Oct. 29, 2011
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Site: Bloomington, Ind. (Memorial Stadium)
Score: Northwestern 59, Indiana 38
Records: NU (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten), Indiana (1-8, 0-5 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Nov. 5 at Nebraska 2:30 p.m. CT BTN
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After a first half shootout in which Northwestern and Indiana combined for 59 points and nearly 700 yards of total offense, the Wildcats closed out a 59-38 victory over the Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington Saturday. Senior superback Drake Dunsmore enjoyed a record-setting day, establishing Northwestern standards for single-game touchdown catches (4) and career receiving yards by an NU tight end (1,373).
As a team the Wildcats tied a school record by throwing for five touchdowns -- three by Dan Persa and two by Kain Colter -- and racked up 616 yards of total offense. Senior running back Jacob Schmidt also secured his first career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 110 yards on the ground and two rushing scores.
The scoring began early when a 77-yard touchdown drive capped by a Tre Roberson scamper gave the Hoosiers a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest. That drive was answered with a 37-yard field goal by Northwestern's Jeff Budzien on the 'Cats' opening series.
NU kept momentum on its side when senior safety Brian Peters stepped in front of a Roberson offering for his 10th career interception, moving him into a tie for fourth all-time at Northwestern. Five plays later, Kain Colter dropped back and lofted a pass to Jeremy Ebert, who made an over-the-shoulder catch to give the Wildcats a 10-7 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
Northwestern was just getting started, quickly marching down the field on its next possession thanks to big completions to Dunsmore and Jacob Schmidt. Freshman Treyvon Green completed the series with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone, giving NU a 17-7 advantage late in the first.
The hits kept coming for Northwestern, which scored for the fourth-consecutive drive when Persa faked a screen pass and instead found Dunsmore all alone in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard TD pass.
Indiana pulled one back when it completed a seven-play drive with a 26-yard scoring rush by D'Angelo Roberts, setting the score at 24-14. Only moments later, however, Persa again found Dunsmore in the end zone, this time on a 10-yard pass that Dunsmore corralled with one hand while fending off a defender. The play allowed Dunsmore to pass former Wildcat Jon Harvey for most career receiving yards by an NU tight end.
Later in the quarter, a fumbled punt return by Northwestern set up a score by the opportunistic Hoosiers, who pulled within 10 at 31-21 when Roberson hit Duwyce Wilson for a 10-yard touchdown.
The frenetic first half wasn't complete, however, until after the Wildcats pieced together a 10-play drive that was capped by Dunsmore's third touchdown catch of the quarter. Northwestern finished the first half having scored on all six of its possessions and with 407 yards of total offense.
It was more of the same in the second half, with the Wildcats' opening series culminating in a nine-yard passing TD from Colter to Dunsmore to increase NU's lead to 45-21. It was the Wildcats' fifth touchdown toss of the game, equaling the school record established in 1973 and matched in 2007.
Following an Indiana touchdown on the next possession, the Wildcats tacked on seven more with a 3-yard TD rush by Jacob Schmidt, his third of the season. After a Hoosier field goal, Schmidt helped move the 'Cats into IU territory on the next drive with a 32-yard scamper, a career-long for the senior. Schmidt reaped the fruits of his labor, diving in from two yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter to bring NU's lead to 59-31.
Indiana would add one late touchdown to account for the final margin.
Northwestern plays its final true road game of the season next week when it travels to face Nebraska for the first time since the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference. Start time in Lincoln is set for 2:30 p.m. CT with coverage on the Big Ten Network.
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