Rapid Reaction: Little to complain about in Northwestern’s 27-0 win over Minnesota

Alex Putterman, Web Editor

What went right: The passing game, the rushing game, the defensive front seven, the secondary, the special teams. So, just about everything.

This was a dominant performance from No. 16 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) in just about every facet. Redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson had his best game of the season, completing 14 of 19 passes for 128 yards and rushing for two touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Justin Jackson carried 20 times for 120 yards and, with the game out of hand, was able to gain some much-needed rest in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats’ defense was dominant, forcing two turnovers, sacking Minnesota’s quarterbacks three times and returning a fumble for a touchdown.

Even special teams got in on the party, with Miles Shuler returning a punt to the Minnesota five-yard line to set up a touchdown in the second quarter.

Overall, it would have been hard to imagine a more impressive performance in NU’s Big Ten opener.

What went wrong: Ummmm, the snapping wasn’t that good?

If we have to nitpick, the Cats’ offense wasn’t exactly stellar, with only three drives of 40 or more yards. Despite Thorson’s promising performance, the passing game still leaves something to be desired.

Also, kicker Jack Mitchell missed a 41-yard field goal off the uprights, but that’s hard to complain about.

And that’s about it.

What it means: It means NU is a legitimate Big Ten West contender. Minnesota is not a bad team, and the Cats spanked them almost from the opening whistle.

NU heads to Michigan next weekend for a battle of ranked teams, and if the Cats win we can safely talk about them as a legitimate top-15 team.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AlexPutterman