/seasons/2014/contrib/20140913c9jzaz

Northwestern (Minn.) scores early, often in first road game of 2014

More news about: Northwestern (Minn.)

EUREKA, Ill. – The University of Northwestern went on a first half tear that propelled the Eagles to a surprising 48-16 victory over Eureka College on Saturday afternoon. Northwestern owned a 34-10 lead after 30 minutes of play, allowing the purple-clad UNW squad to open its Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) schedule with a victory.

Northwestern was nearly running on all cylinders on offense, but also received a strong showing from its defense while catching a few breaks along the way. The Eagles scored a touchdown on five of their first seven possessions, starting with a first effort that needed just four plays to go 44 yards for a score. But before the offensive output was preempted by a defensive stop to begin the game as UNW forced Eureka into a three-and-out, needing a mere minute and 25 seconds to put the ball back in the Eagles' hands.

That was the tone for much of the initial half. The Red Devils, who scored on just two of their eight drives, assembled just one effort that lasted more than three plays in the home team's first even offerings. By the time Eureka put a 22-yard field goal through following a nine-play drive in the second quarter, the Eagles had 34 points on the scoreboard.

Eureka certainly didn't expect its home opener to start this way. Antonio Greenwo's fumbled kickoff return after a Josh Sinnen (Waconia, Minn./Waconia) touchdown run seemed to fit the bill for how the Red Devils' day went, especially when the Eagles scored again on the very next play.

Joe Sutton (Minneapolis, Minn./Benilde St. Margaret's) caught his second touchdown pass on UNW's first drive after halftime, and the two teams traded scores in the fourth before Northwestern was back on a bus for the 450-mile trip home.

The Eagles more than doubled Eureka in total yardage, accumulating 512 yards throughout the day while holding the Red Devils to 248. Four different rushers helped UNW post 186 yards on the ground as quarterback Jacob Fletcher (Moorhead, Minn./Park Christian) had one of his best days in a Northwestern uniform, completing 15 of 24 passes for 326 yards and three TDs. Caleb Couwenhoven (Blaine, Minn./Fridley) needed just three catches to collect 98 yards through the air.

As a team, the Eagles, who were wearing their home-purple tops, converted on five of seven third down opportunities. Eureka was only able to keep the drive going on two of their eight third down chances.

Northwestern held Eureka quarterback Blake Robles to 140 yards on 12 of 22 passing.

Now 2-0 (1-0 UMAC), the Eagles will return home in anticipation of another night game next Saturday when Martin Luther College comes to the renovated Reynolds Field for Football Frenzy. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
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Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

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