This was the first meeting between Illinois State and Northwestern, and the second time Northwestern has faced a Missouri Valley Conference foe (NU played Southern Illinois in 2008). NU recorded its fourth straight win over a FCS opponent, and has outscored those four teams (Northeastern, SIU, Towson and Illinois State) by a combined total of 144-24.
Northwestern improved to 2-0 for the fourth straight season. The Wildcats also won their home opener for a fourth successive year.
NU's 34-point margin of victory was its biggest since defeating No. 22 Michigan State 49-14 (35 points) on Oct. 22, 2005.
NU has won five consecutive regular-season games dating to Nov. 7, 2009 (17-10 win over Iowa).
NU has won 10 of its last 11 nonconference contests.
Northwestern has now scored in double figures in 36 consecutive games.
Northwestern's attendance figure for its 2010 home opener was nearly 43 percent higher than last year's home opener vs. Towson.
The Wildcats held Illinois State to three points-the fewest points allowed by a Northwestern team since the 'Cats shut out Northeastern on Sept. 1, 2007-after the Redbirds opened the season with 55 points in their opener. Northwestern held Illinois State to 1 yard of total offense in the third quarter.
For the second straight game, Northwestern scored on its opening possession, moving 89 yards on 15 plays. SB Drake Dunsmore's 4-yard TD catch from QB Dan Persa capped the drive. NU tallied a field goal on its opening drive at Vanderbilt.
Playing just over one half of the game, QB Dan Persa turned in another stellar performance, completing 19-of-23 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 13 rushing yards for 253 yards of total offense. He came into the game ranked second in the Big Ten in total offense. Persa played just three plays on the Wildcats' opening second-half series before turning over the QB reins to redshirt freshman Evan Watkins.
Through two games, Persa has recorded an off-the-charts pass efficiency rating of 212.06. He has completed 38-of-44 passes (86.4 percent) for 462 yards and five touchdowns.
Northwestern totaled 434 yards of total offense (NU had compiled 333 yards at halftime in building a 30-3 lead), marking the fourth time in NU's last five games the Wildcats have eclipsed the 400-yard mark.
True freshman WR Rashad Lawrence caught his first career pass today-a 50-yarder-from Persa. It was Persa's longest completion this season.
Three of Northwestern's five touchdowns came on the ground today, their first rushing TD's of the season. All three scores came on 1-yard plays: one by Persa, one by RB Arby Fields and the last by RB Mike Trumpy. The score by Trumpy was the first of his career. Trumpy, playing in his first collegiate game, netted 15 yards on seven carries.
SB Drake Dunsmore caught both of Persa's TD passes today, a 4-yarder and a 5-yarder. Dunsmore now leads the Wildcats with three TD receptions in 2010. He has caught five TD passes in his last six games.
WR Jeremy Ebert led NU with 67 receiving yards (on three receptions). He caught a career-long 45-yard reception in the second quarter. Ebert, who leads the team with eight receptions, owns a team-best 20.8 ypr average.
Sophomore RB Arby Fields ran for a career-best 96 yards on 22 carries (4.4 ypc).
Nine Northwestern players caught passes today with Dunsmore's five receptions equaling a game-high. WR Sidney Stewart and WR Charles Brown each caught four passes.
The Wildcats recorded four takeaways, with three of the four turnovers coming on interceptions. LB Quentin Davie notched NU's first two interceptions, which marked the first time since Oct. 22, 2005 that NU has had a player with multiple interceptions in a game. (Herschel Henderson notched two picks in the Wildcats' 49-14 win over No. 22 Michigan State in 2005.) DT Corbin Bryant recorded his first career interception in the second half. The interceptions for Davie were the second and third of his career.
LB Ben Johnson tallied NU's fourth takeaway, picking up fumble and returning it 29 yards. That turnover set up the Wildcats' final TD of the game.
Northwestern recorded at least one interception for a sixth consecutive game.
The Wildcats last had three interceptions in a game in last year's 16-6 win over Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 10.
CB Justan Vaughn totaled a career-best nine tackles (personal-best eight solos).
DE Vince Browne recorded two of the Wildcats' three sacks. He finished the game with three other tackles as well as two QB hurries. Browne now has 11 career sacks.
Redshirt freshman LB Damien Proby recorded his first career sack. He added three other solo tackles, for his first four career tackles.
Redshirt freshman PK Jeff Budzien made his first career appearance, and booted the Wildcats' final PAT.
QB Evan Watkins completed his first career pass to true freshman WR Venric Mark in the second half. It also was Mark's first career catch.