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Penn State Football Proves It Can Overcome Adversity In Northwestern Win

No. 6 Penn State ultimately won 41-13 against Northwestern Saturday in Evanston, but things weren’t so pretty for the Nittany Lions at the start of the game. Nick Singleton fumbled the opening kickoff for Penn State’s first turnover of the season, and Northwestern made the Nittany Lions trail twice in the first half, something that hadn’t happened to Penn State in the 2023 season.

Despite this, Penn State overcame the deficit and won by a significant margin. Doing so was a testament to the team’s mental toughness and ability to be resilient and overcome adversity.

“It’s a huge test,” quarterback Drew Allar said after the game. “I think we did a great job of just battling back…It’s not going to go as smoothly as you always want it to.”

It was a test that Penn State passed with flying colors. The Nittany Lions went into halftime tied 10-10 but seized control of the momentum when the defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half. This led to a 17-point third quarter from the offense, which followed with 14 more points in the fourth quarter.

“We were able to bounce back in the second half, and I think just learning from it in the future, just bouncing back more like early in the first and second quarter will really help us throughout future games,” Allar said.

Penn State is fortunate to have had the experience of trailing against a Big Ten team now rather than against Ohio State or Michigan, so it can learn from what happened despite having escaped with a victory. The game against Northwestern can serve as a blueprint for what to do if the team trails in the future, and Penn State now has the confidence boost having still won the game.

“It’s good knowing that we have a consistent team mindset,” center Hunter Nourzad said. “The fact that we can have a first half like that, and then finish the way we did, I think just speaks volumes to our persistence and just being able to keep driving and keep going no matter how tired we get.”

Penn State has done this throughout the season. It’s made fans question the game plan, especially in the first half. But by the middle or in the late third quarter, though, the Nittany Lions tend to pull away and seize control of the game.

“I think it’s a huge win because I mean, being on the road in the Big Ten – it’s never easy to win a game on no matter the team you’re going against or the environment you’re going into,” Allar said. “It’s definitely a good one for us that we can learn from.”

Ultimately, Saturday served as a learning experience for Penn State. The Nittany Lions proved they can go on the road, trail by a touchdown against a feisty team, and still rally to win by a big margin. Now, Franklin’s team can go into the bye week assured that they have what it takes to overcome adversity.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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