Quarterback: Statistically, Trace McSorley has put up bigger numbers, but Saturday was arguably his best game of the season. In addition to completing 25 of 34 attempts for 245 yards and one touchdown, McSorley broke the Penn State record for consecutive completions in a game with 15. The record was previously 14, which was set by Kerry Collins in 1994.
Running Back: Saquon Barkley had negative rushing yards as late as the third quarter, but he righted the ship with a 53-yard touchdown run late in the third. The Heisman favorite finished with a modest 84 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He should’ve had three scores but dropped a reception in the end zone.
Wide Receiver: No one stole the show against the Wildcats. Saeed Blacknall led the team with 73 yards receiving, while DeAndre Thompkins and Juwan Johnson tied with six receptions each. Overall, this unit did what was asked of them. Nothing too flashy, but they were pretty consistent on the day.
Offensive Line: Northwestern’s defensive front got the best of PSU’s offensive line Saturday. In addition to keeping Barkley contained on basically all but one play, the Wildcats totaled 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. That’s the most this unit has allowed in both categories all season.
Defensive Line: Shaka Toney had two sacks on the day, while Curtis Cothran and Shareef Miller also had one sack each. One of the more impressive stats of the day: When the Wildcats had to get something going in the third quarter, Penn State held them to just 21 yards. That was mainly because of the defensive front.
Linebackers: Statistically, it was a quiet day for the linebackers, as Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith tied with just five tackles each. Koa Farmer had one tackle for loss, while Manny Bowen had two quarterback hurries. Solid day, nothing spectacular.
Defensive backs: Penn State held Thorson to just 142 yards passing on the day. Christian Campbell and Amani Oruwariye also had interceptions.
Special Teams: P Blake Gillikin continues to prove that he’s one of the best punters in the nation. On Saturday, he averaged 43 yards on five attempts, two of which were downed within the Northwestern six-yard line. However, K Tyler Davis missed another field goal on Saturday. He’s now 6 for 13 on the year.
Coaches: Joe Moorhead forced the ball to Barkley a bit too much in the first half. That frustrated fans at times, but he did a good job using Barkley as a decoy in the second half. Brent Pry once again put together a solid game plan.