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Northwestern Edges Closer To Bowl Game With Victory Over Purdue

Stan Jastrzebski

Missing some of its top receivers and playing a team fighting for its postseason life, Purdue couldn’t afford many mistakes Saturday. Five turnovers proved way too many to overcome on the way to a 38-14 loss.

Northwestern scored 17 points off Boilermaker turnovers and rushed for 237 yards, including 147 yards and two touchdowns from freshman Justin Jackson.

Purdue’s first possession of the ball came on an interception by Danny Ezechukwu just nine seconds into the game. But when the Purdue offense had the ball, it struggled to advance.

The Boilers gained only 129 yards in the first half and couldn’t generate any points off of Northwestern’s two turnovers.

As has been the case with Frankie Williams and Landon Feichter in earlier games this season, Ezechukwu stood out as the defense’s lone stalwart, but couldn’t hold back the Wildcats by himself, even after one of the NU offense’s key starters was hurt.

Quarterback Trevor Siemian was injured on a fourth-and-one attempt early in the second quarter and pulled from the game. Backup Zack Oliver had difficulty completing passes immediately after Siemian was taken out, but picked up passing yards in the second half and later ran for a score.

Purdue’s rushing attack had another tough day, averaging less than two yards per carry and generating just 61 yards.

Purdue honored its senior players before the game – a group whose last four years have seen an at-home record of 12-16.

Northwestern (5-6, 3-4 in the Big Ten) came into West Lafayette off a 43-40 win over Notre Dame and must beat Illinois next weekend to become bowl eligible.

Purdue (3-8, 1-6) faces Indiana University (3-8, 0-7) at Bloomington next Saturday for the Old Oaken Bucket.

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