yards. Beyond 40 yards he is 4-8.
It is November and the stakes are getting higher.
Penn State leads the series 10-3
They won last years match-up 34-13
Joe Paterno enters the game with 399 career wins
Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV
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