Good Cat, Bad Cat: Penn State

Risers (and a few fallers) from Saturday's big win.

Good Cats

Trevor Siemian

Three rushing touchdowns is enough to merit GC status. But to be honest, Siemian was far from great, and had several bad overthrows in the second and third quarters. He finished the game completing just ## percent of his attempts, and tossed an ugly interception shortly after halftime. Still, Siemian was overall quite efficient as a game manager, and took more risks downfield. That back-shoulder throw to Tony Jones that set up the Wildcats' second touchdown was a beauty, too. He put together a considerably better game than any of the three nonconference ones.

Dan Vitale

After a horrible start to the season, Vitale exploded for # receptions and ### yards Saturday. He absolutely bullied Penn State's linebackers, and was Siemian's most reliable target between the seams. His blocking appeared to be much improved too.

The Northwestern pass rush

That Xavier Washington sack should be on loop for the next week. But the whole D-line rattled Christian Hackenberg: Ifeadi Odenigbo and Dean Lowry each had another sack, Greg Kuhar was disruptive in the middle, and Drew Smith was excellent on blitzes. NU easily won the line of scrimmage Saturday.

Anthony Walker

The redshirt freshman was the best player on the team Saturday, and he was only starting because Collin Ellis couldn't go. Walker had the game-swinging pick six, and notched a team-high eight tackles. Walker came flying off the edge on blitzes and certainly wasn't a liability in coverage. We should see more of him going forward, even with Ellis healthy.

Nick VanHoose

VanHoose has strung together two consecutive gems as the team's No. 1 cornerback. Penn State's usually-dominant passing game was completely shut down at home Saturday, and VanHoose was all over the place with a few pass deflections and six stops. PSU was held to under 220 passing yards on 45 throws.

Bad Cats

Treyvon Green

At this point, the carries are a formality. Green had another ugly Saturday, putting up 13 yards on six runs. Justin Jackson didn't fare all that much better, but why Solomon Vault wasn't involved in the running game remains to be seen. Green looks slow off the line and has yet to really find the second level this year.

The safeties

When this game was close in the first half, Northwestern's safeties were the obvious scapegoats. Both Traveon Henry and Ibraheim Campbell were burned over the top on that 51-yard DaeSean Hamilton reception. NU's deep ball coverage is still a concern.

Jack Mitchell

Not too much to complain about in one of the Wildcats' most convincing wins in recent memory. But Jack Mitchell is dreadful at kicker, and the team really misses Jeff Budzien. Mitchell missed an extra point, was comically wide on a 43-yarder, and clearly doesn't have Pat Fitzgerald's trust right now. But hey, here's to Christian Salem keepers.

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