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Penn State-Northwestern History By The Numbers

When No. 11 Penn State and Northwestern kick off on Saturday, it’ll be the 20th time the two teams go head-to-head.

The Nittany Lions boast a 14-5 record against the Wildcats dating back to the first game between the two squads in 1993. In the most recent game in 2017, Penn State dominated Northwestern en route to a 31-7 victory in Evanston. Similarly, in the first-ever meeting, the Nittany Lions blew the Wildcats out 43-21 in Evanston.

Penn State has won seven of its last nine games against Northwestern, with the only two losses coming in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015. The game in 2014 was the last time the two teams played in State College, which resulted in a 29-6 Northwestern victory.

Speaking of matchups in State College, Penn State has generally dominated the Wildcats in games played at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions own a 7-2 record in home games against the Wildcats and have outscored them 289-135 in those nine matchups. Similarly, Penn State boasts a 7-3 record in games played at Ryan Field.

We previously mentioned Penn State’s recent dominance against Northwestern, and the all-time series started off the same way. The Nittany Lions won seven of the first eight matchups over the Wildcats by a combined score of 290-140.

With the game taking place on October 1, this will be the seventh time the two teams face off in October. Interestingly enough, Penn State has never lost to Northwestern in the month, compiling a 6-0 record to this point and outscoring the Wildcats 225-107 during those games.

The longest winning streak in the all-time series belongs to Penn State. It put together a six-game winning streak between 2005 and 2012 and outscored Northwestern 209-122.

Penn State’s largest victory came in 2002 when it destroyed Northwestern 49-0 at Beaver Stadium. The Wildcats’ 29-6 victory in 2014 served as their largest margin of victory.

Since James Franklin took over as head coach, the Nittany Lions have played three games against the Wildcats, compiling a 1-2 record. Northwestern beat Penn State in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015, respectively, before Franklin captured his first win in 2017. In fact, dating back to his time at Vanderbilt, Franklin had actually lost three in a row to the Wildcats, with the win in 2017 serving as his first ever win over them.

Overall, in the 19 games between the two teams, Penn State has outscored Northwestern 571-352. That’s pretty dominant, folks.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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