Northwestern’s backup outshines Clayton Thorston in relief duty

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Northwestern Wildcats football fans were in for a stomach-turning moment when starting quarterback Clayton Thorson went down in Saturday’s win against Penn State. It had appeared that the season would be over because the freshman has done such an effective job rallying his teammates in crucial moments.

Backup QB Zack Oliver saw no pressure in stepping in for Thorson and guided the team to a last second victory over the Nittany Lions. Oliver replaced him after Thorson was hit with 3:09 left in the first quarter by Penn State’s Carl Nassib. The receiver that caught one of Thorson’s five passes, Christian Jones, suffered a lower-body injury on a 13-yard catch and didn’t return.

Oliver passed for 111 yards and threw an interception but powered Northwestern’s final drive.

Depending on Thorson’s health, it may be in the Wildcats’ best interest to play the senior Oliver. Thorson may be the quarterback of the future for the program but this season, he has one game of multiple touchdown scores. He has thrown six touchdowns to five interceptions so far. By all indications, he isn’t performing well enough to risk playing him injured.

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