EVANSTON, Ill. - Evan Hull had four rushing touchdowns, Chris Bergin added an 85-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal, and Northwestern snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 45-6 victory over UMass on Saturday.
Hull, a freshman, had 220 yards rushing on 24 carries (an average of 9.2 yards) in his first significant action this season. He had a total of 15 yards and eight carries (an average of 1.9 yards) before Saturday.
Northwestern (2-8) last won on Sept. 14 with a 30-14 victory over UNLV.
Quarterback Randall West was 19 of 36 for 175 yards and Bilal Ally had 66 yards rushing on 16 carries for UMass (1-10), which has dropped five straight.
UMass led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and had a chance to expand the lead on the first play of the second quarter. However, Cooper Garcia’s 30-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Joe Gaziano and Bergin picked up the ball at the 15 and returned it 85 yards for the game-turning touchdown.
After Garcia connected on a 23-yard field goal, Hull had a 6-yard TD run for a 14-6 lead with 7:59 left in the first half. Less than three minutes later, Hull had a 38-yard TD run to cap a 95-yard drive to make it 21-6. Hull had three rushes on the series for a total of 90 yards.
Charlie Kuhbander hit a 31-yard field goal in the third - following an interception by Blake Gallagher - to make it 24-6.
Hull had a 46-yard TD early in the fourth for a 31-6 advantage and added a 31-yard TD a few minutes later to make it 38-6.
Northwestern’s final score was an 11-yard TD run by Raymond Niro after Hull left the game.
UMass: The Minutemen had 227 yards passing but could have had much more. Both West and backup Andrew Brito missed a slew of open receivers.
Northwestern: Aside from Hull’s rushing, the offense continued to sputter and Aidan Smith (7 of 13 for 76 yards with two interceptions) was less than impressive at quarterback. But following seven straight losses, any win is a thing of beauty and the Wildcats will take it. The defense gave up 310 yards but kept UMass out of the end zone.
UMass: Hosts BYU next Saturday.
Northwestern: Hosts No. 7 Minnesota next Saturday.