Northwestern (1-3, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 11 Penn State (4-0, 1-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Penn State by 25 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Penn State leads 14-5.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Nittany Lions weren’t happy with their lackluster win against Central Michigan last week. They want to show more against a team they’ve historically beaten up on before an open date and visit to No. 4 Michigan on Oct. 15. The Wildcats, losers of three in a row, are looking to avoid their first 1-4 start since 2019. It hasn’t been all bad. Their losses have come in one-possession games, and coach Pat Fitzgerald has had success in Happy Valley before. His Wildcats won the last time they visited, in 2014.
Northwestern receivers vs. Penn State secondary. The Nittany Lions lead the country with 41 pass breakups. They’re playing more man-to-man coverage, aren't allowing big plays and aren’t taking penalties. Northwestern QB Ryan Hilinski is fourth among FBS players with 185 attempts and will need his wideouts to make plays through Penn State’s ball-hawking secondary.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Northwestern: Hilinski has been asked to do a lot. More of his throws need to find the end zone. He’s got just five touchdown passes, just one in the last two games.
Penn State: RB Nick Singleton yielded most of the work to fellow freshman Kaytron Allen last week and should be fresh. Singleton has emerged as one of the most explosive backs in the country and will be a handful for a Wildcat defense surrendering 161 rushing yards per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Northwestern RB Evan Hull leads the country with 170.3 scrimmage yards per game and has 370 rushing yards and 311 receiving yards. … LB Bryce Gallagher’s 23 solo tackles lead the Big Ten. … Northwestern outgained Miami (Ohio) 364 to 278 and allowed just 62 yards passing in a 17-14 loss last week. .. Penn State has four takeaways in each of its last two games. … The Nittany Lions have won seven of nine against the Wildcats. … Penn State’s Barney Amor is second among FBS punters with nine inside the 10. … TE Brenton Strange leads Penn State receivers with 15.1 yards per catch.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.