Buzz On Broad is proud to bring to you a brand new segment called "Inside PSU." We are all aware of the recent events surrounding the proud university involving some deranged higher-ups formerly employed by Penn State. The 2012 football season at PSU marks the first season under a new regime and even more monumentally, the start of a brand new chapter in Penn State history.
While the national media will have their eyes closely affixed to the school from the outside looking in, you can now rely on Buzz On Broad and our newest contributor, PSU Insider Dan Smith, to shed light on the morale and attitude from within the confines of Happy Valley.
Look for Dan Smith to break down every game this season each week, from a gridiron perspective to the pulse of the fan base and student body. Enjoy this recap from Saturday's big win against Northwestern.
Penn State 39, Northwestern 28
Matt McGloin (PSU): 35-51, 282 yards, 2 TD
Trevor Siemian (NW): 21-36, 135 yards, 1 TD
Zach Zwinak (PSU): 28 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD
Venric Mark (NW): 13 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD
Allen Robinson (PSU): 9 receptions, 85 yards, 2 TD
Mike Trumpy (NW): 3 receptions, 28 yards
3:41 - PSU - Sam Ficken 21 Yd FG ... PSU 3-0
9:34 - PSU - Zach Zwinak 1 Yd TD Run (Sam Ficken Kick) ... PSU 10-0
6:23 - NW - Venric Mark 2 Yd TD Run (Jeff Budzien Kick) ... PSU 10-7
0:30 - NW - Trevor Siemian 11 Yd TD Pass to Tony Jones (Jeff Budzien Kick) ... NW 14-10
7:17 - PSU - Matt McGloin 8 Yd TD Pass to Allen Robinson (Sam Ficken Kick) ... PSU 17-14
3:12 - NW - Kain Colter 10 Yd TD Run (Jeff Budzien Kick) ... NW 21-17
0:50 - NW - Venric Mark 75 Yd Punt Return TD (Jeff Budzien Kick) ... NW 28-17
9:49 - PSU - Matt McGloin 6 Yd TD Pass to Allen Robinson (Michael Zordich Run for Conversion) ... NW 28-25
2:37 - PSU - Matt McGloin 5 Yd TD Run (Sam Ficken Kick) ... PSU 32-28
1:30 - PSU - Michael Zordich 3 Yd TD Run (Sam Ficken Kick) ... PSU 39-28
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- I'm a senior, so this is my fourth season of regularly attending home games in the student section. This may have been the best experience I have had at a Penn State football game. It's the first ranked opponent they have beaten at home. It's the first time I've seen a crowd amped like that for a noon game. I have never seen the stadium like it was after the touchdown to cut the lead to 28-25. Michael Yancich made a tackle on the ensuing kickoff and the scene in the crowd was consistently chaotic from that point on. The way the fans responded to that stop was something I had heard about before I came to Penn State, but never saw until Saturday.
- This was Bill O'Brien's first truly great game as head coach. He dealt with six different fourth down plays on offense, and put his players in a great position to succeed on all of them. His players converted five. Those conversions made the difference in the game.
- Matt McGloin put in yet another solid performance. He is never going to be a great quarterback, but this team does not need a great quarterback. It just needs a good one, and he has been that. McGloin looks comfortable extending plays (aside from one awful sack he took) and has been securing the football (aside from one late game fumble that he fortunately fell on top of). For a guy who was known for committing a lot of turnovers, he has had awfully few this season.
- McGloin's third down dash and semi-dive into the corner of the endzone has already become iconic because he did the belt celebration after scoring. That's what Nittany Lion fans always wanted from McGloin: solid play to back up his confidence. (Also, everyone claims that it is Aaron Rodgers' move, but didn't Freddie Mitchell do it first?)
- Zach Zwinak has emerged from being the sixth option in the backfield to the first one in just three months. His performance so far this season may be the most surprising story of all of them.
- Penn State's one weakness on offense? They are in desperate need of a number two receiver. Alex Kenney and Brandon Moseby-Felder are not the answers. Kenney has struggled to get open, and Felder has dropped a couple of balls put right in his hands.
- Defensively, the Nittany Lions had another great performance. The 28 points Northwestern scored were very deceiving: the first came after Jesse Della Valle muffed a punt, the second came after an atrocious pass interference call went against cornerback Stephon Morris on what should have been a drive ending pass breakup, and the last one was a punt return. The defense only yielded one true touchdown drive. Again, a great performance.
- Michael Mauti might be the best linebacker in the country right now. However, I'm hesitant to predict where he will go in the draft, which is a question people have been throwing out there this week. Mauti's a great player, but he has had two major knee injuries in his time at Penn State. Teams will be hesitant because of that. Right now, I see him as a second round pick.
- I watched a lot of the game replay on ESPN3 yesterday, and one big moment that went totally unnoticed by the broadcasters: after the awful call against Morris, he went down with an injury on the next play. While trainers looked over Morris, O'Brien came out to check on him. When he realized that Morris was not seriously injured, he used the opportunity to scream at the official on the farside who called the pass interference call, and when other referees tried to back him up, he lit into them as well. And the fans went absolute nuts. On the broadcast, this is happening while the broadcasters were talking about Pat Fitzgerald. That's why everyone was cheering and then booing in the background: it was in response to O'Brien's animated shouting match with the referees.
- Penn State has off this week and returns in two weeks to take on Iowa in Iowa City. If Penn State wins that, they'll be 3-0 in the Big Ten heading into the biggest game of the year: a night White Out against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium on the 27th. It might be the biggest game at Beaver Stadium in four years.
Dan Smith is Buzz on Broad's Penn State Insider and the Executive Editor of Penn State's ComRadio. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ThatDanSmith.