Evan Hull rushed for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday afternoon to lead Northwestern to a 35-6 victory over Ohio at Ryan Field in Evanston.
Hull bounced off a defender on the scrimmage late in the first quarter before rushing for a 90-yard touchdown that helped prepare the Wildcats (2-2) for their first win over an FBS team this season.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a 90-yard touchdown in my career,” said Hull, who fell after a hit from a Bobcats defender. “Towards the end, I made a decision, whatever happens, I have to get to the end zone.”
The Wildcats’ running game racked up 373 yards to ease pressure from sophomore Ryan Hilinski, who completed just 12 passes for 88 yards in his first start replacing Hunter Johnson.
“We started the way we wanted to,” said Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald, who indicated that he will not immediately name the starting quarterback next weekend. “Evan was outstanding playing behind our offensive line. We were very physical. “
As its defense struggled to stop the hosts, Ohio (0-4) was winless after wiping out its own units with a combination of turnovers, costly penalties and sacks. Kurtis Rourke was 20 of 29 for 166 yards with a fumble and an interception.
“We had three turnovers and all three were within 50,” Bobcats coach Tim Albin said. “We cannot put our defense in that position.
“You can’t go into the country of the Big Ten and have three turnovers and hope to win.”
Anthony Tyus III and Jake Arthurs added late touchdown runs and Charlie Kuhbander scored a pair of short field goals for Northwestern, who led 17-0 at intermission.
Ohio avoided a shutout when backup quarterback Armani Rogers scored on a 55-yard goalie on the final play of the game.
Ohio: Ten penalties, three turnovers and myriad offensive line failures helped condemn the Bobcats, who fell 49-14 at Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, to their second road loss in as many weeks. That’s no way to prepare for the start of the Mid-American Conference game.
Northwestern: Hilinski, a transfer from South Carolina, was unspectacular in his debut start and it’s unclear if the coaching staff will return Hunter Johnson to the starting job. Anyone starting downtown in the coming weeks should be as confident as possible for an initial leg of the conference that includes travel to Nebraska and Michigan and visits from Minnesota and Iowa.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN …
The Bobcats started the game with a long way to Northwest territory, but were left empty when a 32-yard field goal attempt was deflected to the right. Later, Rourke fumbled to set up Northwestern’s first touchdown and Ohio missed a great opportunity to change momentum late in the first half when Jett Elad dropped what would have been an easy pick-six to cut the lead to 14. -7.
WILDCATS … AT THE WILDCAT
Northwestern called up several direct plays on running back Tyus, who finished the day with 51 yards on 11 attempts. His wildcat 7-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter gave the small local crowd ample incentive to head for the exits … perhaps to watch the final minutes of the Wisconsin-Notre Dame game played at a few minutes. few miles from Lake Michigan. shore at Soldier Field.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Ohio: in Akron on October 2.
Northwest: In Nebraska on October 2