The recent Northwestern football game was a nail biter. This game was crucial to see if Northwestern can really contend for the Big Ten title. Coming into the week Northwestern had a record of 6-2. Northwestern this week would face off against the 7-2 Penn State Nittany Lions. Both teams look for a huge win.
Northwestern coming into the week their offense has been putting up some impressive numbers. Northwestern are fifth in scoring offense, second in total offense, and first in pass offense in the Big Ten. Justin Jackson has also played a key role in this high powered offense. In the first five games of the season Jackson averaged 127 yards on the ground. He then fell into a slump for three games only averaging 32 yards per game. Yesterday he picked himself up rushing for a career high 186 yards on 28 carries. Jackson has shown he can be an elite runner in the Big Ten. So far this year Northwestern’s offense has looked in top form.
Penn State are off to a decent start this season. Christian Hackenberg has had a great year throwing the ball for 1,997 yards and 13 touchdowns. Additionally he has only thrown three interceptions. Also Penn State have been able to run the ball, Saquon Barkley has ran for 836 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Receiving Chris Godwin has had 49 receptions for 808 yards. This year Penn State’s offense has looked pretty consistent.
This matchup Penn State vs Northwestern was bound to be a great one. These two teams are very evenly matched. The line on the game was only two points to Penn State. These two teams both really needed a win, and put everything on the line for it. Could Justin Jackson step up and play a big role for Northwestern? Can Clayton Thorson play smart football?
Now to the game. Kicker Jack Mitchell had missed two field goals and an extra point. Mitchell kicked a 35 yard field goal with nine seconds left to give the Wildcats a 23-21 win yesterday over Penn State. Backup quarterback Zack Oliver threw for one touchdown and ran for another. Justin Jackson ran for a career high 186 yards for Northwestern. Solomon Vault ran back a 96 yard kickoff return with 2:04 left in the first half. The score at half 20-7 Northwestern. Northwestern had to win with Oliver who had only played in three games in his career at Northwestern. He passed for 111 yards and an interception, but led Northwestern’s final drive. Saquon Barkley ran for 120 yards and two scores for the Nittany Lions, the second coming at a crucial time scoring in the fourth to give the Nittany Lions a 21-20 lead. Hackenberg went 21/40 for 205 yards and an interception. Penn State cut the lead to 20-14 when receiver Geno Lewis hit DaeSean Hamilton for a 32 yard touchdown. The drive consisted of two 15 yard personal fouls called on Northwestern. Saturday begins a long road for the Nittany Lions after playing Northwestern, the Nittany Lions have a bye then wrap up their season home versus Michigan then at Michigan State.
Northwestern are true contenders for the Big Ten title. Penn State now is in deep trouble with their remaining schedule.