Sept. 25, 2010
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Northwestern 30, Central Michigan 25
Site: Ryan Field - Evanston, Ill.
Records: Northwestern (4-0); Central Michigan (2-2)
Up Next: at Minnesota - 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 (ESPN or ESPN2)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern used a strong third quarter to open up a 30-13 lead on Central Michigan, then held off a late Chippewa rally to capture a 30-25 victory at Ryan Field. The Wildcats wrap up the nonconference portion of their schedule with a 4-0 record with Central Michigan dropping to 2-2 on the year.
Dan Persa completed 23-of-30 passes for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also racking up 43 yards on the ground. Jeremy Ebert caught both of Persa's touchdown strikes, finishing with five receptions for 83 yards. Sidney Stewart also caught five passes for 57 yards on the afternoon.
Mike Trumpy set a personal best for both carries and yards for the Wildcats, rushing 12 times for 53 yards. Jacob Schmidt had six carries for 32 yards and a pair of touchdowns, marking the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
Northwestern got on the board first as Persa connected on a 24-yard pass to Ebert with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, but the extra point was blocked to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead. Central Michigan responded right away, covering 74 yards in five plays and finishing with a 31-yard touchdown run. But the extra point was blocked by Jack DiNardo, tying the game at six at the end of the first.
Schmidt capped an eight-play, 77-yard run with a one-yard TD scamper, putting Northwestern back on top 13-6 midway through the second quarter. But again the Chippewas answered, connecting on a 16-yard TD pass with 1:15 to play in the half to knot the score at 13 at the intermission.
Northwestern took control in the third quarter, as a 27-yard field goal by Stefan Demos put the Wildcats on top 16-13. On the ensuing Central Michigan drive, Quentin Williams intercepted a pass attempt on the first play, followed by a Persa-to-Ebert 25-yard touchdown one play later, giving the 'Cats 10 points in 16 seconds and a 23-13 advantage.
Schmidt would punch in a 13-yard touchdown run, the longest rush of his career, on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend Northwestern's lead to 30-13. But Central Michigan rallied to make it interesting, scoring twice in the closing quarter to cut the gap to five at 30-25. The Chippewa's onside kick attempt with just over a minute remaining was covered by Drake Dunsmore, sealing the victory for Northwestern.
The Wildcats forced three Central Michigan turnovers on the afternoon, as David Nwabuisi recorded his first career interception in the first quarter. Quentin Davie forced a Central Michigan fumble in the second quarter, which was recovered by Corbin Bryant. Defensively, Hunter Bates led the way for the Wildcats with 11 tackles, including one tackle for loss.
Northwestern completes the nonconference portion of its schedule with a 4-0 record, marking its best start since going 5-0 in 2008. The Wildcats now begin their eight-game Big Ten Conference slate at Minnesota on Saturday, October 2.
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