Recap: Purdue vs. Northwestern
West Lafayette, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Jackson ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns as the Northwestern Wildcats topped Purdue, 38-14, in Big Ten Conference action at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Jackson has now eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in his freshman campaign, and the Wildcats (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) leaned on him after starting quarterback Trevor Siemian exited in the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return. Northwestern can become bowl eligible with a win over Illinois at home next week.
The Boilermakers (3-8, 1-6) suffered their fifth straight loss despite having two weeks to prepare for this one. Austin Appleby completed 26-of-48 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Akeem Hunt caught one of those touchdowns but was bottled up in the running game, as he finished with only 60 yards on 20 carries.
Siemian was intercepted by Danny Ezechukwu on the second play of the game, but Appleby gave the ball right back to Northwestern three plays later as he was picked by Jimmy Hall at the Wildcats 19. Siemian then capitalized with a 25- yard touchdown pass to Dan Vitale to give NU an early 7-0 lead.
Later in the opening frame, Jackson scored on a nine-yard run to make it a 14-0 game.
The Wildcats special teams came up with a big play early in the second quarter when Tony Jones returned a punt 64 yards for another TD to stretch the margin to 21-0.
Jack Mitchell tacked on a 32-yard field goal for NU at the 3:23 mark of the second quarter. That drive was set up by a sack and strip deep in Purdue territory, although the Wildcats had to settle for a field goal after going three-and-out.
The Boilermakers answered with a 19-yard scoring strike from Appleby to Hunt to close the gap to 24-7 heading into intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Wildcats pulled away with two more TDs in the fourth; a one-yard plunge by Zack Oliver at the 14:06 mark and then a 68- yard scamper by Jackson with 9:14 to play.
Appleby closed out the scoring with an eight-yard TD to Justin Sinz in the final minute.
The Wildcats took control early thanks to four first-half takeaways along with that punt return.Game Notes