Football: Clayton Thorson tears ACL, out several months


Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Clayton Thorson (left) embraces Justin Jackson as Thorson is carted off the field in the Music City Bowl. Thorson suffered a torn ACL.

Joseph Wilkinson, Sports Editor


Junior quarterback Clayton Thorson tore his ACL in Friday’s Music City Bowl, the athletic department announced Tuesday. He is scheduled to have surgery later this month.

Thorson’s right leg was injured after he caught a pass from redshirt freshman running back Jeremy Larkin on a trick play in the second quarter. He was tackled awkwardly and carted off the field. He did not return to the game but was on the sideline in the second half after X-rays came back negative.

Thorson’s injury throws Northwestern’s 2018 quarterback situation into uncertainty. Senior Matt Alviti finished the Music City Bowl and led the Wildcats to a 24-23 victory, but with Alviti graduating and Thorson likely out for at least the start of the 2018 season, the Wildcats will be left with four inexperienced options.

Sophomore T.J. Green threw one pass against Bowling Green in 2017, while redshirt freshman Aidan Smith, freshman Andrew Marty and incoming recruit Jason Whittaker have all yet to attempt a single pass in college.

Thorson has been entrenched as the starter for three years, only previously missing more than half a game when he was injured against Penn State in 2015. He threw for at least 2,800 yards during his sophomore and junior seasons while accounting for over 20 touchdowns in both of those years. His 44 passing touchdowns are tied for the most in NU history, and his 7,548 passing yards rank second in school history.

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