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Penn State vs. Northwestern: Defenses Stepping Up As Teams Trade Punts

The Penn State defense has now strung a couple of stops together. Following an interception by Gerald Hodges, the Nittany Lions force a three-and-out to get the ball back. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa and his teammates really gouged the Penn State defense in the first half, so that unit has to be happy to have come out strong in the second half here. We'll see if the offense can respond with another score here.

The Lions get the ball back and Matthew McGloin hits Devon Smith for a big pass to keep the drive going on third down. Smith is already over 100 yards receiving on the evening, and already has six catches, too. Smith has had a very under-the-radar season, but with Derek Moye injured, he's stepping into the void nicely.

After Smith gets the first down, though, the drive sputters and Penn State is forced to punt.

Northwestern gets the ball back and picks up a first down up to its own 41-yardline. Penn State's Malcolm Willis has to be helped off the first after the conversion, so we'll have to keep an eye on his status.

Persa picks up another first down by scrambling into Penn State territory, but Devon Still and Jordan Hill come up with back-to-back sacks, however, and Penn State gets its third straight stop to start the second half as the Wildcats punt.

Following the punt, Penn State fails to get anything going and is forced to punt right back. The score is still 34-24 Penn State with 1:06 left in the third quarter.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.