Lots and lots of people out there are portraying the forthcoming game between #12 Penn State (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) and Northwestern (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) as a “trap” game. The Nittany Lions are coming off an emotional win at da Big House, their first in 13 years, and next week they will be coming home to play the Ohio State Buckeyes, a meaningful game in the quest for the Big Ten title and a trip to a BCS bowl. Northwestern is playing at home on Ryan Field, where they always play the Lions tough. They need one more game to be bowl eligible for the 2009-2010 post-season. All the components of an upset are there, yet this Turkey thinks that Penn State will take care of business.
Hell, back in 2005, it took a desperation pass from Michael Robinson to Isaac Smolko on fourth-and-ten to grab a victory out of the jaws of defeat there at Ryan Field. Don’t tell me it ain’t tough!
However, this year, Northwestern’s secondary is decimated by injuries and they have no running game to speak of. Their passing offense, led by quarterback Mike Kafka, dinks its way down the field with short routes and quick reads. Because of a green offensive line, Kafka doesn’t have much time to do otherwise. The Wildcats will be able to score some points against the Sandusky BBDB, especially if the corners are going to play 10 yards off the LOS, but not enough points; meanwhile, Penn State should be able to throw on their deficient secondary all day.
This, of course, is subject to a potentially big weather factor. While it has been raining up in Evanston this week, the sun is expected to peek through the clouds and dry things up. High temperature Saturday will be 50F. Nevertheless, as this is written on Friday, heavy rain amounting to 0.7″ has fallen on Ryan Field. The track is liable to be sloppy.