Peyton Ramsey threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns, all to Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and No. 23 Northwestern beat Purdue 27-20
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Peyton Ramsey threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns, all to Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and No. 23 Northwestern beat Purdue 27-20 on Saturday.
The Wildcats defense also made two late stops to preserve a fifth straight Big Ten win and the school’s first 4-0 start in league play since coach Pat Fitzgerald was still playing in 1996.
Purdue (2-1) has lost five straight home games in the series.
Ramsey completed 23 of 36 and had one interception but looked as poised and efficient as he did last November when he led Indiana to an overtime victory at Purdue.
“When Peyton made the decision to come here, he and Ramaud were in constant communication,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s what older leaders do. I’m just so proud of him. I’m not surprised though. He’s put the work in. I think his play tonight speaks for itself.”
Ramsey got started quickly.
An 8-yard TD pass on the opening possession ended Chiaokhiao-Bowman’s three-year scoring drought and gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. After the teams traded field goals and Aidan O’Connell tossed a tying 40-yard scoring pass to Garrett Miller on fourth-and-1, Ramsey went back to work.
He completed all seven passes on the ensuing drive, hooking up with Chiaokhiao-Bowman on an 18-yarder that gave Northwestern a 17-10 halftime lead.
“That’s what he’s known for,” Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes said when asked about Ramsey’s ability to extend plays. “We have to do a better job against those types of quarterbacks.”
Ramsey cashed in again with a 5-yard TD pass to Chiakhiao-Bowman after Northwestern recovered a fumble in the third quarter.
And when Purdue cut the deficit to 24-13 with a 23-yard field goal, the first second-half points allowed by the Wildcats all season, Ramsey led Northwestern on a 6-minute, 11-second drive to set up Charlie Kuhbander for a 42-yard field goal.
O’Connell got the Boilermakers within a touchdown with a 14-yard scoring pass to Milton Wright with 7:35 to play but never got near scoring territory again.
Chiakkhia-Brown had eight catches for 86 yards, helping pick up the slack with Northwestern rushing 40 times for 80 yards.
O’Connell was 28 of 51 with 263 yards and two scores. Zander Horvath had nine catches for 100 yards, both career highs. David Bell had nine catches for 78 yards, stopping his school-record streak of consecutive 100-yard games at five.
Northwestern held Purdue to just 2 yards rushing.
Northwestern: A stifling defense and a solid ground game will keep the Wildcats atop the Big Ten West Division for at least one more week. But if Ramsey and Chiaokhiao-Bowman continue to be as productive as they were Saturday, Northwestern could become a serious contender.
Purdue: The Boilermakers defense played better than expected and might have played well enough to win. But coach Jeff Brohm said earlier this week he didn’t like having last week’s unscheduled bye because he thought it might throw the offense out of sync. It sure looked like it, especially early.
This week, the Wildcats made their first Top 25 appearance since the final poll in 2018. They should stay there at least one more week and could climb a few spots, too.
Purdue hasn’t been ranked since early October 2007 and this loss won’t end the longest active drought among Power 5 conference teams.
Rondale Moore, Purdue’s All-American receiver, missed his fourth consecutive game but the Boilermakers still have not said why he is out. Moore also missed the final eight games of last season with a hamstring injury. He hasn’t played in nearly 14 months.
Northwestern hosts No. 13 Wisconsin next Saturday in another crucial division showdown.
Purdue visits Minnesota under the Friday night lights.
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