No. 20 Penn State Takes Down Wisconsin 22-10 Thanks To Stifling Defense

No. 20 Penn State (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) welcomed Wisconsin (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for more Big Ten action. After giving up a 71-yard rushing touchdown on Wisconsin’s third play from scrimmage, Brent Pry’s defense really cleaned things up, allowing just 10 passing yards in the first half en route to a 22-10 victory.

Ricky Rahne’s offense never got firing on all cylinders, but the Nittany Lions’ defense was stingy enough to hold a lead throughout most of the game.

How It Happened

Penn State took the opening kick, but went three-and-out. It didn’t take Wisconsin long to score, though, as Jonathan Taylor rushed 71 yards for a touchdown on the Badgers’ third play from scrimmage. Wisconsin took a 7-0 lead with 11:04 remaining in the first quarter.

Penn State would even things up later in the first, however. McSorley, Sanders, and the offense drove 75 yards on eight plays, ultimately scoring on a 13-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Thompkins. Penn State’s next drive would end in an impressive 49-yard field goal from Pinegar and the Nittany Lions would carry a 10-7 lead into the first intermission.

Miles Sanders had big drive in the second quarter, breaking out for 17 yards and 23 yards on the ground. Sanders himself leaped over the scrum on the goal line for a one-yard score. Pinegar missed the point after, but the Nittany Lions took a 16-7 lead with 8:09 remaining in the half.

The offense got into scoring range after McSorley hit Jahan Dotson for a 30-yard gain on 3rd and 17. On the next play, however, McSorley would exit the game after seemingly injuring his knee again. Stevens, running the show, was unable to put any points on the board for the drive.

Penn State would take a 16-9 lead into the half. After Jonathan Taylor’s big run in the first quarter, the defense held strong. 71 of the 134 rushing yards from the Badgers came on that single run, and Brent Pry’s group allowed just 10 yards through the air. 

Wisconsin scored first in the second half, driving 65 yards on 10 plays before Gaglianone hit a 28-yard field goal to make it 16-10 in favor of James Franklin’s side. Pinegar would get another field goal of his own with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter, hitting a 42-yarder to give Penn State a 19-10 lead.

Pinegar would strike again with 7:23 in the fourth quarter. A 23-yard field goal attempt gave Penn State a 22-10 lead. 

Oddly enough, the Badgers took their time on the ensuing offensive drive, chewing up nearly five minutes of clock before turning the ball over on downs with 2:44 to play in the fourth quarter. Penn State then botched a snap while trying to run out the clock, but Nick Scott intercepted a 4th down pass with 34 seconds left to seal the game.


  • Tommy Stevens doesn’t quite have the same downfield awareness as Trace McSorley. Scrambling to avoid pressure after McSorley left the game with an injury, Stevens had a wide open Hamler downfield for what would have been an easy touchdown but never saw the streaking receiver. Maybe it can be attributed to a lack of playing time, but Penn State should’ve been up 23-7 at the half.
  • The student section looked atrocious all afternoon. After halftime, a good portion of the students left, which certainly didn’t help. Maybe students are fed up about the play of the team or they just didn’t want to brave the cold, but it was “Sad!”
  • Ricky Rahne just does not throw the ball up the seams. We saw some bubble screens from the offense for the first time this season, which is only more proof that, for whatever reason, the Nittany Lions don’t feel comfortable taking shots downfield.

What’s Next?

Penn State will travel to Rutgers to take on the Scarlet Knights on Saturday, November 17. 

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected].

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