On Saturday, Penn State lost on a last-second field goal to the No. 24 Northwestern Wildcats to fall to 7-3 on the season. Did Penn State deserve to win the game? Absolutely not. They played extremely poorly for basically the first three quarters of this game. The defense couldn't stop Justin Jackson and the offense had no rhythm to speak of. And yet, when the end of the third quarter and fourth quarter rolled around, they started picking it up. Sparked by a Geno Lewis touchdown pass that was nearly fumbled away, the Nittany Lions would roar back and take a 21-20 lead at the end of the final quarter. They would fail to pick up the necessary first down, giving the ball back to the Wildcats, who would in turn march down the field and kick the game-winning field goal.
But you know all that.
A better way to look at this, in my opinion, is to say that Penn State lost on the road in a game that started at 11:00 AM in their minds to a top-25 team that has beaten a playoff contender this year and was coming off of a bye. When you consider all of that and add in the fact that Penn State kept things close for the entire game despite being able to do nothing on offense until the final 18 minutes, this loss shouldn't sting nearly as badly.
Looking ahead, Penn State faces No. 15 Michigan at home in two weeks, and No. 14 Michigan State the week after to close the regular season. This past weekend, Michigan trounced Rutgers while Michigan State lost on a probably illegal, fluke play to Nebraska. Earlier in the season, Sparty took down the Wolverines on a blocked punt that would have ended the game. So basically, it's fair to say these teams are as evenly matched as they come.
Considering the circumstances of their loss to Northwestern, and how they've looked at other times this season, right now, do you think Penn State can beat either of the Michigan schools? Which is more beatable?