BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Stevie Scott III ran for two touchdowns and caught a third Saturday to lead the Indiana Hoosiers past Northwestern 34-3.
Indiana (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) has won four straight — its longest streak in conference play since 1993.
They did it despite losing starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with yet another injury in the first half. Peyton Ramsey was 7 of 10 with 108 yards and one TD to help Indiana lock up its first seven-win season since 2007.
Northwestern (1-7, 0-6) has lost six straight overall and has failed to top the 10-point mark in four consecutive games. It’s the longest skid for the Wildcats since a seven-game losing streak in 2013.
They had won five straight and nine of the previous 10 in this series.
But this one was downright ugly.
Quarterback Aidan Smith fumbled after a 22-yard run on Northwestern’s first offensive play and Indiana capitalized seven plays later with Scott’s 2-yard TD run for a 10-0 lead. Scott had 26 carries for 116 yards.
After the Wildcats settled for a 25-yard field goal and the defense forced a punt, they gave it away again on a fumble at the Northwestern 18. This time, the Hoosiers scored on the fourth play — Penix’s 1-yard plunge to make it 17-3.
Northwestern helped set up Scott’s second 2-yard TD run with two pass interference penalties in the end zone — its third and fourth of the half. Indiana scored all three of its first-half TDs after pass interference calls to take a 24-3 halftime lead.
And it didn’t get any better in the second half.
Scott scored on a 20-yard TD reception in the third quarter and the Hoosiers added a field goal early in the fourth. Northwestern suffered its second-most lopsided loss of the season.
Northwestern: This loss essentially seals the Wildcats’ postseason fate. Northwestern will not be bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014 — a jarring reality for a team that won the league’s West Division title last season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ breakthrough season continues. With three regular-season games left, Indiana is positioning itself for a solid bowl bid. It hasn’t won eight games in a season since 1993 and hasn’t won nine since its 1967 Big Ten championship season.
Northwestern: Hosts Purdue next Saturday, still seeking its first conference win.
Indiana: Visits Penn State on Nov. 16 following next week’s bye.