EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Brett Basanez threw two touchdown passes
to Shaun Herbert and ran for another -- all in the first half -- as
Northwestern rolled to a big lead Saturday and routed Ohio 38-14,
spoiling Frank Solich's return to college coaching.
Basanez's 3-yard TD run with 13 seconds left in the second
quarter after the Wildcats had recovered a fumbled kickoff gave
Northwestern a 31-7 halftime lead.
Basanez completed 27-of-37 passes for 353 yards -- the fourth
300-yard passing game of his career -- and was 19-of-26 for 255
yards by the half. He played just one series of the fourth quarter
before being replaced.
Solich was fired after the 2003 season at Nebraska, despite a
9-3 record and 58-19 mark in six years. His debut with the Bobcats
showed how far the program must come after just two winning seasons
On a warm Saturday afternoon in front of a half-filled stadium
at Ryan Field, Northwestern may also have found their running back
for the future.
With Terrell Jordan out with a hamstring injury and after
Saturday's starter Brandon Roberson hurt his ankle in the first
quarter, freshman Tyrell Sutton -- Mr. Football in Ohio in 2004 --
He gained 104 yards on 17 carries with a pair of TD runs,
including a 20-yarder late in the third quarter that made it 38-7.
He also had a 17-yard scoring run to wrap up an 88-yard drive in
the second quarter that put the Wildcats ahead 17-0.
The Wildcats' Barry Cofield then recovered a fumble by Ohio
quarterback Austen Everson, and Northwestern hoped to build on its
But when Basanez rolled out on the option and tried to pitch the
ball to Jonathan Fields, Dion Byrum stole the ball in mid-air and
raced 62 yards for a touchdown to get the Bobcats back in the game
at 17-7 with 5:38 left in the half.
But Bazanez regrouped quickly, completing six passes in a
74-yard drive with Herbert battling Tony Ward and coming up with
deflection in the end zone for the 18-yard score and a 24-7 lead
with 1:24 left in the half.
It got worse for the Bobcats when Scott Mayle fumbled the
ensuing kickoff and NU kicker Joel Howells recovered. A quick
29-yard drive capped by Basanez's TD run gave the Wildcats their
Ohio just missed getting a momentum booster on the final play of
the half when Mayle took a 58-yard pass from Everson but was
tackled on 2-yard line by Marquice Cole as time expired.
The Bobcats made it 38-14 with 10:54 left on Everson's 4-yard
run at the end of a 68-yard drive.
Basanez threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Herbert for a 10-0
lead in the second quarter, capping an eight-play, 76-yard drive
that got a big lift from a pass interference call on the Bobcats'
Basanez's 50-yard pass to Kim Thompson and a personal foul on
Ohio put the ball at the Bobcats' 4 in the first quarter. After two
running plays failed to gain a yard, Basanez's pass to the end zone
was broken up and Northwestern had to settle for Howells' 22-yard