COLLEGE PARK—With record-setting Justin Jackson leading the way, Northwestern got its groove back on offense and cruised to a much-needed victory.Jackson scored two touchdowns and ran for 171 yards to become the Wildcats’ career rushing leader , and Northwestern beat Maryland 37-21 Saturday for its first Big Ten win of the season.Jackson has 4,639 yards on the ground over four seasons at Northwestern. He moved past Damien Anderson (4,485) to the top of the school list and also supplanted Anderson as the Wildcats’ career leader in all-purpose yards with 5,350.
”It’s special with Justin. It’s unbelievable,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ”I think at times we all take for granted special players just because they’re so consistent. But it seems like just yesterday that Justin came into our program, and now to have him at this mark, I’m incredibly proud of him and honored to be his coach.”
Clayton Thorson completed 27 of 49 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown to help the Wildcats (3-3, 1-2) avoid their first 0-3 start in the conference since 2013.Northwestern ran 93 plays and amassed 531 yards in a reversal of form following last week’s 31-7 loss at home to Penn State.
”Great job bouncing back by our offense, especially our offensive line,” Fitzgerald said. ”I think they shut the noise off and went to work.”
Jackson gave credit for his record to the offensive line, most notably center Brad North.
”It means a ton doing it with these guys around me,” Jackson said. ”Brad has been my center for three years, so it’s very cool to have some consistency back there.”
D.J. Moore had career highs with 12 catches and 210 yards receiving for Maryland (3-3, 1-2).Max Bortenschlager went 17 for 38 for 255 yards and three touchdowns (two to Moore) in his third college start. He was returning from a hard hit to the helmet that put him on the sideline for the fourth quarter last week in a 62-14 loss to Ohio State.
Bortenschlager started the season as the Terrapins’ third-string quarterback but became the starter after Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill sustained season-ending knee injuries.The defense, however, allowed 30 first downs and the Wildcats turned 10 third downs into a new set of downs.