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Winning Ugly Lowly Northwestern rang up some gaudy numbers, but Penn State prevailed by cashing in on a rash of Wildcat mistakes

Jan. 18, 1995
Jan. 18, 1995

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Jan. 18, 1995

Winning Ugly Lowly Northwestern rang up some gaudy numbers, but Penn State prevailed by cashing in on a rash of Wildcat mistakes

When the game was over, Penn State coach Joe Paterno summed it up:
''This was a most unusual game. Most unusual.''
It was unusual because lowly Northwestern outgained Penn State,
475 yards to 341, and the Wildcats still lost by four touchdowns,
45-17. Northwestern gained almost 200 yards more than its season
average, and after the game, Penn State linebacker Willie Smith said,
''We missed a lot of tackles and made a fairly decent offensive team
look great.''
It was unusual because the Lions' offense never fully kicked in:
Ki-Jana Carter ran for 107 yards, but Kerry Collins was only nine for
17 for 161 yards, and wideout Bobby Engram dropped four passes.
''Point totals can be deceptive,'' said Smith. ''We still played
pretty bad.''
It was unusual because the Penn State offense had the ball for
less than six minutes in the first half, yet the Lions still led
Northwestern 38-3 at intermission. The game's first score came when
Penn State sophomore safety Kim Herring picked up a fumble and ran it
back 80 yards. On the next possession the Wildcats drove to the Penn
State 29, but Herring intercepted a pass and returned it to midfield;
the Lions scored two plays later. (Just before halftime Herring's
season ended when he tore ligaments in his left knee.) In the second
quarter defensive end Brad Scioli picked off another Northwestern
pass, returning it 46 yards to set up a mini-scoring drive of 17
yards. And with less than four minutes left in the half, cornerback
Marlon Forbes recovered a fumble at the Northwestern 46, setting up
another Penn State touchdown drive -- this one taking all of 94
seconds.
What was not unusual about the game was that Penn State's ragtag
defense came through again. No, the defense hadn't stopped
Northwestern cold, but playing without four starters, who were
injured, it did allow the Lions to put points on the board even while
the offense sputtered. All season the Penn State defense had been
overshadowed by the team's explosive offense, but against
Northwestern it was the defense that did the lion's share of the
work.

This is an article from the Jan. 18, 1995 issue