No. 11 Penn State outlasts Northwestern 17-7 in sloppy game

Updated Oct. 1, 2022 7:08 p.m. ET

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Nick Singleton had 21 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, Penn State’s defense forced three turnovers and the No. 11 Nittany Lions outlasted Northwestern 17-7 on Saturday.

Sean Clifford completed 10 of 20 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and Kaytron Allen added 86 rushing yards on 21 carries to help Penn State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) stay unbeaten heading into an off week.

Both teams struggled early, combining for six turnovers in the first half after heavy rain drenched Beaver Stadium just before kickoff.

Penn State coughed up the ball twice on its first three drives. Xander Mueller recovered a Singleton fumble and Bryce Gallagher intercepted Clifford, but Penn State’s defense kept the Wildcats (1-3, 1-1) from taking advantage.


Northwestern gained just 13 yards in the first quarter and gave the ball back when Ji’Ayir Brown intercepted Ryan Hilinski and returned it to midfield.

Clifford led a quick, 5-play drive from there, and found tight end Brenton Strange open in the flat. Strange leapt over a defender at the goal line to make it 7-0 late in the first.

Hilinski didn’t complete his first pass until 10 minutes before halftime. Shortly afterward, a bad snap bounced at his feet and Penn State defensive end Nick Tarburton hopped on it.

The Nittany Lions turned that giveaway into points, too, when Singleton plowed in from two yards out seven plays later.

Singleton’s up and down day continued, with the freshman fumbling again Penn State’s next possession when Rod Heard drilled him behind the line of scrimmage. Cameron Mitchell recovered for the Wildcats. But they couldn’t block Tarburton.

Penn State’s end hit Hilinski two plays later to force another fumble. Linebacker Curtis Jacobs recovered to keep the score 14-0 at halftime.

The Nittany Lions held the Wildcats to just 31 rushing yards. Northwestern running back Evan Hull, who entered leading the country in yards from scrimmage, finished with 96.

Kicker Jake Pinegar added to Penn State’s lead with a 38-yard field goal with 14:29 left.


Northwestern: Northwestern has been plagued by turnovers all season. Saturday was no different. They gave the ball away nearly every time they had any momentum going. Meanwhile, Hull entered the game as the team’s leading receiver, but didn’t catch his first pass until late in the third quarter.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions’ are off next week before they travel to Michigan to face the No. 4 Wolverines on Oct. 15. They’ll have a lot to clean up.


Northwestern: Hosts Wisconsin on Oct. 8.

Penn State: Visits No. 4 Michigan on Oct. 15.


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