NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

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    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 over Northwestern.

    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 games.

    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.