Posted October 07, 2012

Penn State triumphs in battle of big cats; more early Snap Judgments

Air Force Falcons, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Buffalo Bulls, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Navy Midshipmen, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio Bobcats, Penn State Nittany Lions, Snap Judgments

Matt McGloin threw for two touchdowns and rushed for the go-ahead score in PSU’s 39-28 win. (Getty Images)

Snap Judgments from the Week 6 early slate. For more, check out our midday Snaps, late Snaps coverage of LSU-Florida, Georgia-South Carolina, West Virginia-Texas and complete Top 25 review.

• Penn State 39, No. 24 Northwestern 28. Pat Fitzgerald’s herd of cats was 5-0 and well on its way to a 6-0 start, a feat unequaled by any Northwestern squad since 1962. The Wildcats had one conference win and three victories over AQ nonconference opponents to their credit. So, naturally, Week 6 was when they ran into a fourth-quarter buzzsaw in the form of … Penn State?

Pointed momentum swings characterized Saturday’s contest. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 10-0 lead, only to see the Wildcats retake the scoreboard and then some, carrying a 28-17 lead after three quarters. Then, for lack of a better description for what happened next, the fourth quarter commenced and Penn State proceeded to outgain Northwestern 186-23. Matt McGloin displayed some serious poise in this period, passing for a touchdown, running for a two-point conversion and scoring again on a five-yard run with less than three minutes to play. Penn State scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the last coming on a Michael Zordich three-yard run precisely one minute after McGloin’s dash for the end zone.

Wildcat fans might be wondering about now why Venric Mark took a knee on a kick return with 2:37 remaining after he’d already returned a punt 75 yards for a score at the end of the third quarter. They might also be flexing their claws (because they’re cats!) at the sight of Mark and Kain Colter, averaging a combined 180-plus rushing yards heading into today’s contest, finishing with a mere 96 combined. But Penn State has now won four straight, including two in league play. A fitting beginning, maybe, to a curious day of football. [BOX | RECAP]

Michigan State 31, Indiana 27. AND SPEAKING OF CURIOUS. Our weekly sarcastic “Can’t let [obviously superior team] hang around like that, [underdog who is frittering away a win]!” honor goes to the Hoosiers, who led the Spartans 17-0 at the end of the first quarter and 27-14 at halftime — and did not score again. Michigan State played haphazardly for much of the afternoon. It amassed 115 yards in penalties and, again, trailed Indiana for three and a half quarters. Of all the sensations we thought we would be experiencing this season — and they were many and varied — wishing we got the Big Ten Network in HD was not among them. [BOX | RECAP]

• No. 7 Kansas State 56, Kansas 16. K-State’s Collin Klein: 7-of-14 passing for 129 yards and two touchdowns; 10 rushes for 116 yards and two more scores. Kansas’ Dayne Crist: 16-of-27 passing for 189 yards, four sacks, one touchdown, one fumble and three interceptions. In advance of whatever defense Kansas’ student paper makes for this game, people will have a really hard time saying nice things about the Jayhawks’ performance Saturday. (We’ll give them one: James Sims, who can be counted on every year to show up in an excellent hairdo for his team headshot, rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.) [BOX | RECAP]

• Ohio 38, Buffalo 31. Another close MAC call for the Bobcats yields the first bowl-eligible team of 2012. Tyler Tettleton’s second-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Futrell tied Tettleton with Boo Jackson atop the school’s all-time passing touchdown list. [BOX | RECAP]

• Navy 28, Air Force 21 (OT). Nineteen passes were attempted in this game. NINETEEN! We’re going to blame this on overtime. The first game of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy race concluded with a covert FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN as Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds fumbled on a push into the end zone and 318-pound offensive guard Jake Zuzek snagged it for the score. [BOX | RECAP]

• Arkansas 24, Auburn 7. This was not a game with major conference or national ramifications, but we just want to point out what happens when you put the nation’s 116th- and 120th-ranked teams in turnover margin in the same stadium. Namely, that Auburn came off a bye and — with two weeks of preparation — surrendered eight sacks and three interceptions to a team that had recorded five sacks and one interception this entire season. Read on, if you dare! [BOX | RECAP]