PSU's season got off to a rough start, suffering two heartbreaking losses to open O'Brien's tenure. But they have rebounded with three straight double-digit victories, including last week's Big Ten opener, a 28-point drubbing of Illinois. All of a sudden, PSU seems to be potential contenders in the Leaders Division -- a title that would be in name only due to the NCAA sanctions.
But Northwestern may present PSU's toughest test to date, as the Wildcats defeated three BCS non-conference opponents in September and also took care of business last week against Indiana. Pat Fitzgerald's team is led by Kain Colter, who is one of the country's top dual-threat options. In addition to Colter, quarterback Trevor Siemian was effective against the Hoosiers, throwing for 300-plus yards. The Penn State defense should provide much more resistance, however, and the Nittany Lions are slight favorites, playing at Beaver Stadium.
Game time, TV channel: 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point spread: Penn State favored by 3
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