Matt Spriegel and Ollie Stone shared eight wickets as Northamptonshire's Second XI claimed the first-day honours against MCC Universities at Desborough on Wednesday.
Spriegel claimed 5-42 and Stone 3-46 to help dismiss the students for 194 - Luke Evans and Jack Goode picking up a wicket apiece.
The visitors would have struggled even more but for a solid knock of 85 from Jack Sterland.
Northamptonshire's reply got off to a good start courtesy of James Kettleborough (51) - and although skipper Rob Newton departed for 17 an unbroken stand between Christian Davis (40no) and Matthew Plater (28no) guided the County to 172-4 at the close - just 22 runs behind.
Play resumes on Thursday morning.