No. 25 Northwestern 35, Indiana 17
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ So much for Indiana’s vaunted defense.
Darnell Autry rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns and D’Wayne Bates caught two TD passes from Steve Schnur on Saturday as No. 25 Northwestern used big plays and big Hoosiers mistakes for a 35-17 victory.
Indiana (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) came in ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, but the Hoosiers gave up touchdown runs of 50 and 23 yards by Autry, a 65-yard TD catch by Bates and receptions of 40 and 37 yards by Bates that set up two scores.
Indiana led 10-0 in the second quarter and 17-14 at halftime, but Northwestern (3-1, 1-0) converted a Hoosiers fumble into Autry’s second touchdown, a 1-yard run that put the Wildcats ahead for good midway through the third quarter. Bates’ 40-yard catch on the next possession and two short runs by Autry set up his 23-yard run for a 28-17 lead.
Late in the third quarter, a 17-yard run by Autry, an interference penalty against Indiana on an incomplete pass that would have forced a Northwestern punt and the 37-yard catch by Bates took the Wildcats to the Indiana 9. Three plays later, Schnur hit Bates from the 5 for the final touchdown.
Autry’s 128 yards marked the 17th straight game in which he has topped 100.
Both Indiana touchdowns were scored by Alex Smith on 1-yard runs in the first half and he finished with 86 yards. Freshman Jay Rodgers replaced Chris Dittoe at quarterback for Indiana midway through the fourth quarter, but Rodgers had two passes intercepted, including once after the Hoosiers got the ball on a Northwestern fumble at the Wildcats 26 with six minutes to go.
The victory was Northwestern’s third straight against the Hoosiers, the first time the Wildcats accomplished that since winning six in a row from 1969-75.
Indiana hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown in the first three games this season, but the Hoosiers’ streak ended on Northwestern’s first possession of the second quarter.
Trailing 10-0 after Smith’s first touchdown and a 30-yard field goal by Bill Manolopoulos, the Wildcats reached midfield with a 13-yard pass to Brian Musso and an 11-yard run by Autry. On the next play, Autry appeared to be stopped at the line, but he burst through and ran 50 yards for the touchdown, his longest run of the season.
On the next series, a 43-yard pass from Dittoe to Dorian Wilkerson and a pass interference penalty on Northwestern helped the Hoosiers to the 19. Smith then ran 14 yards and scored from the 1 three plays later.
Again, though, the 10-point lead didn’t last long.
After a 9-yard pass to Mike McGrew and two short runs by Autry, Schnur hit Bates on the 65-yarder for another touchdown. The Wildcats had another chance when Joey Eloms fumbled at the Indiana 30 on the following kickoff, but the Hoosiers forced a punt and kept the 17-14 lead at the half.
Northwestern punted to the Indiana 5 early in the third quarter, but Smith fumbled on the first play and Northwestern scored two plays later on Autry’s 1-yard run.