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    Wildcats Open Season With 38-14 Victory Over Ohio

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Northwestern receiver Kim Thompson tries to catch a long pass in the second quarter at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Northwestern receiver Kim Thompson tries to catch a long pass in the second quarter at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Sept. 3, 2005

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    EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Brett Basanez threw two touchdown passes to Shaun Herbert and ran for another -- all in the first half -- as Northwestern rolled to a big lead Saturday and routed Ohio 38-14, spoiling Frank Solich's return to college coaching.

    Basanez's 3-yard TD run with 13 seconds left in the second quarter after the Wildcats had recovered a fumbled kickoff gave Northwestern a 31-7 halftime lead.

    Basanez completed 27-of-37 passes for 353 yards -- the fourth 300-yard passing game of his career -- and was 19-of-26 for 255 yards by the half. He played just one series of the fourth quarter before being replaced.

    Solich was fired after the 2003 season at Nebraska, despite a 9-3 record and 58-19 mark in six years. His debut with the Bobcats showed how far the program must come after just two winning seasons since 1982.

    On a warm Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 20,115 at Ryan Field, Northwestern may also have found their running back for the future.

    With Terrell Jordan out with a hamstring injury and after Saturday's starter Brandon Roberson hurt his ankle in the first quarter, freshman Tyrell Sutton -- Mr. Football in Ohio in 2004 -- took over.

    He gained 104 yards on 17 carries with a pair of TD runs, including a 20-yarder late in the third quarter that made it 38-7. He also had a 17-yard scoring run to wrap up an 88-yard drive in the second quarter that put the Wildcats ahead 17-0.

    The Wildcats' Barry Cofield then recovered a fumble by Ohio quarterback Austen Everson, and Northwestern hoped to build on its big lead.

    But when Basanez rolled out on the option and tried to pitch the ball to Jonathan Fields, Dion Byrum stole the ball in mid-air and raced 62 yards for a touchdown to get the Bobcats back in the game at 17-7 with 5:38 left in the half.

    But Bazanez regrouped quickly, completing six passes in a 74-yard drive with Herbert battling Tony Ward and coming up with deflection in the end zone for the 18-yard score and a 24-7 lead with 1:24 left in the half.

    It got worse for the Bobcats when Scott Mayle fumbled the ensuing kickoff and NU kicker Joel Howells recovered. A quick 29-yard drive capped by Basanez's TD run gave the Wildcats their commanding lead.

    Ohio just missed getting a momentum booster on the final play of the half when Mayle took a 58-yard pass from Everson but was tackled on 2-yard line by Marquice Cole as time expired.

    The Bobcats made it 38-14 with 10:54 left on Everson's 4-yard run at the end of a 68-yard drive.

    Basanez threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Herbert for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, capping an eight-play, 76-yard drive that got a big lift from a pass interference call on the Bobcats' T.J. Wright.

    Basanez's 50-yard pass to Kim Thompson and a personal foul on Ohio put the ball at the Bobcats' 4 in the first quarter. After two running plays failed to gain a yard, Basanez's pass to the end zone was broken up and Northwestern had to settle for Howells' 22-yard field goal.

    Northwestern vs. Ohio
    Post-Game Notes
    September 3, 2005
    Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.

    NORTHWESTERN GAME NOTES

    • Northwestern is now 70-44-4 (.611) in season-opening contests. Randy Walker has a 9-6-1 record in openers in his collegiate coaching career, and is 4-3 in openers with the Wildcats.

    • Northwestern extended its home winning streak to six games. The Wildcats have not lost a game at Ryan Field since falling 30-21 to Arizona State on Sept. 11, 2004. NU's six-game home victory string is its longest since its school-record 12-game winning streak in the mid-1990s (1995-97).

    • The Wildcats improve to 2-1 all-time vs. Ohio and are 8-8-1 against all MAC opponents.

    • NU's 28 points in the second quarter are the most in a 15-minute period by a Randy Walker-coached Wildcat team.

    • QB Brett Basanez's 353 passing yards today was his third-highest single-game total at Northwestern. It marked the fourth time he has exceeded 300 yards in a game as a Wildcat. He also finished with 366 yards of total offense, his fourth-highest total as a Wildcat.

    • With his 353 passing yards, Basanez eclipsed the 7,000-yard career passing mark in the first quarter and moved closer to becoming Northwestern's all-time leading passer. He now has 7,311 career passing yards and is 177 yards shy of becoming the Wildcats' career leader.

    • Basanez connected with nine different receivers today. Eight of those nine receivers caught at least two passes. Basanez's 27 completions give him 626 for his career, 18 short of NU's all-time mark of 644 (Len Williams, 1990-93).

    • Basanez started his 29th consecutive game at quarterback and the 35th of his career.

    • WR Mark Philmore has caught at least one pass in 30 straight games, the same number he has played in at Northwestern.

    • True freshman RB Tyrell Sutton turned in one of the top career-opening rushing performances by a Wildcat, gaining 104 yards and scoring two touchdowns. He scored on runs of 17 and 20 yards. Sutton also totaled 23 receiving yards on a pair of catches for 127 all-purpose yards.

    • True freshmen Sutton (2 for 23 yards), WR Rasheed Ward (2-32) and WR Eric Peterman (2-18) all caught their first career passes today.

    • WR Kim Thompson finished with a career-best five receptions for a career-most 99 yards. His 99 receiving yards led all NU receivers. His 50-yard reception was the longest of his career.

    • WR Shaun Herbert's two receiving touchdowns is a career single-game best. He now has scored three career touchdowns. Herbert's 93 receiving yards was his second-best single-game effort. Hisgame-high seven catches equals a career single-game high (he had seven vs. Penn State in 2003).

    • Senior SAF Frederic Tarver notched the Wildcats' first interception of the season and the first of his career. He was making his first collegiate start in place of injured Bryan Heinz who is out for the year.

    • With nine tackles today, LB Tim McGarigle now has 398 for his career, moving him into fifth place on Northwestern's career stops list. McGarigle is the nation's top returning tackler from a year ago.

    • CB Marquice Cole's eight tackles today are a single-game best.

    • LB Adam Kadela recorded his first career quarterback sack today.

    • Northwestern's defense did not allow Ohio to convert a third-down conversion. The Bobcats were 0-of-9 on third-down attempts.

    • With the exception of a 58-yard pass play on the final play of the first half, Northwestern held the Bobcats to 181 yards of offense on 50 plays (3.6 yards per play). Northwestern held Ohio to 62 rushing yards (2.7 ypc).

    OHIO GAME NOTES

    • Ohio lost its season opener for the first time since 2002 when it fell 27-14 at Pittsburgh. The Bobcats play Pittsburgh next weekend in Athens.

    • Ohio used six true freshmen in today's game (Brandon Peterson, Mark Parson, Jayson White, Jameson Hardtke, Josh Lueck and Tommy Stuck).

    • CB Dion Byrum's fumble recovery (snared Basanez's option pitch) for a score marked his first career touchdown.

    • Jameson Hartke's quarterback sack in the third quarter is the first in his career.

    • Brandon Peterson and Robert Preston each made their first career reception today.