Rapid Reaction: Northwestern clobbers Eastern Illinois 41-0

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Zack Laurence/The Daily Northwestern

Running back Warren Long leaps over diving Eastern Illinois defenders. The junior would finish with 72 rushing yards on the day, contributing to the Wildcats’ dominant offensive performance.

Hayley Glatter, Managing Editor

Northwestern looked like a top-flight team Saturday, silencing questions about whether last week’s win against then-No. 21 Stanford was merely a fluke.

After notching a field goal on the opening drive, the Wildcats never looked back, ultimately trouncing Eastern Illinois 41-0.

The blowout win was made possible by dominant performances on both sides of the ball, with freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson going 11-16 through the air, evening out his less-than-perfect passing game from last week. Thorson avoided big turnovers and made key completions throughout the game as the Cats’ point total skyrocketed.

The running game was also impressive for NU, with the team rushing for a total of 344 yards. Per usual, running back Justin Jackson was reliable, rushing for 78 yards and finding the end zone once.

On the other side of the ball, the Cats’ defensive unit made one emphatic stop after another, holding the Panthers to just 68 passing yards and 70 yards on the ground. Though defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo muscled a key sack (one of three for NU), the true star of the defensive unit was cornerback Matthew Harris. The junior pulled down two interceptions and ran one back for an electrifying 71-yard touchdown.

There was no question who the better team was today, and Northwestern should head into next week’s road matchup against Duke with the added confidence that only a convincing shutout can bring.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of sacks NU’s defense accounted for. The Cats had three sacks. The Daily regrets the error.

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