Clayton Thorson, Anthony Walker lead Northwestern to 10-3 lead over Stanford

Alex Putterman, Web Editor

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The first half could not have gone too much better for Clayton Thorson and Northwestern.

The redshirt freshman quarterback looked comfortable in the pocket and scampered for a 42-yard touchdown run as Northwestern grabbed a 10-3 halftime lead over No. 21 Stanford.

Making his first career start, Thorson completed 6 of 14 passes for 42 yards to go with 63 rushing yards, including his huge touchdown.

Even more impressive than the rookie quarterback was the Wildcats’ defense, led by sophomore Anthony Walker. After ceding a field goal on Stanford’s first drive, the Wildcats clamped down, holding the Cardinal off the board the rest of the half.

Walker led the way with six tackles, including 2.5 for loss and an assist on a sack. Senior safety Traveon Henry also recorded a key sack.
NU’s first scoring drive, late in the first quarter, was led by Thorson and sophomore running back Justin Jackson, who finished the half with 66 yards on 14 carries. Junior Jack Mitchell put NU on the board and tied the score at 3 with a 31-yard field goal.

Thorson’s 42-yard run capped a 10-play, 80-yard run for the Cats.

Overall, the Cats outgained the Cardinal 173 yards to 87, with most of the difference coming on the ground.

NU also caused the only turnover of the half, a fumble forced by Henry and senior linebacker Drew Smith. The Cats subsequently took over in good field position, but Mitchell missed a 48-yard field goal.

Twitter: @AlexPutterman