Top 3 Things to look for When Penn State takes on Northwestern.
The Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0) football squad is coming off a convincing 48-7 victory over Massachusetts last Saturday as they get set to play host to the 1-2 Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium in a Big Ten match-up this coming Saturday.
Here’s Johnny’s list of three things to look for as PSU gets set to host the Wildcats for their homecoming event this Saturday at noon (ET):
3. Can PSU’s offensive line clear some running lanes for the backfield?
Penn State looked rough running the ball the first three weeks, and their 228-yard outburst vs UMass last Saturday may have been just an over-matched UMass D, but it’s a start in the right direction. The trio of Belton, Zwinak and Lynch looked great by adding five Touchdowns to the 228 yards on the ground. This week is a big test for Penn State, because the line needs to be able to open holes going into Big Ten play.
2. Can Northwestern slow down the Nittany Lions’ passing attack?
Christian Hackenburg and company have put up some stellar numbers through the air like no one at Penn State has done before. Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton are projected each to gain over 1,100 yards this season, which is a feat that has never been accomplished by two Nittany Lion receivers in the same season. Northwestern needs to get constant pressure or Penn State will carve up the Wildcats secondary come Saturday.
1. Will the run defense dominate for the fifth straight week?
The first-rated run defense (49.5) in the country will be at it again, trying to stop a Northwestern squad without their star back Venric Mark, who transferred this past off-season. Penn State looks to be okay versus the run, they may not hold them to less than 50 but shouldn’t surrender close to 100 against their attack.
My Prediction: Penn State 31, Northwestern 17
Photo: Chris Dunn/York Daily Record