October 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Find Kain Colter
Penn State has faced some versatile quarterbacks this season, but nothing like Colter. The junior is technically Northwestern's starting quarterback and has 369 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air. Colter also has six rushing touchdowns and has compiled 371 yards with his feet in five games, however, there is one more aspect of his game. The 6-foot, Denver, Colo. native has made nine catches for 131 yards to bring his grand total of offensive production for the season to 871 yards. Colter shares time under center with Trevor Siemian — who has thrown for 672 yards and a touchdown this season — and if Penn State wants to slow the Wildcats attack, the defense will have to keep its eyes on Colter, wherever he may be.
Air it out
Northwestern has allowed a Big Ten-best 90 rushing yards per game, but its defense is second to last in the conference in total yards allowed per contest. How is this possible? The Cats struggle mightily against the pass, as they allow 289 yards per game through the air. Matt McGloin has been historically successful against Northwestern, throwing for a combined 417 yards and six touchdowns in the team's last two meetings. And as McGloin's numbers have been some of the best in the conference so far this season, he could be looking at another big afternoon come Saturday.
Execute in the redzone, on both sides of the ball
Entering Saturday, Northwestern ranks first in the Big Ten in redzone efficiency. Meanwhile, Penn State is last in the conference as far as capitalizing in what Bill O'Brien calls the "red area." The Nittany Lions have scored just two less redzone touchdowns (11) than Northwestern (13). But the Cats put points on the scoreboard because their kicker, Jeff Budzien, is 10-for-10 on field goals, while Sam Ficken is 2-for-8 this season. The good news for Penn State is that it has the Big Ten's best redzone defense. Opponents have scored eight times (six touchdowns, two field goals) in 13 drives inside Penn State's 20-yard line this season.