Penn State road woes continue

Written by Craig Rhodes and the Associated Press | Nov 8, 2015 8:14 AM

Photo by (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) passes during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

(Evanston, IL) -- A slow start, penalties, allowing a kickoff return touchdown, a costly interception, head-scratching clock management,.. you name it and Penn State did it yesterday in their 23-21 loss to Northwestern.

In the end it was Jack Mitchell's 35-yard field goal with nine seconds left that sealed the dramatic win for the Wildcats.

Backup quarterback Zack Oliver passed for one touchdown and ran for another, and Justin Jackson rushed for 186 yards for Northwestern against the highly touted Lion rush defense.

Solomon Vault added a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 2:04 left in the first half for Northwestern, which is No. 21 in the College Football Playoff rankings and won its second straight after consecutive losses.

Oliver replaced Clayton Thorson after Thorson was hit with 3:09 left in the first quarter by Penn State's Carl Nassib.

The Nittany Lions slept through much of the first half and despite their self-destructive ways battled back in the second half to eventually lead late in the game 21-20.  But a final clutch drive by the Wildcats set up the deciding kick.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was 21 of 40 for 205 yards and a late interception that may have cost the Lions a game clinching field goal.  Running back Saquon Barkley ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Penn State now has a week off before hosting Michigan at Beaver Stadium on November 21st.

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