NU GAME: Making the Grade

EVANSTON, Ill. — FOS hands out its report card following Penn State's come-from-behind win against the Wildcats. See who passed and who struggled to make the grade as the Lions improved to 4-0 on the season.

OVERALL: After looking outclassed in the first quarter, Penn State regrouped for an emotional road win. Last year's team never showed that kind of resilience.
Grade: B-

OFFENSE: Lions finished with 480 yards against a team that surrendered 773 a week earlier. Not bad, but they could have ended the suspense a whole lot earlier if they'd been more careful.
Grade: B

DEFENSE: The best defense in the Big Ten? Not if opponents convert half of their third downs as Northwestern did Saturday.
Grade: C

SPECIAL TEAMS: Onside kick worked for Wildcats, as did option pitch to punter. But Kapinos and Kelly give Lions a passing grade.
Grade: C

COACHING: At halftime, this was an F. But the defense adjusted, giving up just six points in the second half. And kudos for calling on tight end Smolko on fourth-and-15.
Grade: B-

INTANGIBLES: Rain held off until after the game, which was fortunate for the Lions. They had a hard enough time holding onto the ball when it was dry.
Grade: B

OTHER GUYS: You expect Northwestern to play smart, and it did, with only two turnovers and 35 yards in penalties. But the big gamble — man coverage on the outside — didn't pay off.
Grade: B

OFFICIALS: Only one debatable call, and it was upheld on review. The zebras were largely invisible, which is just how we like it.
Grade: A

CROWD: What crowd? The only section of Ryan Field in which elbow room wasn't plentiful was the corner in which the Nittany Lion fans were concentrated. The announced attendance was 24,395, and even that appeared to be exaggerated. Hey, it's Northwestern.
Grade: D

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