Connect with us

FOOTBALL

Penn State football: Best wins over 2023 opponents – Northwestern

Before its magical run in 2005, Penn State football faced a season derailing loss at Northwestern. Relive the Lions’ stunning road comeback.

Published

on

Penn State Football, Northwestern
Oct 29, 2005; State College, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno argues with officials during the second quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State quarterback coach Mike McQueary looks on. Mandatory Credit: Craig Melvin/USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2005 by Craig Melvin

Today, our series of the best Penn State football wins over 2023 opponents rolls on with the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern has been considered an afterthought for most of its Big Ten football existence. It was not until the mid-1990s under head coach Gary Barnett that the Wildcats started to win consistently. This continued through the Randy Walker era and the Pat Fitzgerald era of today.

Penn State and Northwestern only started to play one another when the Nittany Lions joined the conference in 1993. The series is tilted heavily in favor of Penn State. The Nittany Lions hold a 14-5 edge.

Despite the one-sided nature, there have been a few exciting moments in the series. One notable game occurred in 2010. The Wildcats jumped off to a 21-0 lead before Penn State stormed back to score the final 35 points and secure Joe Paterno’s 400th victory as head coach.

But for Penn State’s best, and arguably most important, win against Northwestern, we have to go back to the 2005 season.

Penn State football gets off to a bad start

Penn State entered the 2005 season with many questions. After losing seasons in four of the last five years, fans were anxious but hopeful. Much of this hope rested on outstanding true freshmen Derrick Williams and Justin King.

Michael Robinson, who had played every position from quarterback, running back, and wide receiver in previous seasons, had finally been given the reigns to start under center. The defense was returning a lot of talent from a unit that had not let a single opponent score more than 21 points a season ago.

The season started with three victories over South Florida, Cincinnati, and Central Michigan. Next up was a conference opening date at Northwestern.

The first half started off poorly. Robinson threw an interception on the Lions’ first drive. He would throw two more in the first half and fumbled once inside the Northwestern 10-yard line. Despite the first-half mistakes, the Lions somehow only found themselves down 23-14 at halftime.

4th and 15 lifts Lions past Northwestern

Penn State played better in the second half, finally taking its first lead with less than nine minutes to play in the game. But a Northwestern field goal put the Wildcats up 29-27 with just over two minutes left.

Penn State’s responding drive started like many of its sloppy first-half possessions. An incomplete pass, a sack-fumble that nearly ended the game, and a two-yard loss put Penn State well behind the chains. The Nittany Lions found themselves with a 4th and 15 and their backs against the wall.

But then, Robinson found tight end Isaac Smolko for 20 yards. A few plays later, with a man in his face, Robinson hit Williams, who ducked under a Wildcat defender and raced into the end zone for the game-winning score.

Penn State had completed a marvelous comeback. If the Nittany Lions had lost in Evanston, who knows what would have happened during the 2005 season. Instead, it kick-started a magical run.

A few weeks later, in Beaver Stadium, Penn State upset Ohio State in a primetime White Out. A last-second loss at Michigan a week later would be the Lions’ only blemish on the season. Penn State football went on to win its first Big Ten championship since 1994 and secure a thrilling triple-overtime victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. None of this would have been possible without the win at Northwestern that season.



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

FB RECRUITING

BREAKING: Penn State football lands top 10 prospect in PA

Brady O’Hara a top 10 prospect in PA commits to Penn State.

Published

on

Penn State Football, top 10 prospect in Pennsylvania, Brady O'Hara
Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) reacts to a touchdown run by quarterback Sean Clifford (14) against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY S

The Penn State football team has now gone three straight days a landing a commitment. Brady O’Hara has made his commitment to the Nittany Lions. He is a top 10 prospect in Pennsylvania. The 2025 class has added DJ McClary and Tiqwai Hayes in the past two days. Both players are part of Penn State’s 2025 recruiting class. The impact of the whiteout continues to prove its value on the recruiting trail.

Penn State football lands top 10 prospect in PA

Brady O’Hara is a four-star recruit in the 2025 class and he plays his high school football at North Catholic High School located in Pittsburgh, PA. He held offers from Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, UConn, and Penn State. Then, on Tuesday morning he announced his commitment to Penn State on his social media channels.

O’Hara is currently ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Pennsylvania.

Brady O’Hara plays both sides of the ball

O’Hara is listed as an athlete on 247sports because he plays both tight end and defensive end. It will be interesting to see what position he will choose to play when he gets on campus. But after watching Tyler Warren and Chop Robinson on Saturday night either position would fit him well.

Either way, he has shown that he can be successful regardless of where he lines up on the field. He can be a great red zone target or a dominant defensive end. Both positions at Penn State have developed well over the years which helped their case land this top 10 prospect in Pennsylvania.



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

Continue Reading

FOOTBALL

Penn State football players were seeking revenge against Iowa

Revenge was on the mind of several Penn State football players against Iowa on Saturday night.

Published

on

Penn State football, Dani Dennis-Sutton, KeAndre Lambert-Smith,James Franklin
Penn State wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith (1) runs after a catch during the first half of a White Out game at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in State College, Pa.

It was the elephant in the room of last week for the Penn State football team. Would revenge be on the minds of players during the Iowa game? Of course, this was produced from the 2021 matchup between Penn State and Iowa. When several Nittany Lions went down with injuries during the game, Iowa fans and members of their coaching staff mocked Penn State. The Hawkeyes special teams coach LeVar Woods even flopped on the ground at one point making fun of the injured players. After the game, we learned that revenge was certainly on the Dani Dennis-Sutton, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and other’s minds Saturday night. James Franklin reminded the team what message they needed to send Saturday night.

Penn State football players were seeking revenge against Iowa

One of the best parts of college football is what goes around comes around. One year you might beat a team by 30 points and the next you lose to them by 30. But how you act during those wins usually stands out. In Iowa City in 2021, James Franklin and his coaching staff took note of how they were treated. They got their sweet revenge on Saturday night defeating Iowa 31-0.

Audrey Synder of The Athletic recently wrote a piece Penn State football wanted revenge on Iowa. It got that and much more in Whiteout shutoutIn this story, Synder included a quote from sophomore defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton following the Iowa game.

Sutton said, “[Franklin] showed us some of the same things they did in 2021 with the special teams coordinator on the sideline flopping and stuff like that. Their head coach was saying stuff that they smelled a rat or something when some of our guys went down.”

It’s amazing that even a player like Dani Dennis-Sutton who wasn’t on the team in 2021 could find motivation from this. This shows how meaningful the brotherhood of being a Penn State football player truly is.

KeAndre Lambert-Smith also remembered 2021

One of the players who was part of that game in 2021 was WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith. He remembered that game very well. Following the Nittany Lions’ victory on Saturday night, Lambert-Smith spoke about the mindset James Franklin instilled heading into the whiteout game.

Lambert-Smith said, “I would just say we know what was at stake. We knew what happened a few years ago. We just locked in. We put a great week of preparation together.”



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

Continue Reading

FOOTBALL

Penn State QB Drew Allar grades offense’s play through 4 games

QB Drew Allar broke down the good and the bad that he’s seen from the Penn State offense through 4 games this season.

Published

on

Penn State Football, Drew Allar, Penn State QB
Sep 23, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) gestures from the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, we’re through a third of the college football season. It’s hard to argue that Penn State football isn’t one of the most dominant teams in the sport through four games. A major piece of the success so far in 2023 has been new starting QB Drew Allar. The sophomore has been a rock for Penn State this year, and has led the Nittany Lions’ offense to be one of the most successful in the nation. But what has led to Penn State’s offensive success this season? After the Iowa game, we asked the Penn State QB to break down what he’s seen from his unit so far.

Hope springs eternal for the Nittany Lions’ offense

There’s plenty of optimism around the Penn State offense after four games this year. Most recently, we watched the Nittany Lions dismantle the No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes 31-0 in the White Out Saturday evening. So far, we’ve seen Penn State pick apart secondaries and roll over opponents with the ground game.

Penn State currently leads the Big Ten in scoring and is second to Maryland in total yards. The Nittany Lions have scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. Even when it hasn’t looked sharp, the offense has still been able to put up points in bunches. And that is perhaps the most impressive thing about the Penn State offense this year – there’s a wide belief that we haven’t seen the unit peak yet.

Drew Allar leads the way

The catalyst for the offense so far is undoubtedly QB Drew Allar. The 19-year-old has looked like a seasoned veteran despite only making his fourth start Saturday night. He looks in command on the field, and it shows. Allar, who today was named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list for the nation’s top QB, has 903 yards and 8 touchdowns on a 67% completion rate this year.

Allar’s most impressive stat line, however, is the lack of one. The Penn State QB has yet to turn the ball over this season, something that young first-time starters with rockets for arms are apt to do. Even when he hasn’t been on his A game, Allar has not put the football in harm’s way.

As a result, the rest of the team has followed suit. Penn State football is the only team in the nation that has yet to turn the ball over. This is a stat that will most certainly end at some point, but it speaks to the poise and maturity that Drew Allar has already brought to the field.

Penn State QB grades offense’s play through four games

The Penn State offense has at times looked equal parts lethal and methodical. But most of all, the offense has looked clean and efficient. The Nittany Lions have kept Allar clean (only two sacks allowed) and have avoided the big mistakes. According to Drew Allar, this has been the winning formula thus far.

“I think we’re doing a really good job right now of being efficient and staying on track,” Allar told us after the Iowa game. “We do get into situations where we kind of hurt ourselves with penalties. And I think we’ll continue to learn and grow from those mistakes that we make. But I think we’re doing a really good job right now just taking what the defense has given us, taking care of the ball, which is the biggest thing for the offense, and controlling the ball. So, I think we’re just doing a really good job of being very efficient.”

But now, the tape on the Nittany Lion offense grows by the game. If Penn State football is to continue riding the wave and reach its goals for this season, the offense must continue to evolve. After all, the slate won’t get any easier, and the biggest challenges still lie ahead.



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

Continue Reading

Trending