Rapid Recap: Western Michigan 22, Northwestern 21

by Tim Balk 0 Comments
Rapid Recap: Western Michigan 22, Northwestern 21
(Keshia Johnson/The Daily Northwestern)

Northwestern found itself in a slugfest with Western Michigan, as a retooled NU defense struggled to keep one of the MAC’s most dynamic offenses off the field, and a late goal line fumble from NU sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson sealed the Cats’ fate in a 22-21 home loss.

Western Michigan controlled the ball for much of the day, finishing with 39:04 time of possession. The Broncos held the ball for most of the second quarter during a 19-play, 10:08 drive that ended in a field goal, and later seemed to break the back of the NU defense with a quick six play, 72-yard touchdown drive that gave Western Michigan a 13-7 to start the second half.

But, after the two teams traded three-and-outs, Justin Jackson raced 46 yards a few minutes later to push NU back into the lead. Western Michigan responded with another long drive, covering 63 yards on 16 plays before kicking a field goal in the final seconds of the third quarter.

Again, Jackson and the Cats’ offense responded. With a drive highlighted by a 37 pitch-and-catch from Thorson to Jackson and punctuated by a one-yard touchdown run from Jackson, the Cats took a 21-16 lead.

Once more, Western Michigan responded with a long scoring drive. The Broncos went 75 yards on 12 plays, eventually arriving in the end zone to take a 22-21 lead with 5:38 left in the game.

NU looked poised to respond minutes later, as the Cats slung their way to the goal line, but Thorson’s fumble on the goal line was recovered by Western Michigan in the end zone.

Western Michigan ran out the clock to win the game, continuing to show an ability to stay on the field with third down conversions with 2:45 and 1:13 left on the clock.

A big day from Justin Jackson was wasted in the defeat. Jackson scored a career high three touchdowns.

It was Western Michigan’s first win over a Big Ten team since 2008.

Northwestern stats to know: 

  • Justin Jackson: 23 carries for 129 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns; 2 receptions for 47 yards
  • Clayton Thorson: 15-for-22 with 196 passing yards, 5 carries for -8 yards
  • Brett Walsh: First career sack
  • Warren Long: OUT with an upper body injury
  • Hunter Niswander: 3 punts for an average of 51 yards

Western Michigan stats to know:

  • Zach Terrell: 26-for-36 with 218 yards passing and one touchdown
  • Corey Davis: 7 receptions for 70 yards

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