WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Jordan Lynch scored four touchdowns as Northern Illinois cruised past Purdue 55-24 in front of 54,258 at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Trailing 3-0 early in the first quarter, Rob Henry gave Purdue the lead as he found Akeem Hunt on a screen pass and Hunt did the rest as he worked his way 44 yards to the end zone to give Purdue a 7-3 advantage.
Lynch and the Huskies would respond. Lynch connected with Da'Ron Brown for a 15-yard touchdown pass to give NIU a 10-7 lead with 4:10 left in the first quarter.
The Boilermakers tried to respond and regain the lead but It wasn't meant to be as Rob Henry was picked off in the back of the end zone to end the drive.
Henry would follow that drive up with another interception deep in NIU territory which led to head coach Darrell Hazell turning to freshman Danny Etling for the remainder of the game.
"At that point in time we turned it over down in the red zone," said Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell. "We needed to make a change to give ourselves an opportunity. We will evaluate that situation as well."
Etling came in for the Boilermakers final drive of the first half and completed his first two pass attempts to set up Paul Griggs’ 47-yard field goal. Purdue trailed 27-10 at the half and that is as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Tommylee Lewis returned the opening kickoff of the second half 99 yards for a touchdown to put Northern Illinois up 34-10. Etling and the Boilermakers would show glimpses of hope for the future in the third quarter as Etling connected with fellow freshman Cameron Posey who caught a 16 yard pass in dramatic, tip-toe fashion in the corner of the end zone to make it a 41-17 game.
Etling completed 19-39 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
"I have got to play better," said Etling. "I went in and we were down 20 and we lost by more than 20 points. Obviously, I can't play like a freshman if whatever happens, happens. I've got to step my game up because I had too many turnovers. Obviously, when you are behind you are going to throw it a lot more and that's where the yards come from. I mean I still have to play better I believe and my teammates are going to help me out with that and they were really supportive of me on the sideline."
With the win, Northern Illinois is the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat two Big Ten teams in the same season. The Huskies tied the MAC record for victory margin over a Big Ten school on Saturday as well, Toledo beat Minnesota by 31 in 2001.
Purdue (1-4) will look to regroup during their bye week before returning to action on Saturday, October 12 against Nebraska at Ross-Ade Stadium.
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