Noah Cain rushed for the go-ahead touchdown, while Jaquan Brisker and Ji’Ayir Brown made late interceptions as No. 19 Penn State edged No. 12 Wisconsin 16-10 in Big Ten play on Saturday at Madison, Wis.
Sean Clifford completed 18 of 33 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown as the Nittany Lions (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) defeated the Badgers for the fifth straight time and seventh in the past eight meetings. Jahan Dotson caught five passes for 102 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown.
Chez Mellusi rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries for the Badgers (0-1, 0-1). Graham Mertz was 22-for-37 passing for 185 yards and two interceptions for Wisconsin.
The Badgers controlled the clock to 42:51, ran 95 plays to Penn State’s 51 and held a 365-297 edge in total yards. But they committed three turnovers and the Nittany Lions didn’t have any.
Penn State took the 16-10 lead on Cain’s 2-yard run with 9:17 remaining. But Jordan Stout missed the extra point when it clanked off the left upright.
The Badgers reached the 2-yard line on their next to last drive and eventually faced fourth-and-goal from the 8. Brisker was ready in the middle of the field and intercepted Mertz’s pass at the 2 with 2:16 left.
Wisconsin later got the ball back and was at the Penn State 32 with 10 seconds left. Mertz threw deep downfield, and Brown made the game-ending interception.
Wisconsin played without starting linebacker Leo Chenal, who revealed prior to the game that he tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier, Collin Larsh booted a 43-yard field goal with 13:36 remaining to give Wisconsin a 10-7 advantage. Stout tied the score with a 24-yarder with 11:26 left.
After having just 43 yards in a scoreless first half, Penn State went to a no-huddle attack on its first possession of the third quarter and hurriedly went 86 yards on four plays.
A Wisconsin blown coverage allowed Dotson to be wide open downfield and he caught the pass for a 49-yard score with 12:08 left.
The Badgers answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie the score 7-all. Mellusi scored the touchdown on a 3-yard run with 8:01 remaining.
Wisconsin was unable to get on the scoreboard in the first half despite holding a 13-1 edge in first downs.
The Badgers squandered two prime scoring chances in the second quarter, beginning when Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie blocked Larch’s 25-yard field-goal attempt with 13:21 left.
Later in the period, the Badgers were at the Nittany Lions’ 8 when Mertz and Mellusi botched the handoff exchange. Penn State’s Nick Tarburton recovered the ball at the 13 with 4:59 left.
–Field Level Media
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