Northwestern is a key game in Penn State season
With no chance for the conference championship or a bowl game, regular season contests take on greater meaning for Penn State. Some of these games are bigger than others, and this week’s tilt appears to be looming large for 2012.
The Lions are 3-2, and should be 4-1, but for the special teams meltdown at Virginia. The squad has won three in a row, and got a dominant and very satisfying W at Illinois last week. So, momentum is on their side.
On the other side of the line this week will be likely the best opponent so far, 5-0 Northwestern.
The Wildcats put up a school record 704 yards of offense against Indiana last week. While the Hoosiers are no defensive power, that’s an impressive number against anybody. South Dakota, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, and Boston College is no murderers’ row, but the Wildcats have beaten them all.
The Lions likely have tougher games later in the schedule–Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska. But Northwestern is a legitimate test, and a win would preserve the momentum and continue to let the team and coaching staff build confidence in each other and what they can accomplish this year.
Linebacker Glenn Carson said this week, now that he’s been around for a few years, he can tell when a contest has a big game feel, and this one does.
Penn State’s gotten past the extreme emotions of the opening weeks and is concentrating on what’s happening on the field. Other than the field goal kicking, things football wise are looking better than probably could have been expected.
The Lions will have to find their motivation, and their big games, in places that may have been overlooked in past years. A win Saturday puts PSU in good shape for at least a .500 record, and gives them a real shot at a winning slate.
Carson’s right. This is a big game.