We have a wild game going on in Evanston, and it's not the type of game Penn State is used to playing in.
In fact, the Nittany Lions already have more points against Northwestern in the first half than they've scored in any game versus teams not named Indiana State or Eastern Michigan. The Wildcats, though, make a lot of teams look spectacular on offense.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald tried to shake things up on his struggling defense by inserting five new starters. Only one of the moves was injury related. It hasn't worked. Penn State is on pace for nearly 600 yards, and this is not a powerful offense by any means.
One thing that has helped the Lions offense is that the coaching staff finally, mercifully, cast its lot with Matt McGloin at quarterback. He made his first start of the season after continually coming off the bench, and outplaying, Rob Bolden. McGloin has played the entire half and is 14-for-19 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. (Of course, Bolden has to be cursing his luck that he isn't getting a chance to shred this Northwestern pass defense, too). Silas Redd already has 119 yards on 11 carries and looks like the best player on the field. His long run in the final minute set up a touchdown with 6 seconds left that gave Penn State the 27-24 lead.
One thing Northwestern can do is score, and they're lighting up a Penn State defense that has been one of the best in the country. Dan Persa and Kain Colter have been a very effective combo at quarterback, and Colter even caught a touchdown pass from Persa. I've said that anyone who can score 21 points on Penn State has a chance to win, but Northwestern's defense is so bad that the Wildcats will have to score a lot more than that. And they haven't exactly been a great second-half team this year.
You have to wonder if McGloin and the Lions offense can keep up this level of play, or if Northwestern can make any kind of adjustments. If the second half is anything like the first, we should have an entertaining finish.