Originally posted on The B1g Time  |  Last updated 10/5/12
No. 24 Northwestern (5-0) at Penn State (3-2), Saturday 12:00pm Eastern (ESPN) Line: Penn State -3 Last Meeting: 2011 (34-24 Penn State Win) 3 Players to Watch: 1) Michael Mauti (LB PSU): He's going to be key in stopping the short throw for big gain play that Northwestern has nearly perfected this year. Whether it's spying on Colter who could be at QB, RB, or WR at any given time or tracking and trying to stop dynamic RB Venric Mark Mauti's performance will either key the win or loss. Mauti is one of the better LB's in the conference and his speed will be tested big time, so watching how he handles what the Cats throw at him will be huge. 2) Kain Colter (QB NU): I put him at QB because that's probably where he will start the game, but anytime he's on the field he's a weapon. Last week he had over 100 yards receiving and rushing and only threw the ball twice. For Northwestern to win he's got to be playing well and seeing the ball a lot no matter what position it's from. 3) Matt McGloin (QB PSU): McGloin is 2-0 against the Wildcats and this is Northwestern's 1st road game since their season opener against Syracuse. He's becoming a more confident QB and if Penn State is to keep up with the fast paced Wildcats McGloin needs to keep his cool and needs to not make mistakes. He's quietly becoming one of the better passing QB's in the conference and the matchup of Allen Robinson and him vs. Northwestern's secondary will be key. Final Analysis: The Nittany Lions have had the Wildcats number as of late, and that's putting it lightly. It seems no matter what they do Penn State has had an answer. But this is 2012 and these teams are in vastly different positions. Northwestern has figured out a formula on offense that has them 2nd in points scored in the conference. Penn State however is giving opponents just 13.8 points per game, also 2nd best in conference. Something has to give and I say it's the Penn State defense and here's why: Northwestern has play makers on offense that Penn State has never had to deal with. As good as Michael Mauti has been he doesn't have the speed to match up with Venric Mark or Kain Colter out of the backfield and that means they have to give him some cover. If the do that leaves holes in other places and Northwestern will exploit them.  Also, Penn State's running game is coming along, but Northwestern has been able to negate a running game by opponents by getting up early and causing them to have to throw the ball. Outside of Allen Robinson this team doesn't have much in the passing game if you ask me. Sure, Penn State has tight ends they use, but Northwestern has the speed at linebacker to more than keep up.  This will be a close one, but give me the Wildcats to say undefeated and start earning some real respect. My Pick: Northwestern 33, Penn State 17 Rest of Staff's Picks: Nate: Northwestern 24, Penn State 21 Cole: Northwestern 31, Penn State 21 Kevin: Penn State 31, Northwestern 17 Will: Penn State 35, Northwestern 31
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