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Northwestern racks up 560 yards but needs five field goals to top BC

Northwestern running back Mike Trumpy center breaks tackle by BostCollege's KevPierre-Louis left Mehdi Abdesmad (45) Conner Wujciak (90) score touchdown

Northwestern running back Mike Trumpy, center, breaks a tackle by Boston College's Kevin Pierre-Louis, left, Mehdi Abdesmad (45) and Conner Wujciak (90) to score a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Evanston, Ill. Northwestern won 22-13. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

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Updated: October 17, 2012 6:52AM

Northwestern’s formula against Boston College was atypical. The Wildcats raced up and down the field, racking up 100 plays, 34 first downs and 560 yards, all of which added up to only one touchdown, and that came with less than two minutes left.

Fortunately for them, kicker Jeff Budzien had a career day, booting a school-record-tying five field goals to preserve a 22-13 victory Saturday before 32,597 at Ryan Field.

“Stats are for losers,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It was unbelievable ball movement, keeping possession of the ball, putting together great drives, picking up third downs. I could go on and on and on, time of possession, but we have to turn those threes into sevens moving forward and finish drives.”

Starting quarterback Kain Colter had freshman superback Dan Vitale wide open in the back of the end zone in the first quarter but didn’t see him. He scrambled instead and was stopped for no gain on third-and-goal from the 3. Backup Trevor Siemian fumbled on the 5 while trying to pick up a first down on fourth-and-one with four minutes left in the third quarter. A few minutes earlier, he overthrew a pass to a wide-open Kyle Prater in the back of the end zone. Colter overthrew Christian Jones in the end zone on second-and-goal late in the third quarter.

Both played well outside the red zone as Fitzgerald continued his successful two-headed quarterback experiment. Siemian completed 14 of 20 passes for 123 yards, and Colter was 16-for-20 for 144 yards. Colter also had 66 yards on 15 carries.

“The one to Christian is eating me up,” Colter said.

“Honestly, I’m not the tallest guy. I couldn’t see over the line, and I threw the ball like a little girl.”

Running back Venric Mark left the game with what was later described as a “lower body injury” after absorbing a fierce hit and fumbling in the third quarter. Center Brandon Vitabile not only recovered the fumble but advanced it five yards to continue a drive that ended with another field goal.

Mark’s status for the game next week against South Dakota is not known.

The Wildcats’ leading rusher had 77 yards on 18 carries before being replaced by Mike Trumpy, who saw his most significant playing time since undergoing season-ending knee surgery last year. Trumpy finished with 16 carries for 106 yards, 27 of which came on a touchdown run with 1:37 left.

“During the time away with the injury, [Trumpy] really embraced spending time in the weight room,” Fitzgerald said. “So far, so good when Mike has the ball in his hand. The pile was going in the right direction.”

Budzien tied Joel Howells’ school record set in 2005 by making kicks of 42, 20, 29, 41 and 19 yards without a miss but wasn’t hoping for a record-breaking sixth field goal late in the game.

“At a time like that when we need touchdowns, it was great to see the team put seven points up,” he said.

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