The Northwestern Wildcats scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and held on for a 24-6 victory against FCS opponent Indiana State on Saturday in Evanston, Ill.
Evan Hull rushed 22 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten).
The Sycamores (1-1) managed only 31 rushing yards and 169 total yards. Indiana State scored its only touchdown with 3:31 left in the game.
Special teams were a huge difference-maker in the game. Northwestern had 158 punt return yards, with Brandon Joseph returning two punts for 111 yards and Ray Niro III returning two for 47.
Northwestern opened the game emphasizing the run. On an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, the Wildcats ran the ball 10 times with Hull capping it off with a 3-yard score.
When Northwestern got the ball back, it continued to set up the run and was rewarded with a 25-yard play-action touchdown pass from Hunter Johnson to Malik Washington.
After that, the Wildcats offense went cold. They managed only 22 yards the rest of the half, punting three times and fumbling once.
The Sycamores could not capitalize. After moving into Northwestern territory on its first two drives, Indiana State gained only 40 yards on the next eight possessions.
The Wildcats start to the second half was frustrating for the Big Ten squad. Of their first four drives, they started in Indiana State territory three times.
But Northwestern managed positive yards on only one of those possessions and got only a 47-yard field goal from Charlie Kuhbander.
Hull scored his second touchdown with 7:37 remaining in the game for the Wildcats to go up 24-0.
Zach Larkin snagged Indiana State’s only touchdown on the next possession, a 9-yard toss from Anthony Thompson.
Northwestern’s Johnson was only 9-of-16 passing for 66 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
–Field Level Media