PURDUE 24, NORTHWESTERN 22
Aidan O’Connell has a knack for leading game-winning drives. He engineered his second in as many weeks with help from kicker J.D. Dellinger.
O’Connell threw for 271 yards and Dellinger kicked a 39-yard field goal with three seconds left Saturday as Purdue beat Northwestern 24-22 to keep its bowl hopes alive.
O’Connell, a former walk-on, made his first start after Elijah Sindelar (broken left collarbone) and Jack Plummer (broken right ankle) went down with injuries. He guided the go-ahead drive late after Wildcats kicker Charlie Kuhbander’s 32-yard field goal bounced off the left upright.
David Bell made 14 catches for 115 yards and a score as the Boilermakers rallied from down 14-0 in the first quarter. Northwestern lost its seventh straight, while Purdue beat the Wildcats for the first time since 2010 after losing five in a row.
O’Connell quarterbacked the winning drive last week against Nebraska, and he came through again.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, and we had some moments where we looked really bad,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “But we hung in there, and that has kind of been the sign of our team.”
Northwestern (1-8, 0-7 Big Ten) scored more points than in its four previous games combined, as receiver-turned-tailback Kyric McGowan rushed for 146 yards and a score.
O’Connell struggled in the first half but helped Purdue (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten) outscore Northwestern 17-6 after halftime. The Wildcats committed two pass interference penalties on the final drive to keep Purdue in it, and Dellinger knocked through the game-winner into gusting wind.
“I had a good feeling we were gonna at least get a chance at it,” Dellinger said. “It felt really good off my foot, and it looked pretty dead straight almost all the way there, so I felt good about it.”
McGowan lined up in the backfield and burst up the middle for a 79-yard touchdown on Northwestern’s second play from scrimmage. Aidan Smith found a diving Jace James from 16 yards out to put the Wildcats up 14-0 on the next drive, and Northwestern added a safety.
Purdue running back King Doerue bounced outside for a 12-yard score in the second quarter. Then O’Connell floated touchdown passes over the defense to David Bell and Amad Anderson in the third. The Wildcats retook the lead when Smith connected with Riley Lees in the fourth, but they couldn’t close it out.
“Probably the best response I’ve seen from our team all year responding from adversity,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “We got it back, we put together a great drive and then the last four minutes of the game the difference was discipline.”
NOTRE DAME 38, DUKE 7
Ian Book rushed for a career-best 139 yards and threw four touchdown passes and No. 15 Notre Dame routed Duke 38-7 on Saturday night.
Book finished 18-32 for 181 yards passing, Chris Finke caught touchdown passes of 18 and 6 yards, and Chase Claypool and George Takacs also had short scoring catches.
C’Bo Flemister rushed 2 yards for a TD for the Fighting Irish (7-2, No. 15 CFP). In winning their second straight and fifth in six games, they rolled up 469 total yards, led 21-0 before the Blue Devils picked up their second first down and kept them at bay the rest of the way.
Book became the first Notre Dame quarterback with 100 yards both rushing and passing since Brandon Wimbush did it two years ago against Wake Forest.
Quentin Harris was 16 of 28 for 102 yards for Duke (4-5) with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Young late in the second quarter. The Blue Devils have lost three straight and four of five since starting 3-1.
The Fighting Irish rushed for 288 yards — their best game on the ground in a month — against a decent Duke run defense, and 148 of those yards came on three carries, runs of 45 and 53 yards by Book and a 40-yarder by Jahmir Smith. Both co-starters — Tony Jones Jr. and Jafar Armstrong — were back, but they combined for just 27 yards on 10 attempts.
The Blue Devils have played three 2018 College Football Playoff programs in 12 months — Clemson last November, and Alabama and now Notre Dame this season — and lost them all by a combined 108-16, failing to reach double-figure scoring in any of them. This loss puts Duke in bowl jeopardy: The Blue Devils must win two of their final three — against Syracuse, No. 22 Wake Forest and resurgent Miami — to reach their third straight bowl game.