Associated Press, September 16, 2017

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Clayton Thorson threw for a career-high 370 yards and two touchdown passes, Justin Jackson rushed for three touchdowns and Northwestern beat Bowling Green 49-7 on Saturday night.


After a lackluster win against Nevada in its season opener and a blowout loss to Duke last week, Northwestern (2-1) played like the team that many predicted to be a factor in the Big Ten West division.

The Wildcats scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions in the first half, Bennett Skowronek caught consecutive touchdown passes from Thorson in the first half and Jackson rushed for two.

After only gaining 66 rushing yards as a team in a 41-17 loss at Duke, Jackson set the tone for the offense on the Wildcats' second possession of the game with a 5-yard touchdown run. Jackson finished with 121 yards on 18 carries.

Bowling Green (0-3) freshman Matt Wilcox beat the Northwestern secondary for a 33-yard reception to set up a 20-yard touchdown run for Josh Cleveland to tie the score at seven in the first quarter. Bowling Green quarterback James Morgan was 15 of 26 for 166 yards. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by freshman Jarret Doege. Cleveland finished with 54 rushing yards.

Northwestern took the lead at the end of the first quarter as Skowronek ran by Falcons cornerback Clint Stephens for a 58-touchdown reception. On the next offensive play from scrimmage, Thorson connected again with Skowronek for an 18-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 21-7. Skowronek's second touchdown was set up after Montre Hartage stripped Falcons wide receiver Datrin Guyton and Godwin Igwebuike returned the fumble for 45 yards.


Bowling Green: The Falcons, who lost seven straight games midway through the season last year, is on a familiar path. Despite the lopsided score in the first half, the Falcons did move the ball. They had 197 yards of total offense and Cleveland was effective on the ground with 64 rushing yards on 10 carries. Bowling Green lost for the first time in three games with Northwestern.

Northwestern: The Wildcats found some much needed confidence as their next opponent is Big Ten West heavyweight No. 10 Wisconsin. … Linebacker Jango Glackin was carted off the field after appearing to injure his arm on a Bowling Green punt in the third quarter.


Bowling Green: The Falcons cap off its non-conference schedule on Saturday at Middle Tennessee State.

Northwestern: The Wildcats are on a bye next week before kicking off its Big Ten schedule against Wisconsin.