PENN STATE (3-2; 1-0 Big Ten) vs.
NORTHWESTERN (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
SATURDAY, OCT. 6, 2012, 12:01 PM • ESPN
BEAVER STADIUM (106,572) • UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.
Nittany Lions Meet Unbeaten Wildcats on Homecoming
Dave Pasch (p-by-p), Brian Griese (analyst), Jenn Brown (sideline)
TV APPEARANCES: The Nittany Lions are appearing on television for the 222nd time in their last 224 games.
RADIO: Penn State Sports Network (60 stations):
Steve Jones (p-by-p), Jack Ham (analyst), Loren Crispell (sideline). Sirius: Ch. 113; XM: Ch. 191
Local: 93.7 FM & 1450 AM;
Northwestern Radio (WGN): Dave Eanet (play-by-play), Ted Albrecht (analyst)
WEB: Gametracker & Audio at: GoPSUsports.com
SERIES: The Nittany Lions and Wildcats are meeting for the 16th time overall. Penn State leads the series, 4-3 (8 wins vacated). The teams are not scheduled to meet again until at least 2017.
PENN STATE RECORD: 3-2, 1st year
OVERALL RECORD: Same
VS. NORTHWESTERN: First Meeting
NOTABLE: Named Penn State’s 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012…Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick…Coached NFL MVP Tom Brady from 2009-11…Won first career game vs. Navy on Sept. 15, 2012.
NORTHWESTERN RECORD: 45-36, 7th year
OVERALL RECORD: same
VS. PENN STATE: 0-4
Penn State brings a three-game winning streak into its Big Ten home opener and 93rd Homecoming game, meeting unbeaten Northwestern. The Nittany Lions and Wildcats are meeting for the 16th time overall, but are in opposite Big Ten divisions and are not scheduled to meet again until at least 2017. The Wildcats moved into the national rankings this week, debuting at No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 24 in the Associated Press poll. The Nittany Lions are coming off a decisive 35-7 victory at Leaders Division rival Illinois to give first-year Coach Bill O’Brien his first Big Ten win in his conference debut and also his initial road victory. The Wildcats beat Indiana, 44-29, last Saturday in their Big Ten opener. The Penn State-Northwestern game will air on ESPN, the Nittany Lions’ sixth consecutive appearance on ESPN/ABC to open the season.
NITTANY LIONS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT; THUMP ILLINI IN BIG TEN OPENER
Senior quarterback Matt McGloin accounted for three touchdowns and senior linebacker Michael Mauti grabbed two interceptions, returning one a school record 99 yards, to help boost Penn State to a 35-7 thumping of Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Coach Bill O’Brien earned his first Big Ten victory and initial road win as the Nittany Lions won their third consecutive game in convincing fashion. Mauti was selected the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, as well as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in three games (see pg. 2). McGloin was 18 of 30 for 211 yards, including a 21-yard scoring strike to tight end Matt Lehman late in the second quarter that gave Penn State a 21-0 lead. McGloin ran for a one-yard touchdown midway through the first period for a 14-0 lead and added another one-yard scoring run late in the third frame to boost the lead to 28-7. McGloin boosted his career touchdown pass total to 32, moving into seventh place on the all-time school list. He also delivered his 11th career 200-yard passing game, good for a tie for fourth in Penn State history.
Sophomore running back Zach Zwinak delivered his second consecutive career performance, gaining 100 yards on 19 carries and scoring twice for his first career 100-yard rushing game. Zwinak opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run just 4:19 into the game and added another one-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter for a 35-7 lead.
A candidate for the Bedanrik and Butkus Awards, Mauti played like his hair was on fire, grabbing two picks and returning them 105 yards, making six tackles and 0.5 sack. With the Ilini threatening to become the first team to score a touchdown against Penn State in the first half, Mauti grabbed a Nathan Scheelhaase pass at the goal line and raced up the near sideline with a convoy of blockers. He avoided several would-be tacklers, but was was tripped up at the Illinois one-yard-line. The interception return broke the school record for longest interception return, a 98-yard effort by Wayne Berfield vs. Boston University in 1958. Mauti made his second theft near midfield late in the third quarter to set-up Zwinak’s second touchdown run.
The Nittany Lions forced three turnovers, pushing their total to 11 forced in the past four games, and held the Illini nearly 20 points below their season average. Penn State has committed only one turnover in the past four contests.