With a masterful display of offense and a stifling defense, the Northwestern Trojans overpowered the Clover Blue Eagles to the tune of 42-7.
The game got out of hand early for Clover who was without multiple starters due to suspensions and expulsions from the team.
The Blue Eagles made the game’s first big play with a 39-yard pass on a bootleg play by quarterback Noah Lindsay. But the Blue Eagles could not find the end zone on the drive and were forced into a 40-yard field goal attempt that hit the left upright and bounced back onto the field of play.
The Trojans took over on their own 30-yard line and quarterback Dupree Hart and running back Jerry Howard marched the team 70 yards downfield for an eventual 5-yard Hart touchdown run with 1:36 minutes left in the first quarter.
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On Clover’s next offensive drive late in the first quarter, the Blue Eagles attempted another big play on a half-back pass, but a Northwestern defender picked off the pass and carried it to the Blue Eagles’ 20-yard line.
On the next play Hart ran the ball in to the end zone with 24.4 seconds left in the first quarter for the Trojans’ second touchdown in a little more than one minute.
The Trojans’ first drive of the second quarter was capped by an 11-yard Hart touchdown pass to Julian Shockley at the 9:13 mark. Seven minutes later he and Davion Blake hooked up for a 36-yard score.
Clover took over with less than three minutes in the half but instead of winding down the clock with their brutal running game, they found themselves at the mercy of a tougher Trojans defense that forced a punt on fourth down at the 1:07 mark in the second. Thirty-three seconds later, Hart was again in the end zone on a 20-yard run.
He finished the half with 121 passing yards and two passing touchdowns and 111 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
“When you play Clover you know you’re going to have limited possessions, so for us to go into halftime up a few scores was good for our offense, and also good for our defense because we had a little cushion to work with,” said Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson.
Hart also contributed a 4-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half – a drive that saw two Howard runs of more than 25 yards each.
After that score the Trojans second team offense and defense took over and battled a still hard-running Clover team for the remainder of the game.
Clover scored its lone touchdown on a 4-yard run by Willy Clark with 1:32 left in the fourth on a drive that started on their own 1-yard line.
“You always want a shutout,” Richardson said concerning the score. “We’re proud of our defense. The defensive staff had a great plan and the defense executed and basically our ones got the shutout and two’s got some work too.”