Giving up big plays was a big problem for Penn State last week against Purdue, and its quickly becoming an issue again, this time against Northwestern.
For the second straight drive, the Nittany Lions give up a 46-yard bomb by quarterback Dan Persa to set the Wildcats up in scoring range. The worst part for Penn State? The play came on a 3rd-and-14. It looked like the defense finally had Persa and Co. stopped, but instead, it's stuck defending its own red zone again.
Fortunately for the Lions, they're able to stiffen up before Northwestern can get another touchdown, but they give the three points they got back on Anthony Fera's second field goal when Jeff Budzien knocks through a 25-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 24-20 lead with :46 left in the half.
Northwestern Scoring summary: 8 plays, 72 yards, 3:10 time of possession.
Penn State gets the ball back and earns good field position, too, as Adrian Amos brings the ball back to the Penn State 37-yardline. After the return, Penn State answers with a big play of its own as Silas Redd picks up 44 yards and gets deep into Northwestern territory with under a minute left in the half. The run puts him over 100 yards already on the evening.
A 10-yard pass from Matthew McGloin to Devon Smith sets Penn State up on the Northwestern 2-yardline, and Stephfon Green does the rest, cashing in with a touchdown, his first of the season, to get the lead back for his Nittany Lions. It's 27-24 Penn State with :07 left in the half.
Penn State scoring summary: 7 plays, 63 yards, :40 time of possession.
After the kickoff, Northwestern takes a knee, and that gets us to the end of the first half in Evanston with Penn State ahead 27-24.
Huge momentum boost there with the late score. Just like last season, when McGloin led Penn State to a touchdown in the final minute of the half against Northwestern after the Lions had fallen behind 21-0, the offense gets it together when it needed to to get the lead back.