Northwestern football vs. Rutgers: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Wildcats battle Scarlett Knights

TJ Green of the Northwestern Wildcats looks to the sideline for a play after coming into the game against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium on Aug. 30, 2018, in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
TJ Green of the Northwestern Wildcats looks to the sideline for a play after coming into the game against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium on Aug. 30, 2018, in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Coming off the best game of his career, senior quarterback Clayton Thorson will lead a Northwestern squad into Rutgers on Saturday seeking a third straight victory and a sixth straight Big Ten triumph on the road. Thorson, who is coming off knee surgery that limited him early in the season, completed 41-of-64 passes for a career-high 455 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 34-31 overtime triumph over Nebraska last weekend.

TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Northwestern -20.5.

 

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He drove the Wildcats 99 yards in the final two minutes to force overtime, and Northwestern won the game when sophomore Drew Luckenbaugh capped his first game with a 37-yard field goal after Nebraska failed to convert a fourth down on its only possession of the extra session. Senior wide receiver Flynn Nagel matched his career high for the second time this season with 12 receptions and recorded career bests with 220 receiving yards and two scores, setting the third-best single-game receiving yard mark in program history and the most by a Big Ten player since 2013. "Guys were pumped up," Nagel told nusports.com. “We knew as an offense we had to take over. We had to step up. We had to make some big plays. Clayton and I looked at each other, and we looked at the other guys, and we said we've got to win this game as an offense. While Northwestern sits tied atop the West division, Rutgers showed last week it has a long way to go for respectability in the Big Ten after getting pounded 34-7 at Maryland.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (3-3, 3-1 Big Ten)

Nagel's 46 receptions and 622 receiving yards are the most by a Northwestern player through the first six games since at least 2000, according to the school’s website. Nagel, who earned Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors, leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the country in receptions per game (8.0) and is tied for 12th in the nation in receiving yards. The running game continues to struggle without Jeremy Larkin (346 yards but did not play due to injury the last three weeks); the Wildcats, who average just 69.8 for the season, ran for just 32 yards against the Huskers after combining for 36 in the previous two weeks.

ABOUT RUTGERS (1-6, 0-4)

Freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski was pulled late in the third quarter against the Terrapins after going 2-for-16 for eight yards and four interceptions, and backup Giovanni Rescigno had his only pass picked off as the Knights mustered just 179 yards of total offense. The lone bright spot was freshman Isaih Pacheco, who ran 22 times for 107 yards and his first touchdown. “When you struggle to run the ball and protect the quarterback, and you struggle to get open against man-coverage and make turnovers, it's going to be tough to win the game," Rutgers coach Chris Ash told reporters. "We've got to figure out something offensively to move the ball consistently and score some points."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rutgers leads the all-time series 3-0 with wins in 1919, 1989 and 1991, but this meeting is the first Big Ten contest between the two.

2. Scarlet Knights senior linebacker Trevor Morris leads the Big Ten with 62 tackles, and he’s 24 stops away from joining the school’s top-10 list. 

3. Northwestern is the least penalized team in the country with only 2.8 per game.

PREDICTION: Northwestern 44, Rutgers 16

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