Final score: Purdue 24 Northwestern 22
Brief recap: Trouble was brewing early for the Boilermakers, with Northwestern scoring two first quarter touchdowns, snapping a month-long skid without reaching the end zone. A 79-yard run by Kyric McGowan and a touchdown pass from Aidan Smith to Jace James gave the Wildcats an early 14-0 lead. But the Boilermakers were able to scratch and claw their way back into the game, thanks again to the efforts of sensational freshmen. Trailing 16-7 at halftime, Aidan O’Connell threw touchdown passes to David Bell and Amad Anderson on back-to-back drives to give the Boilermakers a 21-16 advantage. Northwestern was able to muster another late touchdown on an impressive catch by Riley Less, giving the Cats’ a one-point advantage in the fourth quarter. But Purdue drove down the field late in the game and set up a game-winning drive for JD Dellinger from 33 yards out.
Key moment: Hard to argue against the game-winning kick. Yes, there were plenty of big plays throughout the game, but we’ll show Dellinger some love with his game-winning boot.
Key stat: Northwestern committed nine penalties for 86 yards. One of those flags came on a 4th-and-4 late in the game, with the Wildcats committing a pass interference on a play that would’ve ended the game. It help set up Dellinger’s game-winning field goal.
Key player: It was a big day for freshman receiver David Bell, who caught 14 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. There’s a good chance he’ll be the B1G Freshman of the Week with those kind of numbers.
What it means for Northwestern: Glass half full, Northwestern found some life offensively, scoring three touchdowns after failing to do so in their last four games. Maybe the Wildcats found a little juice this week to carry into the final three games of the season. On the other side, though, Pat Fitzgerald and his team still have a bagel in the B1G wins column and sit 1-8 on the year. The season continues to disappoint.
What it means for Purdue: Bowl eligibility is still within reach. Yes, Purdue still needs to beat a ranked Wisconsin team and a 7-2 Indiana squad, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It’s absolutely crazy considering the Boilermakers have been so hamstrung by injuries this season and are playing so many true freshmen and are using a third-string quarterback. This may be Brohm’s best coaching job yet.