Wildcats Use Big Third Quarter to Demolish Purdue, 45-17
After struggling at times during the first half, the Wildcats headed into halftime at Ross-Ade Stadium up 14-10, needing to come out strong in the second half. Even though the Wildcats had the lead, the defense had struggled early on and Clayton Thorson had thrown two picks, one of which came in the red zone.
But Northwestern did exactly that in the second half, scoring a touchdown on the opening drive and never looking back as they put up 21 points in the third quarter and 10 more in the fourth to cruise to a 45-17 victory.
After receiving the kick to open the second half, Northwestern put together a 7-play, 71-yard drive, 66 of which came on the ground, to extend their lead to 21-10.
And just two plays later, after Anthony Walker Jr. picked off David Blough, the ‘Cats extended their lead to 28-10 as Clayton Thorson found Garrett Dickerson wide open over the middle for a 42-yard score.
Purdue would respond though with a big play of their own as Blough found Bilal Marshall 49 yards downfield for a score, but once again, the ‘Cats came right back, marching 74 yards for a score on Thorson’s two-yard run.
The Wildcats would finish the third quarter in the red zone, scoring on their first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter as Jackson walked into the end zone for his second score.
All-in-all, the Wildcats put up 269 yards of offense in the third quarter and 317 in the second half for a total of 605 yards on the day. Justin Jackson and John Moten IV both topped 100 yards on the ground, while Austin Carr was just eight-yards short of the century mark, with five catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the ‘Cats gave up 394 yards to the Boilermakers but just 17 points, forcing 4 turnovers, all interceptions. Anthony Walker Jr. led the ‘Cats with 12 tackles (7 solo) and an interception that keyed up a score.
With the win, the Wildcats move back to .500 on the season, just one win away from clinching bowl eligibility. Northwestern will travel to Minneapolis next Saturday to take on the Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium as they try to clinch their second consecutive bowl appearence.