September 1, 2019 / 12:01 AM / 15 days ago

No. 25 Stanford uses late fumble recovery to beat Northwestern

EditorsNote: Establishes day, location in lede; other tweaks throughout

Aug 31, 2019; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello (3) runs the ball against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that featured two quarterback injuries, No. 25 Stanford used a late fumble recovery in the end zone to defeat visiting Northwestern 17-7 in both teams’ season opener Saturday.

With about 30 seconds remaining, Wildcats quarterback Hunter Johnson rolled out and fumbled as he was hit. Jordan Fox recovered the ball for the touchdown.

Cardinal starter K.J. Costello and Wildcats backup TJ Green — who replaced starter Johnson in the second quarter — were both injured and did not return.

With 10 seconds left in the first half, Costello scrambled out of the pocket, but Northwestern defensive end Earnest Brown IV delivered a late hit on the signal caller. Costello stayed down for a few minutes before leaving the game under his own control.

Costello — who was 16 of 20 for 152 yards and one touchdown — did not return. Davis Mills played the rest of the game for the Cardinal.

After the late hit penalty, Jet Toner nailed a 51-yard field goal to make the score 10-0 going into the half.

Stanford was first to enter the red zone with under five minutes left in the second quarter, and the Cardinal took advantage when Costello hit sophomore Michael Wilson on a rollout for a 2-yard score.

When Northwestern took over on the next possession, Green took over as quarterback and immediately made an impact. He drove the Wildcats into enemy territory, but the drive stalled out at the 35-yard line.

Stanford dominated the first half. It had 215 yards to Northwestern’s 79 and possessed the ball for almost 23 minutes.

The Wildcats came out of the second half hot. Northwestern drove all the way to the 5-yard line until Green fumbled on a sack. The fifth-year senior stayed down after the hit and was unable to place any weight on his left ankle as he was helped off the field.

The Wildcats finally got on the board with 7:49 left in the fourth quarter when John Moten IV scored on a 1-yard rush.

Johnson was 6 of 17 for 55 yards.

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