One of the biggest challenges Penn State will face during its trip to Evanston, Ill., is containing Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa.
“He is real smart,” PSU cornerback D'Anton Lynn said. “He goes through all his reads and we have to try and keep him in the pocket.”
He continued, “He can also run, so we have to watch for that.”
And because of these skills, Persa and the Wildcats are hard to prepare for.
“Its real frustrating,” Lynn said. “They do a good job with finding the open space, and they are okay with four or five yard gains. When you get them covered, they put one over your heads.’
He added, “They play really smart.”
The Wildcats are led not only by the All Big-Ten Persa, but also by backup quarterback/WR Kain Coulter.
“Anytime you prepare for two quarterbacks it makes it tough,” Lynn said. “They both can run and they both can pass, and they can do a lot of trick plays.”
But that is nothing that the Penn State defense can’t handle according to safety Drew Astorino.
"I think we've been playing well," Astorino said of the secondary. "We need to tackle better. We have made some plays. We have to make more. I don't think we're satisfied with our play. We are playing pretty good. We just need to keep it up."
Along those line, the Nittany Lions know they can't rest on the laurels of starting the season 6-1.
"There's tons of room (to improve). Absolutely tons of room,” Astorino said. "I can go on and on about the things that our defense can do. Have we played well? Yes. Is there room to improve? Absolutely. And I'm excited about that."
They look to take one more step toward their goals Saturday in Evanston.
“You start thinking you’re good, that’s when you get smacked around and realize you’re not as good as you thought you were,” Astorino said. “We gave up way too many big plays against Purdue. We can do better in the scramble. The secondary’s got to tackle better. I could go on and on about the things we could do better.”