Nov. 1, 1997
Northwestern Nearly Upsets Penn State, 30-27
EVANSTON, Ill -
Curtis Enis rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown as
second-ranked Penn State kept its end of the bargain to set up a
showdown of Big Ten Conference unbeatens with a 30-27 victory
Fullback Anthony Cleary added scoring runs of one and two yards,
and quarterback Mike McQueary scrambled 11 yards for another
touchdown for the Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten), who extended
the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games. Penn State,
which trails Michigan by a half-game in the Big Ten, hosts the
Wolverines next Saturday.
Michigan defeated Minnesota, 24-3, earlier in the day. Purdue,
which also entered the weekend undefeated in conference play,
lost 35-17 at Iowa. The winner of next Saturday's game will
have the inside track to the Rose Bowl and keep its national
championship hopes alive.
The Nittany Lions have won their last three games by a combined
eight points, and have scored 128 points in their three road
Tim Hughes had a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes for
Northwestern (3-7, 1-5), which has won just one of five games
against Penn State. The Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the
final quarter, two in a span of 2:38 late in the game.
Northwestern failed to recover an onside kick with 28 seconds
left after making it 30-27.
Northwestern running back Adrian Autry had 127 yards and a
touchdown while Hughes completed 17-of-34 passes for 203 yards
without an interception.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno recorded his 296th career victory
and his 400th as part of the Nittany Lions coaching staff. In
16 years as an assistant coach from 1950-66, Penn State went
104-48-4. The victory assured Paterno of his 30th winning
season in 32 years as Penn State head coach.
Enis opened the scoring with a two-yard run 9:23 into the
contest and Cleary extended the lead to 14-0 by muscling in from
two yards with 10:44 left in the first half. Northwestern cut
into the lead when Faraji Leary had a three-yard scoring run
with 7:19 to go.
McQueary answered with an 11-yard TD dash up the middle with
3:55 to go in the first half that set up a 21-7 halftime bulge.
Travis Forney extended the lead to 24-7 with 1:53 to go in the
third quarter with a 47-yard field goal that deflected off the
right goalpost and through the uprights.
Autry bulled in from two yards in the first minute of the fourth
quarter to make it 24-13, but Brian Gowins had his extra point
blocked. Cleary made it in from one yard to give Penn State a
30-13 advantage with 5:23 to play.
But Northwestern rallied as Hughes and Brian Marshall hooked up
on a 45-yard scoring play to make it 30-20 with 3:06 remaining.
Northwestern did not onside kick following this touchdown, but
forced a three-and-out. The Wildcats scored on the enusing
possession as Hughes completed a middle screen pass to Brian
Musso, who raced nine yards for the final touchdown.
McQueary completed 17-of-23 passes for 222 yards and was
intercepted twice. Joe Jurevicius, who had seven touchdowns in
23 catches, was held to one reception for 35 yards.