EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Clayton Thorson scored two touchdowns, Justin Jackson ran for 120 yards and the Northwestern defense turned in another dominant performance as the No. 16 Wildcats shut out Minnesota 27-0 on Saturday.

Thorson, a freshman quarterback, scored on runs of 5 and 1 yards to spark the offense for Northwestern (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten). The Wildcats defense, which has allowed only three touchdowns in five games, did the rest.

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Northwestern defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster forced a fumble by Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner that linebacker Anthony Walker returned 13 yards for a touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 27-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota (3-2, 0-1) turned the ball over twice and finished with only 173 yards. The Golden Gophers also failed to convert on all three of its fourth down conversion attempts.

Thorson’s 5-yard touchdown run gave the Wildcats a 20-0 lead after Minnesota failed on fourth down deep in Northwestern territory. A Jackson 31-yard run helped set up the short scoring run.

Jack Mitchell gave Northwestern a 13-0 lead with a 23-yard field goal with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter. The kick came after a 32-yard, one-handed diving touchdown catch by Solomon Vault was overturned on review. Officials determined the ball hit the ground while Vault was tumbling to the ground.

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Instead, Mitchell’s field goal finished off a 19-play, 69-yard drive that ate up the first 8:47 of the second half.

Northwestern led 10-0 at halftime. Thorson scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:36 remaining in the half. Miles Schuler set up the score with a 55-yard punt return, giving the Wildcats the ball at the Minnesota 5.

Thorson also passed for 128 yards, connecting on 14 of 19 attempts.

Mitchell gave Northwestern with a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

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