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Matt Harris injury update: Northwestern cornerback expected to play against Penn State

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON — Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald expects cornerback Matt Harris to play Saturday against Penn State. Fitzgerald said so, but did not elaborate on Harris' injury, at his weekly press conference.

Harris was injured in Northwestern's Week 6 loss to Michigan when he took a knee to the helmet. He had to be carted off the field, but was alert and having conversations with teammates after the game.

Fitzgerald announced two days later that Harris would be out for the "foreseeable future," and said a good time for an update would be after the bye week.

Harris's return is a huge boost for the defense. With both Harris and Nick VanHoose on the outside, Northwestern can play press man coverage, which gives the defense more options elsewhere on the field. Without Harris, and with Keith Watkins and Marcus McShepard in his place on the outside, Northwestern's pass defense regressed. Harris will be key for NU against Penn State.