EVANSTON, Ill. – Clayton Thorson had a pair of touchdowns, Charlie Kuhbander hit all three of his second-half field goal attempts and Northwestern won its fifth straight with a 23-13 victory over Purdue on Saturday night.
Thorson was 26 of 46 for 296 yards. He had an 11-yard TD pass to Bennett Skowronek and rushed for a 4-yard score. It was the 18th rushing touchdown of Thorson's career, tying him with Brett Basanez for third place for most by a quarterback in school history.
Skowronek had seven receptions for 117 yards. Justin Jackson was held to 46 yards on 25 carries for the Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Big Ten).
Elijah Sindelar was 37 of 60 for 376 yards with two TDs and an interception for Purdue (4-6, 2-5). The sophomore established career highs in completions, attempts and passing yards.
Purdue was 1 for 4 on fourth down with the only conversion coming on a fake punt. The Northwestern defense came up with three stops on a fourth and short, including a fourth-and-1 from the Purdue 45 with just less than 14 minutes remaining.
Kuhbander hit a 36-yard field goal on the ensuing drive to give the Wildcats a 23-7 edge with just under 12 minutes to go. He has 12 field goals on the season to establish a new school record for a first-year player.
Purdue: There's little question the Boilermakers are improved, but they will need to win the final two regular-season games against Iowa and Indiana to become bowl eligible. Purdue's last bowl game was the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2013.
Northwestern: The Wildcats should be favored in their final two games (Minnesota and Illinois), meaning they have a good chance of amassing nine wins after starting the season 2-3. They also could break into the Top 25 for the first time this season.
Purdue visits No. 25 Iowa on Saturday, and Northwestern plays host to Minnesota on Saturday.