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Hunter Johnson wins three-way battle to be Northwestern Wildcats QB

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr tackles Northwestern quarterback Hunter Johnson for a sack inthe fourth quarter.Mjs Uwgrid29 16 Hoffman Jpg Uwgrid29
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr tackles Northwestern quarterback Hunter Johnson for a sack inthe fourth quarter. Mjs Uwgrid29 16 Hoffman Jpg Uwgrid29

Fifth-year senior Hunter Johnson will open the season as Northwestern’s starting quarterback after beating out transfer Ryan Hilinski and senior Andrew Marty.

Johnson appeared in two games for Northwestern last season but didn’t throw a pass. He saw action in six games in 2019 and threw for 432 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said on Tuesday that it was a tight battle to decide who would start the opener on Sept. 3 against visiting Michigan State, but said Johnson stood out the most.

“All three of those top guys have been really competitive and close,” Fitzgerald told ESPN. “We came out of spring and this was where we were. We felt like if it was same way after two weeks, let’s roll. He’s just battle-scarred. He’s been through a lot, and he’s handled it extremely well. I know Andrew and Ryan will both be ready to go, too.”

Johnson was a former top-flight recruit at Clemson and completed 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in 2017. He transferred to Northwestern following the season.

Hilinski started 11 games for South Carolina in 2019 and passed for 2,357 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He attempted just six passes in two appearances last season and elected to transfer.

Marty has thrown 22 passes for Northwestern, all in 2019. He appeared in four games last season and didn’t attempt a pass. Marty ran for four touchdowns in 2019.

Also, running back Cam Porter will miss the season with a lower-body injury suffered during fall camp. Porter led Northwestern with 333 yards and five touchdowns on the ground last season as a freshman.

–Field Level Media