Northwestern dominated on both sides of the ball and accumulated over 600 yards of offense in a 45-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. The win evened the Cats record at 5-5, and kept it's bowl hopes. They finish out the season with games against Minnesota and Illinois, needing to win one of the two.
Leading only 14-10 at halftime, the Cats came alive in the 3rd quarter. Clayton Thorson threw for a TD and ran for another, and Justin Jackson added another on the ground to expand the lead to 35-17 after three quarters. Thorson finished 23 of 36 for 352 yards and three TD passes. He did throw two interceptions, but they turned out not to be costly.
Nine different players caught a pass for the Wildcats, with Austin Carr and Andrew Scanlan leading the way with five each. Carr added to his Big Ten-leading receiving numbers, hauling in the 5 catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. The two scores gave him 12 on the season, which ties the single season school record. With the way things are going, he should hold the record by himself when the season ends.
On the ground, two Wildcats ran for over 100 yards. Justin Jackson lead the way with 22 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Backup John Moten added 16 carries for 119 yards. The running game really came alive in the third quarter, and it quickly wore down the Purdue defense. With the 127 yards today, Jackson went over 1,000 for the third straight season.
The Wildcats defense came up big, picking off four Purdue passes. Montre Hartage had two of those, giving him four for the season to lead the team. Anthony Walker led the team with 12 tackles, giving him 80 for the season which is second on the team. Walker also had one of the four interceptions. Joe Gaziano rounded out the solid defensive effort with two sacks.
Next week's opponent, Minnesota (7-3), is coming off a 24-17 loss to #19 Nebraska. The Cats handled Minnesota last season, beating them 27-0 in Evanston. A repeat performance would get them that sixth win. The contest from Minneapolis starts at 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on The Big Ten Network.