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NCAA Game Summary - Penn State at Northwestern



(Saturday, October 31st)

Final Score: (12) Penn State 34, Northwestern 13

Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - Daryll Clark threw for 274 yards and a score and ran for another, as 12th-ranked Penn State rallied for 21 fourth-quarter points to defeat Northwestern, 34-13, at Ryan Field.

Evan Royster ran for 118 yards on 15 carries, including a 69-yard scoring scamper, and Clark completed 22-of-31 passes with a 53-yard scoring strike to Derek Moye, who totaled 123 yards on six catches.

Collin Wagner booted a pair of field goals early on in a close game for the Nittany Lions (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten), who have won five straight and avoided a letdown a week before their highly-anticipated tilt with Ohio State.

PSU was coming off a big 35-10 victory against Michigan in Ann Arbor last week and improved to 7-1 over their last eight road games dating back to last season.

Mike Kafka rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown and threw for 128 yards on 14- of-18 attempts, but came up lame in the second quarter with what looked to be a hamstring issue and did not return.

Junior backup Dan Persa came on to complete 14-of-23 passes for 115 yards and also ran for 42 yards. Zeke Markshausen made nine grabs for 60 yards while Andrew Brewer was the recipient of six passes for 65 yards.

Stefan Demos connected on 2-of-3 field goal attempts for the Wildcats (5-4, 2-3), who were coming off a dramatic 29-28 win last weekend against Indiana. NU used a late field goal to complete a 25-point comeback, the largest in program history, for its third win in four games.

Northwestern played the Lions tough and held a 13-10 lead at halftime, but PSU's defense tightened up in the second half and the offense finally started to click late in the game.

Wagner kicked a 23-yard field goal to finish off Penn State's opening drive of the second half -- an 11-play, 53-yard effort buoyed by a 27-yard completion to Justin Brown.

The Nittany Lions' defense forced a punt deep in Wildcat territory in the waning moments of the third, setting up the visitors' go-ahead score. Clark got the offense on track and quickly moved 58 yards in seven plays with Brandon Beachum's two-yard TD run allowing for a 20-13 advantage.

"We played a little more aggressively in the second half, [and] did a better job with the pass rush, regardless of whether Kafka was in there or some other kid," said Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. "I don't think we had quite realized how good they are offensively and it took us some time to speed up the tempo."

Penn State then blew the game open with its next two plays from scrimmage going for touchdowns.

A quick three-and-out from Northwestern had the Lions back in the end zone as Clark led Moye up the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown. The Wildcats punted back to Penn State and Royster ripped off a 69-yard run for a 34-13 margin with a little under nine minutes to play.

Northwestern had drives of 51 and 43 yards stopped inside the red zone. Just outside the two-minute mark, Persa was sacked by Kevion Latham at the six and fumbled the ball away, and the Lions ran out the clock from there.

"For three quarters we gave ourselves an opportunity to compete to win. In the last 15 minutes we gave up too many big plays and didn't move the football," said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. "There weren't a whole lot of answers besides us not executing and us not doing the things we needed to do both coaching and playing-wise. We've got to find a way to finish."

Wagner opened the scoring by capping the Nittany Lions' initial drive with a 32-yard field goal. Kafka coughed up the ball on the second play, handing PSU the ball at Northwestern's 23-yard line.

The Wildcats made good on their second possession, though, moving the ball 65 yards in 17 plays with Demos' 34-yard boot tying the game. NU set out on its next scoring drive in the final moments of the first. Kafka easily moved the ball into Penn State territory with consecutive completions of 15, 13 and 16 yards before taking it in himself for a seven-yard score and a 10-3 lead 2 1/2 minutes into the second.

However, the senior signal-caller left with a hamstring issue on the Wildcats' next drive that led to a punt, and Penn State evened the score at 10 on a two- yard keeper from Clark.

Penn State's three-and-out inside the final minute of the half gave Northwestern good field position and a halftime lead as Persa was able to move the offense within range for a 45-yard Demos field goal.

Game Notes

The Wildcats and Lions clashed for the first since 2006, with PSU holding a 10-3 lead in the head-to-head series...Beachum ended with 25 rushing yards and scored his first ever collegiate touchdown...Chaz Powell had four catches for 36 yards and Graham Zug added three grabs for 28 yards in the win...Penn State outgained the Wildcats, 437-371...The Nittany Lion defense recorded six sacks while Sean Lee had a game-high 12 tackles. Nate Williams topped the Northwestern defense with seven stops...Penn State is 11-0 when Royster rushes for 100 or more yards.

10/31 22:26:50 ET


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