Pregame Intel: NU vs PSU

Any time you match a <b>Wildcat</b> against a <b>Lion</b>, its usually not good for the Wildcat. <p>But this year, the old <b>Nitany Lion</b> appears battered and bruised and the <b>Wildcat</b> is riding higher, coming off some wins against pretty tough opponents with the goal of playing in December or later. <p>Its <b>Northwestern vs Penn State</b> - Saturday afternoon.

The Last time we did one of these Pregame Intel Reports...
Was just prior to the game with Indiana - we were a little worried about a letdown after the big win over Ohio State. I'm just as worried this week because you don't poke at a sleeping lion.

Yes, their stud safety Andrew Guman suffered a pretty serious injury at OSU - he was driven home by his parents to avoid aggrivating a punctured lung by flying. On our side, the Cats are giving up our top receiver, Mark Philmore, so you have to figure this one is even.

But if you read through the NU Sports News Digest today, you also notice a whole stack of articles about this year's Senior Class at Penn State. Their QB, Zack Mills originally went to Happy Valley in 2000 to "win a national championship," which has many media guys asking, "Uhhh, What Happened?"

There were 29 players recruited in 2000.

Four years later, eight remain, and only 4 of them start. One is Zack Mills, the guy who tore NU apart the first time he took the field.

Joe Paterno's Nitanny Lions haven't won a game since September 18th, and that's what scares me.

The long list of "what happened" stories is almost a gauntlet thrown down at the Seniors' feet. Here's their chance to make their statement against a NU Wildcat team that doesn't do well on the road this year, and has also struggled after a big win at home.

Add the fact that despite the disappointments, nationally, Penn State has the #17 Pass Defense and is 13th in scoring defense. NU has had difficulty mounting a big offense lately. Philmore's loss to an injury doesn't help.

We've never won a game at Happy Valley. In 2002, NU was finally rolling heading into the game. Jo Pa dug out a 3 back offense and stomped us 49-0. Last year it took the Cats until the 4th quarter to finally come together and win 17-7.

In the Big Game Hunting adventure novels, they always talked about the danger of cornering an old Lion, how they still possess the strength and cunning to fight back and hurt you. Read some of the stories and columns about Penn State and Joe Paterno and you get the sense of that Old Lion cornered by that upstart Wildcat.

There aren't a lot of X's and O's in this assessment, but if the Cat's take anything into Happy Valley this weekend, it should be a sense of controlled nervousness. A nice big win over the Wildcats will go a long way towards answering the "what happened" question, and take some of the heat off that old Lion on the other sideline.

What the Cats Have to Do:

  • Play Suffocating D -
    • shut down Mills and the Penn State running game.
    • Keep shuffling defenses, and morphing coverages. Keep the Old Lion confused.
  • Get the O-Line blasting some holes for Noah Herron and Terrell Jordan to run through.
  • Give Brett Basanez time to set up and make those bubble screens and crossing patterns.
  • Kim Thompson has to step up and show why so many observers think he's the next recieving star.
  • Remember what happened the last time a decent NU team played Jo Pa in Beaver Stadium [49-0].
There were a few post game comments from the players looking for a little revenge against PSU for 2002. None of it was bulletin board material - Randy Walker doesn't allow that anymore - but the Juniors this year were the guys pushed around last time.

All we need to do is remember...


The Game is on ESPN+ - WBBM-TV2 in Chicago - It starts at 11 AM [Wildcat Time] and will be on WGN [and WNUR].

We'll be chatting at the same spot


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Was just prior to the game with - we were a little worried about a letdown after the big win over . I'm just as worried this week because you don't poke at a sleeping lion.

Yes, their stud safety suffered a pretty serious injury at OSU - he was driven home by his parents to avoid aggrivating a punctured lung by flying. On our side, the Cats are giving up our top receiver, , so you have to figure this one is even.

But if you read through the today, you also notice a whole stack of articles about this year's Senior Class at . Their QB, originally went to Happy Valley in 2000 to \"win a national championship,\" which has many media guys asking, \"Uhhh, What Happened?\"

There were 29 players recruited in 2000.

Four years later, eight remain, and only 4 of them start. One is , the guy who tore apart the first time he took the field.

s Nitanny Lions haven't won a game since September 18th, and that's what scares me.

The long list of \"what happened\" stories is almost a gauntlet thrown down at the Seniors' feet. Here's their chance to make their statement against a NU team that doesn't do well on the road this year, and has also struggled after a big win at home.

Add the fact that despite the disappointments, nationally, has the #17 Pass Defense and is 13th in scoring defense. has had difficulty mounting a big offense lately. 's loss to an injury doesn't help.

We've never won a game at Happy Valley. In 2002, NU was finally rolling heading into the game. Jo Pa dug out a 3 back offense and stomped us 49-0. Last year it took the until the 4th quarter to finally come together and win 17-7.

In the Big Game Hunting adventure novels, they always talked about the danger of cornering an old Lion, how they still possess the strength and cunning to fight back and hurt you. Read some of the stories and columns about and and you get the sense of that cornered by that upstart .

There aren't a lot of X's and O's in this assessment, but if the Cat's take anything into Happy Valley this weekend, it should be a sense of controlled nervousness. A nice big win over the will go a long way towards answering the \"what happened\" question, and take some of the heat off that old on the other sideline.

There were a few post game comments from the players looking for a little revenge against PSU for 2002. None of it was bulletin board material - Randy Walker doesn't allow that anymore - but the Juniors this year were the guys pushed around last time.

All we need to do is remember...

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