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Purdue beats Northwestern 24-22 on Dellinger’s late FG

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 09: J.D. Dellinger #85 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates after the winning field goal against the Northwestern Wildcats during the fourth quarter at Ryan Field on November 09, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Aidan O’Connell threw for 271 yards and J.D. Dellinger kicked a 39-yard field goal with three seconds left Saturday as Purdue beat Northwestern 24-22 to keep its bowl hopes alive.

O’Connell, a former walk-on, made his first start after Elijah Sindelar (broken left collarbone) and Jack Plummer (broken right ankle) went down with injuries. He led the go-ahead drive late after Wildcats kicker Charlie Kuhbander’s 32-yard field goal bounced off the left upright.

David Bell made 14 catches for 115 yards and a score as the Boilermakers rallied from down 14-0 in the first quarter. Northwestern lost its seventh straight.

Northwestern (1-8, 0-7 Big Ten) scored more points than in its four previous games combined, as receiver-turned-tailback Kyric McGowan rushed for 146 yards and a score.

O’Connell struggled in the first half but helped Purdue (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten) outscore Northwestern 17-6 after halftime. The Wildcats committed two pass interference penalties on the final drive to keep Purdue in it.

McGowan lined up in the backfield and burst up the middle for a 79-yard touchdown on Northwestern’s second play from scrimmage. Aidan Smith found a diving Jace James from 16 yards out to put the Wildcats up 14-0 on the next drive, and Northwestern added a safety.

Running back King Doerue bounced outside for a 12-yard score in the second quarter. Then O’Connell floated touchdown passes over the defense to David Bell and Amad Anderson in the third.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers have a tough road remaining with games at Wisconsin and at home against Indiana, but they can still qualify for a bowl game.

Northwestern: A season marked by lifeless offense will end in a last-place finish in the Big Ten West. It’ll be the Wildcats’ worst season since at least 2006, coach Pat Fitzgerald’s first season at the helm.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Off next week before a trip to Wisconsin on Nov. 23.

Northwestern: Hosts Massachusetts in a break from Big Ten play.

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