Scores

Final

Towson 14

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Northwestern 47

(1-0, 1-0 home)

12:00 PM ET, September 5, 2009

Ryan Field, EVANSTON, IL

1 2 3 4 T
TOWS 0 7 7 014
NW 21 16 3 747

Top Performers

Passing: M. Kafka (NW) - 192 YDS

Rushing: A. Fields (NW) - 6 CAR, 48 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Brewer (NW) - 6 REC, 145 YDS, 1 TD

QB Kafka, Northwestern jump on Towson early, often

Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Mike Kafka led three touchdown drives in the first quarter and passed for a career-high 192 yards to lead Northwestern to a 47-14 victory over Towson on Saturday.

Andrew Brewer added a career-high 145 yards receiving, including a 72-yard touchdown, and the Wildcats (1-0) got off to a strong start after going 9-4 last season. Expectations are higher now. They hope to compete for the Big Ten title after reaching the Alamo Bowl last year.

Well, how's this for a start?

They scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and then got a safety while building a 30-0 lead and never looked back. Towson simply was no match, which was no surprise.

The Tigers (0-1) switched coaches last season after a 3-9 finish, firing Gordy Combs and hiring Rob Ambrose off Connecticut's staff, and they were playing a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent for just the second time.

The Wildcats basically got what they wanted -- a glorified tuneup against a Football Championship Subdivision team.

Kafka was 15 of 20 and did not get picked off.

Brewer, a senior, caught six passes while easily breaking his previous career high of 48 yards. Stephen Simmons ran for 77 yards, while Arby Fields added 48 yards and two touchdowns. He spent most of the second half on the sideline because of cramping.

Although one game certainly doesn't answer all the questions surrounding the offense, this was a good start for a unit that lost running back Tyrell Sutton along with quarterback C.J. Bacher and the top three receivers from last season.

The defense is expected to be the team's strength, and that unit did its part, holding Towson to 205 yards even though defensive end Corey Wootton was quiet in his limited time.

A first-team all-conference pick last season, he was eyeing a jump to the NFL until he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee late in the Alamo Bowl. The Wildcats went on to lose in overtime to Missouri, a bitter finish to their first nine-win season since 1996. Now they're looking for their first conference title in nine years.

They certainly were locked in against Towson.

Three years ago, New Hampshire came in and left with a 34-17 victory in the first game at Ryan Field since the death of coach Randy Walker. This time, it was clear from the start Northwestern wasn't about to lose to another Colonial Athletic Association opponent.

Kafka's 27-yard pass to Brewer and 16-yarder to Drake Dunsmore on the Wildcats' first possession helped set up Jacob Schmidt's 2-yard TD run. Fields then scored on a 2-yard run and 22-yard dash to make it 21-0 with less than a minute left in the quarter, and Dan Persa made it 28-0 early in the second when he found Brewer deep over the middle.

The only downer for Northwestern was losing backup running back Jeravin Matthews to an ankle injury late in the first half.

For Towson, freshman Peter Athens completed 15 of 25 passes for 140 yards. He threw a touchdown pass but got intercepted twice.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TOWS
NW
1st Downs1222
Total Yards205485
Passing140264
Rushing65221
Penalties3-256-45
3rd Down Conversions5-1312-17
4th Down Conversions1-22-3
Turnovers21
Possession29:0830:52

Passing Leaders

TowsonC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Athens15/251405.612
NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kafka15/201929.600

Rushing Leaders

TowsonCARYDSAVGTDLG
Greening9353.9013
Dameron14332.417
NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Simmons18774.3012
Fields6488.0222

Receiving Leaders

TowsonRECYDSAVGTDLG
Newsom67412.3133
Cegles44010.0021
NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Brewer614524.2172
Fields33010.0014

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTOWSNW
TD08:46Jacob Schmidt 2 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 07
TD03:37Arby Fields 2 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 014
TD00:44Arby Fields 22 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 021
SECOND QUARTERTOWSNW
TD12:44Andrew Brewer 72 Yd Pass From Dan Persa (Stefan Demos Kick) 028
SF11:57Ball Through End Zone 030
TD03:44Tremayne Dameron 1 Yd Run (Jon Boyer Kick) 730
TD01:17Scott Concannon 21 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 737
THIRD QUARTERTOWSNW
TD10:07David Newsom 33 Yd Pass From Peter Athens (Jon Boyer Kick) 1437
FG04:55Stefan Demos 26 Yd 1440
FOURTH QUARTERTOWSNW
TD10:43Scott Concannon 3 Yd Run (Steve Flaherty Kick) 1447