Lions answer the bell against Northwestern
Penn State’s exciting win against #22 Northwestern put a fine exclamation point on the first half of this season. The Lions are 4 and 2, and looking at the remaining schedule, can easily pick up the three wins needed to finish with a winning mark.
What really stands out from this game, though, is the way PSU answered the Northwestern punt return for a touchdown that put the Wildcats up by 10 in the second half. The Lions marched downfield with the assurance they were going to score that hasn’t been seen from this team for a long time. Matt McGloin threw a couple balls into coverage that could have been picked, but Allen Robinson and Kyle Carter made big catches to help their quarterback, and McGloin never wavered in his confidence.
The offensive line had to love the running plays dialed up by pass master Bill O’Brien, and they showed it by consistently opening holes. Zach Zwinak, and on the drive that iced the game, Michael Zordich, hit those holes with power and enough moves to keep the Wildcat tacklers on their heels.
The way the team showed purpose without panic, how the plays were quickly sent in, the team ran the hurry up without actually hurrying, and everything seemed under control–just couldn’t have been imagined a year ago. And, remember, this is essentially the same team, minus their best runner and receiver.
The defense, against a pretty good Northwestern squad, really only gave up two significant drives. The Wildcats scored once after a muffed punt, and again on the punt return. So, the special teams still need some work, but that can come during the upcoming off week.
This 4-2 squad entered the season to great uncertainty, but has so far exceeded expectations.
The tougher part of the schedule remains, and things can go sour. But, for now, it appears this group has come together with a purpose. They believe in their coach, and he believes in them.
The result, so far, is pretty good.
What really excites the imagination, though, is to think about this team when Bill O’Brien has all his guys in there.