WEST LAFAYETTE – It started cold and dreary. It only got worse for the Purdue football team. Northwestern, riding off the momentum of a huge win last weekend at Notre Dame, continued to stay hot with a 38-14 over Purdue Saturday afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Five Purdue turnovers and defensive breakdowns all afternoon allowed Northwestern to control the pace from the get-go. The Wildcats scored on its first drive, culminating with a 25-yard scoring pass from Trevor Siemian to Dan Vitale and never looked back.
Wildcat running back Justin Jackson added 152 yards on the ground and two scores as Northwestern piled up 414 yards of total offense, 233 of which came on the ground. The quarterback trio of Siemian, Zack Oliver and Matt Alviti combined to throw for 181 yards.
Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby had a tough day, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. He did throw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, one to Akeem Hunt on a 19-yard screen pass and an eight-yard strike to Justin Sinz in the final minute of the game. The catch by Sinz was the 22nd consecutive game with a reception for the senior tight end.
Hunt led Purdue in his final game at Ross-Ade Stadium with 60 yards rushing, but lost two fumbles on the afternoon.
Northwestern’s play early saw the offense convert a fourth and 14 at the Purdue 28, a scrambling pass from Siemian to Kyle Prater for 19 yards to the Purdue nine. The next play, Jackson rushed in from nine yards for the first of his two scores. At 14-0, the game was effectively over.
Jackson also had a 68-yard touchdown run, Oliver plowed in from a yard out and Tony Jones added a 64-yard punt return for a score. Jack Mitchell made a 42-yard field goal attempt.
The win moves Northwestern to 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten with a home game at Illinois next Saturday with not only state bragging rights on the line, but bowl eligibility up for grabs as well.
Purdue falls to 3-8 on the year and 1-6 in the Big Ten with the Old Oaken Bucket game in Bloomington the final challenge next Saturday.