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Rapid Recap: Northwestern 37, Maryland 21

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Rapid Recap: Northwestern 37, Maryland 21

Clayton Thorson passes downfield. The junior tossed for 293 yards against Maryland.

Clayton Thorson passes downfield. The junior tossed for 293 yards against Maryland.

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Clayton Thorson passes downfield. The junior tossed for 293 yards against Maryland.

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Clayton Thorson passes downfield. The junior tossed for 293 yards against Maryland.

Max Schuman, Gameday Editor

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Football


COLLEGE PARK, Md. — For a day, Northwestern’s offensive woes were forgotten.

The Wildcats (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) racked up 531 yards Saturday as they powered to a 37-21 win over Maryland (3-3, 1-2) on the road. Junior quarterback Clayton Thorson bounced back from a nightmare performance on homecoming weekend, senior running back Justin Jackson broke the program record for career rushing, and NU’s defense contributed enough stops to pull out the team’s first Big Ten win.

After a slow start in the first quarter, the Cats came alive offensively to close out the half with a 24-14 lead. NU squandered scoring chances in the second half, but the Terrapins could only mount one scoring drive after the break to send the Cats home with a victory.

Takeaways

1. NU kept throwing until it worked. Undeterred by a 3-for-9 start from Thorson, capped by an interception in its own territory, NU threw the ball early and often Saturday. By the final whistle, Thorson had notched 49 pass attempts, his highest mark of the season. As the game went on, the Cats’ signal-caller settled in somewhat, throwing for almost 300 yards by repeatedly connecting on underneath passes. Thorson’s effective play, combined with a solid showing from the offensive line, helped NU hold the ball for more than 35 minutes and grind down the Terrapins.

2. The Cats played a disciplined defensive game against the run. NU did a good job bottling up a dangerous Maryland spread running game. The Cats held the Terrapins’ running back tandem, Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison, to 51 yards combined on the ground. Third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager played well enough to give Maryland a chance, but NU’s discipline on option plays and runs outside helped shut down an important part of the host’s offense.

3. Charlie Kuhbander can kick the ball. The freshman had just four field goal attempts coming into the day, as coach Pat Fitzgerald elected to go for it on fourth downs frequently through NU’s first five games. But Saturday was a different story, as Kuhbander delivered by hitting all three of his field goals and four of his extra points. With a lot of relatively even matchups remaining on the schedule, having a reliable kicker could be huge for the Cats. Kuhbander looked the part on Saturday.

Stats
-NU: 30 first downs
-Maryland receiver D.J. Moore: 210 yards receiving
-Jackson: 171 yards rushing

Email: maxschuman2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @maxschuman28

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