Thorson, Jackson lead Northwestern to 39-0 rout Minnesota
By John Jackson
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Clayton Thorson had three touchdown passes, Justin Jackson added 166 yards rushing on 31 carries and Northwestern won its sixth straight with a 39-0 rout of Minnesota on Saturday.
The Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) also forced five turnovers on defense. Cornerback Montre Hartage had an interception and a fumble recovery to set up up two touchdowns.
Thorson finished 9 of 13 for 86 yards in a game played mostly in rain and wind. Garrett Dickerson had two touchdown receptions.
Minnesota quarterback Demry Croft completed just 2 of 11 passes for 43 yards with three interceptions. Rodney Smith had 96 yards rushing for the Gophers (5-6, 2-6).
Jackson has 1,010 yards on the season and became just the second Big Ten player — and 9th in FBS history — to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1996-99) is the other Big Ten player.
Jackson has 5,139 career yards and moved past Michigan’s Mike Hart (5,040) for fifth place on the Big Ten’s all-time rushing list.
Northwestern has won 21 of the last 22 games in which Jackson has rushed for 100 yards or more.
Minnesota: The Gophers had dropped four of five games before breaking out for a 54-21 win over Nebraska last week. But any hopes that the performance could spark a late-season turnaround were quickly dashed on Saturday.
Northwestern: With a seventh straight win in the season finale next week, the Wildcats will be in line for a major bowl. The offense’s red zone efficiency has played a major role in the winning streak. By going 5 for 5 on Saturday (all touchdowns), the Wildcats have converted 27 of 28 red-zone trips into points during the streak.
Minnesota: The Gophers host No. 4 Wisconsin in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
Northwestern: The Wildcats conclude the season at Illinois on Saturday.