2018 SeasonAll times ET

2018 Schedule
6-4, 1st in Big Ten - West
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13hESPN Staff

Every top 25 team's best reason for optimism next season

Even with the College Football Playoff selection committee's top 25 still battling for semifinal and New Year's Six bowl positions, it's never too early to look ahead to next season.

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4d

Northwestern ranked in AP Top 25 poll after win

The day after earning a spot in the Big Ten championship game, Northwestern is ranked in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season.

William Weinbaum ESPN 

With games left at Minn. & vs. Illinois before the 12/1 Big Ten championship, N'western (6-4, 6-1) has its ninth 6 (or more)-win conference season & 3rd in 4 years. NU has surpassed 6 conf. wins 3 times: 8-0 in 1995, 7-1 in ‘96 & 7-2 last year.

Iowa QB finds wide-open WR for 28-yard TD (0:38)

William Weinbaum ESPN 

N'western's 14-10 win at Iowa Sat. clinched at least a share of its 1st Big Ten West title & 1st conference championship game berth. NU (6-4, 6-1) has won 13 of 14 conf. games (10 straight in W. Div.), 7 straight road games (all in conf.) & 3 straight vs. Iowa.

Tom VanHaaren ESPN Staff Writer 

Northwestern beat Iowa 14-10 and clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. Purdue lost to Minnesota, giving the Boilermakers a third conference loss. Northwestern holds a tie breaker against both Purdue and Wisconsin and with its win against Iowa, it can lose the last two games of the season and still make it into the conference championship game.

Northwestern's Skowronek makes diving catch for go-ahead TD (1:01)
Notre Dame pulls away from Northwestern to remain unbeaten (2:18)

Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer 

Notre Dame's November won't be smooth sailing, but QB Ian Book gives this team a chance to finish 12-0. Book was the difference in the second half at Northwestern, accounting for three second-half touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush), including the put-away 89-yard push after Notre Dame's lead had shrunk to three points. Offensive coordinator Chip Long called a great second half against a talented Northwestern defense.

Book credits great play calling for win against Northwestern (1:03)

William Weinbaum ESPN 

Undefeated Notre Dame had lost 2 straight vs. N'western (1995 & 2014), but its 31-21 win Sat. is its 6th straight in Evanston (1966-70-72-74-76). NU ends its non-conf. season 0-3, but is 5-1 in Big Ten & can clinch the W. Division with 2 wins in final 3 games, at Iowa & Minn., then home vs. Illinois.

Book goes untouched for 23-yard TD (0:38)

Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer 

Notre Dame's season-long special teams problems surfaced at the worst time, as Tyler Newsome had a punt blocked by Northwestern's Cameron Ruiz, allowing the Wildcats to tack on a second quick touchdown and close their deficit to 24-21 with 7:05 to play. It was the latest in a line of special teams miscues for the Irish. Northwestern's offense has suddenly shown life in the fourth quarter. Big series coming up for Ian Book and the Irish.

Thorson keeps it for 1-yard TD (0:34)
Northwestern blocks punt deep in Notre Dame territory (0:42)
Thorson connects with Lees for 27-yard TD (0:29)

Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer 

After a mediocre first half (7 of 15 passing, 107 yards), Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has been terrific in the third quarter, leading two touchdown drives. Book is 10-for-13 for 169 yards and two touchdowns in this period, spreading the ball to Chase Claypool, Miles Boykin, Michael Young and others. Book showed tremendous poise throwing from his own end zone, which sparked a 98-yard touchdown drive.

Notre Dame extends lead with 47-yard TD pass (0:45)
Book connects with Boykin for 20-yard TD (0:45)
Notre Dame-Northwestern knotted up at half (1:23)

Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer 

Halftime in Evanston: 7-7. Notre Dame controlled the first quarter and Northwestern owned the second quarter. Both defenses have played well in their own end of the field. Notre Dame has to get RB Dexter Williams going (9 carries, 18 yards) and hit on an explosive play or two. Northwestern must continue to shorten the game with RB Isaiah Bowser (14 carries, 51 yards) and get a few special plays from QB Clayton Thorson down the stretch.

Team Stats

Passing Yards250.4
Rushing Yards102.1
Points For23.6170th
Points Against23.0