RB Jeremy Larkin the Constant, as Northwestern Shuffles QBs in Win over Purdue

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When the Northwestern football community speaks of tonight’s 31-27 upset win at Purdue, the first topic will undoubtedly be the rotating quarterbacks that Coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff employed. QB1 Clayton Thorson and QB2 T.J. Green alternated series, and if this confuses you, well, we’ll get to that later.

And we promise you, you’ll feel even more confused. While that narrative is obviously the lead, and it will receive plenty of analysis and discussion this week, perhaps the true main story tonight was Jeremy Larkin; NU’s new starter at the tailback position.

jeremy larkin

Taking over for the all time leading rusher in school history, Justin Jackson, Larkin had some very big shoes to fill. He responded by assuming the workhorse role that Northwestern required, rushing 26 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 46.

His 5.5 yards per carry average was just about in line with the six per rush that he averaged last season.

“He’s a heck of a football player,” said Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald after the game. “He did all the little things.”

Larkin, who also added four receptions for 20 yards, gave credit to the offensive line.

“They blocked their butts off today, I wish we could run the ball every play,” he said. “I wish I could buy them some steaks or something they played so well.”

As well as Larkin played tonight, he knows that he can still improve too.

purdue

“I got to see holes better, be more patient,” Larkin said while adding that he could also work on his pass blocking skills.

The Northwestern offense was shut out in the second half, after putting up an impressive 31 points in the first two quarters. The quarterback switcheroo was all by design. Thorson was 16 of 26 for 172 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, while Green was 7-11 for 63, no TDs, no INTs.

“We had a very clear plan medically on how to manage the quarterbacks,” said Fitzgerald.

“We kind of had a series plan that we were going to go through. We were going to have a series count based on how things we’re going. This was well choreographed.”

clayton thorson   

So what’s going to happen at the position moving forward? Fitzgerald just described it as a “fluid” situation.

So stay tuned.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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