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Clayton Thorson injury: Northwestern quarterback expected to play vs. Purdue

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON — Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson is expected to play vs. Purdue after suffering a lower-body injury in Northwestern's 23-21 win over Penn State.

Pat Fitzgerald confirmed Monday that Thorson is "doing fine," and that he expects the redshirt freshman to be ready to start Saturday.

Thorson left Saturday's game late in the first quarter after he was hit in the head by the hand of a Penn State pass rusher and knocked backward. Thorson stayed down on one knee on the field after the play, before walking off and later jogging to the locker room.

Thorson warmed up prior to the start of the second half, and occasionally threw passes on the sideline, but did not return. Neither Fitzgerald nor Northwestern players answered questions about Thorson's status after the game.

Senior Zack Oliver replaced Thorson, and went 11-24 for 111 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception in three-plus quarters. He also rushed for a touchdown, led the Wildcats on two touchdown drives, and made a clutch throw to Austin Carr on NU's final possession to set up a game-winning Jack Mitchell field goal.

Northwestern (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) takes on Purdue (2-7, 1-4 Big Ten) at home Saturday at 11 a.m. CT (Big Ten Network). The Wildcats are 13-point favorites.