Game Grades: Northwestern
It’s safe to say that Penn State has played cleaner games in the past.
The Nittany Lions were able to stay undefeated with a 17-7 win against the Northwestern Wildcats in their conference home opener.
Here’s a look at how each position group performed in Saturday’s rainy victory.
Compared to past weeks, the Nittany Lion offense was well below average.
After only posting one turnover during the first four games, the blue and white coughed up the ball five times with four of them being from lost fumbles.
Nicholas Singleton fumbled the ball twice during the first half while Keyvone Lee and Kaytron Allen each had one as well.
On the bright side, the running backs did combine for 220 rushing yards as the Nittany Lions focused heavily on the run with the weather conditions being a major factor.
Sean Clifford struggled by completing half of his passes with an interception mixed into that.
The blue and white struggled in the second half netting just a field goal as the offense nearly allowed the Wildcats to get back in it but luckily were able to hold on.
Pretty easy grade to give here.
When opposing quarterback Ryan Hilinski and the Wildcats not only don’t get their first pass completion until early in the second quarter but their first-first down as well, it’s going to be a great day for your defense.
The Nittany Lions forced three turnovers on the day with one of them being an interception from Ji’Ayir Brown but the key is how the unit reacted to the offense’s struggles.
Off of five turnovers from the Penn State offense, the Wildcats were unable to get any points as Northwestern didn’t score their lone touchdown until the third quarter.
Evan Hull is the Wildcats team leader in both rushing and receiving but was held to just 77 total yards on the day.
Hilinski also completed less than half of his passes following the slow start as Penn State’s secondary continued what has been a dominant start.
Under the weather circumstances, this game was going to be a struggle for both sides of the ball.
Not really much to complain about with how James Franklin coached the game.
The defense remained strong even after the turnovers allowed on the opposite side of the ball while the run game was strong.
You could make the argument as to why Kaytron Allen wasn’t in the game sooner even after three fumbles from Singleton and Lee but Franklin referred to it as an issue that will be handled internally.
Singleton also wasn't used much in the second half despite possibly being the better runner during the game.
Despite the score being as close as it was, Penn State always seemed to be in command and will now have a week off before a huge test in Ann Arbor against the Michigan Wolverines.
Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.