Penn State Offense Struggles in Loss to Northwestern
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Trevor Siemian ran for three touchdowns and passed for 258 yards to lead Northwestern past Penn State 29-6 on Saturday.
Siemian, who was 21 of 37, and the Wildcats (2-2, 1-0) established control early with short passes and ball-control offense that netted 361 yards.
Northwestern's defense held Penn State (4-1, 1-1) to 50 rushing yards and just 266 overall, pressuring Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg all game.
On the next possession, Xavier Washington sacked Hackenberg, forcing a fumble. Jack Mitchell's ensuing 23-yard field goal made it a three-score margin. Siemian's one-yard plunge set the final score.
Northwestern's Matthew Harris was carted off late in the third after a collision with Hackenberg. Harris was responsive and offered the thumbs-up signal while leaving the field.
Ten Wildcat receivers caught Siemian passes, including seven by Dan Natale for 113 yards. Justin Jackson rushed for 50 yards and Warren Long carried nine times for 49 yards.
Any mistake the Wildcats made on offense or special teams to give Penn State a chance at gaining momentum was quickly corrected by their defense.
Penn State's Jesse Della Valle returned a punt 41 yards to Northwestern's 30 but the Wildcats limited the damage to a 36-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.
The Wildcats limited Penn State to 18 rushing yards through three quarters, including nine carries from by Hackenberg who was pressured up the middle the entire game.
The Wildcats' Jack Mitchell missed a 44-yard field goal on their first possession but dominated the rest of the half by rolling up 232 yards, 202 in the air.
A 42-yard punt return by Miles Shuler and 28-yard pass from Siemian to Mike McHugh set up Siemian's first TD. An 18-yard pass to Tony Jones on the next series keyed Siemian's second scoring dive.
Northwestern's two first quarter touchdowns marked the first points scored against Penn State in the first quarter this season. Northwestern totaled just seven points in the opening quarter in its three previous games.
Penn State dodged two bullets when Northwestern's Christian Salem, the team's holder on field goals, was stopped short of the goal line on a fake field goal attempt, and a fumble returned for a touchdown by Matt Harris was ruled an incomplete pass after review.
Ficken booted a 42-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half.
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