Watch out for Northwestern's QB-RB duo
Any concern that running back Justin Jackson could experience a sophomore slump this season was put to rest in the Northwestern Wildcats’ season-opener against Stanford. Johnson simply wore down a tough Stanford defense in today’s 16-6 victory.
Provided with 28 carries and two receiving targets, Jackson showcased one of the best jump-cuts in all of college football en route to 134 rushing, and 12 receiving yards. Equipped with the 10th-best elusive rating in the nation among returning backs, Jackson provided Northwestern with an invaluable ability to eat up the clock with positive gains after taking the lead in the second quarter.
The major difference between this year’s Wildcat offense is newly-minted QB Clayton Thorson. The young quarterback was able to play an entire game against a respectable opponent without a single turnover.
It was Thorson who found the edge on the left side of the defense for a 42-yard touchdown on a designed run. As detailed in the preview of Big Ten West QBs, Thorson has the ability to be a major rushing threat with his 4.60 40-yard dash time.
In addition — after seeing former QB Trevor Siemian toss 11 interceptions with four fumbles last season — it was a breath of fresh air for the offense to see the redshirt freshman manage a flawless game. If Thorson can continue to provide a game manager-type to the offense, Jackson has the ability to make some noise in the West division.