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Game Thread Game Eleven: #1 tOSU 54, Northwestern 10 (11/11/06)

Discussion in '2006 Football Season Capsule' started by 3yardsandacloud, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    Game Eleven: @Northwestern 11/11/06
  2. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    Season preview from


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    [FONT=verdana, arial,
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    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1] <TABLE id=table1 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE id=table2 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=397>Northwestern Wildcats[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]Preview 2006[/FONT]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]<TD bgColor=#ffffff>- 2006 Northwestern Offense Breakdown
    - 2006 Northwestern Defense Breakdown
    - 2006 Northwestern Depth Chart
    - 2006 Northwestern Further Analysis
    - 2005 Northwestern Preview
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][​IMG][/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]By[FONT=verdana, arial,
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    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial,
    sans serif][SIZE=-1]Pete Fiutak[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial,
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    Northwestern is easily college football's most bizarre program to try to figure out.
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]
    It has all the major problems other small, private, tremendous academic institutions have, but it's competitive every year. It couldn't stop a junior high offense last season, but that didn't prevent a 7-5 season with a bowl appearance and a brief flirtation with Big Ten title dreams in late October. You'd think the rest of the conference would have the Wildcats figured out by now.

    It's true that Northwestern doesn't have the same talent level the other Big Ten teams enjoy, it's not like the NFL is littered with Wildcats, and teams still fail to take the trip to Evanston seriously when there are other games against teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa to worry about. After all, Ryan Field only sells out when opposing fans take over half the place to further deepen the memories of when this was one of the biggest losers in college football. [/SIZE]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TABLE id=table3 cellSpacing=4 width=170 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Head coach: Randy Walker
    10th year: 37-46
    17th year overall: 96-81-5
    Returning Lettermen:
    Off. 24, Def. 21, ST 4
    Lettermen Lost: 16
    [/SIZE][/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Ten Best Wildcat Players
    1. RB Tyrell Sutton, Soph.
    2. CB Marquice Cole, Sr.
    3. OG Ryan Keenan, Sr.
    4. DE Kevin Mims, Soph.
    5. LB Nick Roach, Jr.
    6. LB Adam Kadela, Jr.
    7. WR Shaun Herbert, Sr.
    8. S Bryan Heinz, Sr.
    9. OT Dylan Thiry Jr.
    10. C Trevor Rees, Jr.
    [/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TABLE id=table5 width=160><TBODY><TR><TD align=left width=146 bgColor=#660066 colSpan=2>
    2006 Schedule
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]CFN Prediction: coming[/FONT]
    [/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]8/31[/FONT]</TD>[/FONT][/SIZE][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]<TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Miami Univ.[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT][/SIZE][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/9[/FONT]</TD>[/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]<TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]New Hampshire[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]16[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Eastern Michigan[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/22[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Nevada[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/30[/FONT]</TD>[/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Penn St[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/7[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Wisconsin[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/14[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Purdue[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/2[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]1[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Michigan State[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/2[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]8[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Michigan[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/4[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Iowa[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/11[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Ohio State[/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/1[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]8[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=119>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Illinois[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>[/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TABLE id=table6 width=160><TBODY><TR><TD align=left width=146 bgColor=#660066 colSpan=2>
    2005 Schedule
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]CFN Prediction: [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]4-7
    2005 Record: 7-5
    [/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Preview 2005 predicted wins[/FONT] [/FONT]​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]3[/FONT]</TD>
    [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Ohio[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica] W 38-14[/FONT][/FONT]</TD></TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/1[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]0[/FONT]</TD>​
    [/SIZE][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Northern Illinois[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica] W 38-37[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]17[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Arizona State L 52-21[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9/24[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Penn State[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica] L 34-29[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]8[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Wisconsin[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica] W 51-48[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/1[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]5[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Purdue W 34-29[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/22[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Michigan St W 49-14[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]10/2[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]9[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Michigan L 33-17[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/5[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Iowa W 28-27[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/1[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]2[/FONT]</TD><TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Ohio State L 48-7[/FONT]</TD></TR>[/FONT]<TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]11/19[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]at Illinois W 38-21[/FONT]</TD>[/FONT]</TR><TR><TD align=left width=27>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]12/30[/FONT]</TD>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]<TD align=left width=123>[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Sun Bowl
    UCLA L 50-38[/FONT]</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Give credit to head coach Randy Walker for being able to keep the program from falling into mediocrity, but there's a ceiling on how high the program can go and there does need to be a convergence of several key factors for a successful season. The lines have to be solid, experience has to make up for a general lack of talent, and there needs to be a veteran quarterback to run the show.

    And there's your downfall of the 2006 Northwestern Wildcats.

    The offensive line is one of the best in the Big Ten, Tyrell Sutton is certainly one of the best running backs in the conference, and 17 starters return to provide a realistic hope of another bowl bid, but the quarterback situation could be the difference.

    Last year was the season it was because of veteran Brett Basanez. It's no coincidence that Northwestern lost three times when Basanez was average, and almost got tagged by Northern Illinois when he had his worst game of the season. C.J. Bacher, Andrew Brewer and Mike Kafka all fit the mold of the smart, do-it-all Wildcat quarterback, but the margin between a winning season and 4-8 is always razor thin in Evanston, and inexperience under center could be what tips the scales in the wrong direction.

    Of course, taking Northwestern lightly is what everyone does. From the nation's worst defense in 2005 to the issues at quarterback to the lack of a second corner, it's easy to find reasons for a disappointing season. Walker and his crew always seem to overcome the issues. [/SIZE]​
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    The Schedule: The Wildcats had better rock out of the gate to make up for a bear of a finishing kick. 4-0 is a must, but won't be a lock with road trips to Miami University and Nevada along with easy home games against New Hampshire and Eastern Michigan. The Big Ten season starts out nasty going to Penn State and Wisconsin making home games against Purdue and Michigan State must wins. It gets tough with no Indiana on the slate and games at Michigan, at Iowa and at home against Ohio State before the season finale against rival Illinois[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT].
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    Best Offensive Player: [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]Sophomore RB Tyrell Sutton. It's possible for him to have a better season and not crank out the same stats he came up with last season when he ran for 1,474 yards and caught passes for 396 more. He'll likely get less work thanks to the return of Terrell Jordan from a hamstring problem, and that's a big plus. A fresh Sutton will be even more dangerous.

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Marquice Cole. Defensive end Kevin Mims should grow into the team's best defender, but Cole is the most important with the other corner spot extremely shaky. Cole has to be a flawless lockdown defender who makes teams pay for throwing at him because ...
    Key player to a successful season: CB Eric Peterman. Of course the quarterback situation is the most important factor in the Wildcat season, but the defense won't improve much unless a steady second corner is found. Wide receivers Gerard Hamlett and Eric Peterman have moved over to the defensive side to help out Marquice Cole, while it might end up being up to the small Cory Dious to try to avoid getting toasted right off the bat.
    The season will be a success if ... Northwestern wins six games. It's not going to be easy, but a 4-0 start is possible and Illinois is there at the end of the year. That means the Wildcats have to come up with one, maybe two upsets to get back to the post-season.
    Key game: Oct. 14 vs. Purdue. The Boilermakers are much better this season and won't be taking this game lightly after losing 34-29 in West Lafayette last year. It's the the first Big Ten home game of Northwestern's season and it needs to be a win after playing at Nevada, at Penn State and at Wisconsin.
    2005 Fun Stats:
    - Second quarter scoring: Opponents 155 - Northwestern 141
    - Rushing yards per game: Opponents 218.1 - Northwestern 193.6
    - Fourth down conversions: Opponents 17 of 23 (74%) - Northwestern 11 of 20 (55%)

    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]The Last Time Northwestern…
    …played in a bowl game…2005 (Sun Bowl vs. UCLA)
    …missed a bowl game…2004
    …pitched a shutout…1997 (Oklahoma)
    …was shutout…2003 (Ohio State)
    …scored 50 points…2005 (Wisconsin)
    …went undefeated…never
    …won a conference title…2000 (share, Big Ten)
    …had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Brett Basanez)
    …had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Tyrell Sutton)
    …had a 1,000-yard receiver…1998 (D’wayne Bates)
    …had a first-round draft choice…2005 (DT Luis Castillo)


    [​IMG][FONT=verdana, arial,
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    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1] <TABLE id=table1 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][​IMG][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]Northwestern Wildcats[/FONT]
    Preview 2006 - NU offense
    - 2006 Northwestern Preview | Defense Breakdown |[SIZE=-1] Depth Chart | [/SIZE]Further Analysis

    What you need to know ...
    It's Garrick McGee's offense now taking over for Mike Dunbar, but don't expect many big changes from last year with the exception of more two-back sets to get Terrell Jordan in the backfield at the same time as franchise runner Tyrell Sutton. The offensive line will be one of the best in the Big Ten with an anonymous group of rock-solid starters and helped by the return of center Trevor Rees after missing last year with academic issues. The receiving corps gets top-target Shaun Herbert back to lead the young but big group that should allow the offense to push it downfield a bit more. The real concern is at quarterback where C.J. Bacher, Andrew Brewer and Mike Kafka will try to replace four-year starter Brett Basanez.
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TABLE id=table2 cellSpacing=6 width="30%" align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%">
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Returning Leaders
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Passing: C.J. Bacher
    6-15, 59 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
    Rushing: Tyrell Sutton
    250 carries, 1,474 yds, 16 TD
    Receiving: Shaun Herbert
    79 catches, 862 yds, 6 TD
    [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Tyrell Sutton
    Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB C.J. Bacher
    Unsung star on the rise: Senior OG Ryan Keenan
    Best pro prospect: Junior OT Dylan Thiry
    Top three all-star candidates: 1) Sutton, 2) Keenan, 3) WR Shaun Herbert
    Strength of the offense: Offensive line, running backs
    Weakness of the offense:

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]Quarterbacks
    [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]Brett Basanez passed for 10,580 yards and 44 touchdowns and ran for 996 yards and 14 scores, but it took him almost three years before he became an efficient all-around playmaker for the Wildcats offense. It also helped that Northwestern had one of its deepest and most talented receiving corps ever. In other words, don't expect the new starter to suddenly be the ultra-efficient Big Ten leader in total offense like Basanez was last year. C.J. Bacher will get the first look at the job mainly due to his practice experience and familiarity with the offense. Andrew Brewer and Mike Kafka could be better fits, in time, for what the attack asks for. The key to the unit: Get a good competition going among the three options all summer long. All three need practice time and need to develop.
    Quarterback Rating: 6Projected Starter
    - C.J. Bacher, Soph. - 6-15, 40%, 59 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 6 carries, 25 yds, 4.2 ypc
    Bacher knows the offense, has a good, accurate arm, and can run. Now it needs to be seen if he can consistently direct the offense as close to as well as Brett Basanez did. He has the arm to push it deep and utilize his young, speedy receiving corps, but he'll likely be the starter because of his running ability. He's faster than Basanez and will likely end up running more early on until his comfort with the passing game catches up.

    Top Backups
    - Andrew Brewer, RFr.
    Brewer has all the skills to eventually explode in Randy Walker's offense. He's a tall, big-time passer with sprinter's speed. What he doesn't have is any experience. Even so, he'lll be given every opportunity to win the starting job throughout the summer.

    - Mike Kafka, RFr.
    Kafka has good size and nice all-around athleticism and could grow into the best runner among the quarterback options. He's not a pure passer like Andrew Brewer, but he's every bit the runner that C.J. Bacher is.

    Running Backs
    The healthy return of Terrell Jordan gives the coaching staff several options to play with. There might be a few two-back sets and there should be more of a rotation with Jordan and Brandon Roberson seeing time to keep Tyrell Sutton fresh. Sutton is a special back who has to be accounted for on every play as both a runner and receiver. He's not big, so his health and durability will be one of the keys to the offense.[SIZE=-1]The key to the unit: Getting Terrell Jordan and Brandon Roberson meaningful carries and not wearing down Tyrell Sutton.
    Running Back Rating: 9Projected Starters
    - Tyrell Sutton, Soph. - 250 carries, 1,474 yds, 5.9 ypc, 16 TD, 44 catches, 396 yds, 2 TD
    Sutton took over in his first game of his true freshman season and was unbelievable the rest of the way. Not only was he a workhorse for the ground game with three games with more than 30 carries, and one with 29 carries, he was a reliable receiver highlighted by a ten-catch day against Purdue. He's not all that big at 5-9 and 190 pounds, but he's great at flying through the hole and is elusive in the open field.

    Top Backups
    - Brandon Roberson, Jr. - 37 carries, 171 yds
    Roberson got the start in the opener against Ohio but got knocked out with a sprained ankle and didn't get much work the rest of the way with Tyrell Sutton emerging into a superstar. He's a lesser version of Sutton with good quickness and excellent speed. However, he doesn't have the special moves to take over the stating role. He should play a role on special teams as an occasional kickoff returner if he can get over his ankle problems.
    - Terrell Jordan, Sr.
    It was supposed to be Jordan's show last year, but he suffered a hamstring injury and missed the entire season. He's a little bit bigger than Tyrell Sutton and Brandon Roberson and runs with more power. He can make moves and crack off big gains when he gets a good hole even though his game is about powering between the tackles.

    ReceiversThere are concerns losing 115 catches and 1,217 yards of productions from the team's second and third receivers, Jonathan Fields and Mark Philmore, but top target Shaun Herbert is back to be a steadying force for the young, interesting group. It's a big corps with plenty of size and speed to allow the offense to push the ball deeper than in year's past. This might not be one of the team's strongest areas to start the season, but that will quickly change game by game.The key to the unit: Finding a reliable number two receiver to complement Shaun Herbert while hoping for some young talents to quickly emerge to provide some depth.
    Receiver Rating: 6.5Projected Starters
    [SIZE=-1]- Shaun Herbert, Sr. - 79 catches, 862 yds, 10.9 ypc, 6 TD
    Herbert was the main main last year leading the team in receptions and will have to be even more of a star this year with all the new starters in the corps. He was a steady target all year with a fantastic two-game stretch catching 21 passes for 234 yards in wins over Purdue and Wisconsin. He's a good-sized receiver at 6-1 and 200 pounds who turned into a scorer last year even though he's not much of a deep threat playing the inside H position.

    [SIZE=-1]Rasheed Ward, Soph. - 7 catches, 99 yds, 14.1 ypc, 1 TD
    Ward has the potential to be the team's breakout receiver on the outside X position. He's not as fast or as big as Lane, but he's a tremendous athlete who looked good early last year and was strong enough this spring to take over the starting job.

    - Kim Thompson, Jr. - 19 catches, 326 yds, 17.2 ypc, 1 TD
    Thompson needs to get the ball more. He was a reliable receiver when he was on the field missing a little bit of time with a broken finger and then getting suspended at the end of the year. He's one of the team's fastest players and is also the biggest receiver at 6-4 and 195 pounds.

    - Tight end/R-Back Erryn Cobb, Sr. - 2 catches, 29 yds
    The 255-pound Cobb is a bruising blocker used mostly as the R-Back, or fullback. He's expected to play a bigger role in the offense, possibly as a power runner, but his job will mainly be to open holes for the quick backs.

    Top Backups- Sam Cheatham, Jr. - 3 catches, 37 yds
    Strictly a reserve, Cheatham will be used mostly as possession receiver at the H behind Shaun Herbert. He didn't do much outside of a 33-yard catch against Wisconsin even though he saw his playing time increase as the year went on
    - Ross Lane, Soph. - 24 catches, 378 yds, 15.8 ypc, 1 TD
    Lane had a breakout game in the Sun Bowl catching seven passes for 136 yards giving hope that he'll be a reliable number two target to take the heat off Shaun Herbert. He's a good deep threat with 6-3 size to pose matchup problems on the outside at the X position.
    - Tight end/R-Back Frayne Abernathy, Jr. - 4 catches, 49 yds, 12.2 ypc, 2 TD[/SIZE]
    He didn't make too many plays, but he made his four catches count with two touchdown grabs scoring against Purdue and Illinois. The 245-pound junior is a bit more of a tight end than a fullback, but he'll be a solid backup for both spots.[/SIZE]

    Offensive Linemen[SIZE=-1]The line went from a concern to a major strength last season allowing a mere 11 sacks and paving the way for 193 yards per game. Four of last year's starters return with the big hole left by star tackle Zach Strief replaced by center Austin Matthews so two-year starter Trevor Rees, who missed last year due to academic issues, can return to the middle. Depth is a little bit of an issue, especially at tackle where there's young tackle, but no experience whatsoever. [/SIZE]The key to the unit: Develop the depth and hope for Trevor Rees to be as good at center as he was in 2004.
    Offensive Line Rating: 9Projected Starters
    - OT Austin Matthews, Jr.
    Matthews spent last year starting at center over the first half and then saw a little time a guard. With the return of Trevor Rees at center, the 6-5, 305-pound Matthews will move to the outside and start at right tackle to take over for All-American Zach Strief.
    - OG Ryan Keenan, Sr.
    Keenan went from being a tight end playing guard to one of the best linemen in the Big Ten. He's strong, athletic and talented enough to play tackle if needed. He showed no ill-effects of a knee injury that bothered him earlier in his career.
    - C Trevor Rees, Jr.
    Rees is back after missing all of last year due to academic issues, and he'll instantly upgrade the already solid line allowing Austin Matthews to move to tackle. Rees started 21 straight games before the off-field issues and should contend for All-Big Ten honors.
    - OG Joe Tripodi, Sr.
    The 310-pound senior was considered the X factor on the line last year and he turned in a solid year starting every game on the left side. He's one of the team's biggest linemen and should be even better in the running game.
    - OT Dylan Thiry, Jr.
    He's the team's burgeoning star, but he has to stay healthy and he has to be consistent after struggling with a shoulder problem over the first half of last year. He blocks out the sun as a pass blocker at 6-8 and 315 pounds and is growing into a dominant run blocker.

    Top Backups
    - C Joel Belding, Soph.
    A pure run blocker, the 300-pound sophomore will push for a little bit of starting job at either center or guard. He'll be penciled in as the starter in the middle until Trevor Rees gets back in the swing of things, but he'll mainly be used as an excellent backup.
    - OG Adam Crum, Jr.
    Able to play center or guard, the 295-pound junior was expected to be the starter in the middle last year but turned out to be a little used reserve. He's experienced enough from plenty of practice reps to be counted on to play a big part of the rotation.
    - OT Kurt Mattes, RFr.
    The development of Mattes is one of the keys to the line. He's a good-sized 6-6, 285-pound athlete who was a big-time recruit for the Wildcats. Now he'll see time rotating at right tackle with Austin Matthews.


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    [FONT=verdana, arial,
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    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TABLE id=table1 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>[​IMG][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]Northwestern Wildcats[/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]
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    Preview 2006 - NU defense


    What you need to know ... The ​

    good: Northwestern forced 30 turnovers last year bailing itself out of several big jams, and it should do so again with nine returning starters. The bad: There might not be much improvement to a run defense didn't stop anyone last year and a total D that finished dead last in the nation allowing 480 yards and 34 points per game. The line is very big and very, very young. Consider it a work in progress outside of rising star Kevin Mims at one end. A pass rush has to be generated from somewhere, possibly from veteran outside linebackers Adam Kadela and Nick Roach, while the middle should be fine even after the loss of tackling machine Tim McGarigle. The secondary could surprise if speedy corner Marquice Cole grows into an All-Big Ten caliber playmaker and the safeties improve with the return of Bryan Heinz, but the second corner spot will be an Achilles heel all season long. Expect a bit of a 3-4 alignment at times to get more athletes on the field and try to generate more pressure. [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TABLE id=table2 cellSpacing=6 width="30%" align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%">
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Returning Leaders[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Tackles: Nick Roach, 77[/FONT]​
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]

    Sacks: Kevin Mims, 2

    Interceptions: Marquice Cole, 5​

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    Star of the defense: Senior CB Marquice Cole
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    Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore CB Eric Peterman

    Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore LB Mike Dinard

    Best pro prospect: Sophomore DE Kevin Mims

    Top three all-star candidates: 1) Cole, 2) Mims, 3) LB Nick Roach

    Strength of the defense: Linebacker, safety

    Weakness of the defense:
    [SIZE=-1]Run defense, pass rush, second corner[/SIZE]

    Defensive Line

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]Northwestern was very young and had never overcame the loss of top end Loren Howard, who missed the entire year and now plays for Arizona State. On the plus side, all the lumps taken should help the overall production with three experienced sophomores ready to keep growing into their roles led by an All-Big Ten player in the making in end Kevin Mims. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever for the line to have so many problems against the run considering it goes around 275 pounds per man along the two deep, but rushing the passer should once again be a big problem after generating a mere 12 sacks last season.[/SIZE]The key to the unit: Find a steady pass rush and use all the bulk to do more against the run.[/SIZE][/FONT]​
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    Defensive Line Rating: 5.5Projected Starters
    - DE Kevin Mims, Soph. - 41 tackles, 2 sacks, 4.5 TFL, 1 interception, 4 quarterback hurries
    It took a little while, but Mims became a good defender by the end of last season. At 6-3 and 280 pounds he has good size against the run and has surprising athleticism as a pass rusher. Expect him to grow into one of the team's top defenders and a possible All-Big Ten candidate if his sack numbers go up. ​

    - DT Adam Hahn, RFr.
    Hahn turned into a good-looking producer this spring taking over one of the starting tackle jobs looking to replace Barry Cofield. He's a quick 6-4 and 290 pounds adding more size than Keegan Kennedy. ​

    - DT John Gill, Soph. - 26 tackles, 1 TFL
    Gill was thrown into the fire as a true freshman and while he struggled to be consistent against the run, he became one of the team's most dependable players over the first half of the season. He's big at 295 pounds and durable, and now he has to start making more plays as the potential anchor up front. His emergence as a playmaker will allow the defense to use a little more 3-4.​

    - DE ​
    David Ngene, Jr. - 12 tackles, 1 TFL

    A knee problem limited him early in his career, and he wasn't able to get in the starting mix after the season opener against Ohio last year. He's a very strong, good-sized player at 260 pounds with the speed to grow into a consistent pass rusher. ​
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    Top Backups

    - DE Mark Koehn, Jr. - 25 tackles, 2 TFL
    The 270-pound Koehn has to be more productive. He was a decent reserve last season even though he wasn't an effective pass rusher and didn't do enough against the run considering his size. If Kevin Mims plays as expected on the other side, Koehn has to flourish seeing plenty of one-on-one blocking.
    - DT Keegan Kennedy, Soph. - 7 tackles, 1 sack
    The 280-pound Kennedy saw a little bit of time as a true freshman making most of his plays early in the season and then in the regular season finale against Illinois. He isn't huge, but he's a promising interior pass rusher looking to fill the hole left by Barry Cofield. - DT Matt Clark, Soph.
    At 290 pounds he has the size along with the talent to become a major factor on the inside, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy with ankle and leg injuries keeping him out over his first two seasons. He's expected to be 100% and should be a major part of the rotation behind Keegan Kennedy.
    - DT Warren Anderson, Jr.
    A good recruit for Northwestern a few years ago, Anderson has the size to be a major factor on the inside and the motor to become a top interior pass rusher, but he hasn't been able to put it all together yet and see meaningful playing time. He'll start out behind John Gill.​


    There's plenty of experience on the outside with the return of Nick Roach and Adam Kadela, but the juniors have to make more big plays. They can tackle, and now they have get in the backfield more and make more positive things happen after spending most of last year making stops five yards down the field. Tim McGarigle and his 548 career tackles are gone from the middle, but Adam Kadela and rising sophomore Mike Dinard aren't bad options on the inside. The depth will be a bit of an issue early on.[FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]The key to the unit: Coming up with more stops at the line and generating a more pressure on the quarterback from the outside.[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]
    Linebacker Rating: 6Projected Starters
    - Nick Roach, Jr. - 77 tackles, 1 sack, 3.5 TFL, 1 interception
    Roach overcame a hernia that almost kept him out of the first part of the season turning out to be just fine finishing second on the team in tackles. He didn't turn out to be the pass rusher he was expected to be on the outside, but now that he's healthy he should be an all-around terror he was starting to become as a sophomore.​

    - ​

    Adam Kadela, Jr. - 71 tackles, 1 sack, 3.5 TFL, 1 interception, 2 force fumbles

    The 245-pound senior has to try to fill the shoes and the production of Tim McGarigle on the inside. ​
    Kadela finished third on the team in tackles coming off a leg problem that cost him almost all of 2004. He's a good all-around defender on the strongside who has the strength and experience to take over in the middle.

    - Demetrius Eaton, Sr. - 14 tackles, 1 broken up pass
    The 250-pound senior has been tried out in the middle and will end up starting on the strongside. He has seen a little bit of time as a defensive end and has 47 tackles of experience as a reserve over the last three years with good athleticism to go along with his size.​
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]He'll be used as a hybrid of linebacker and end when the D uses the 3-4.[/SIZE][/FONT]​
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    Top Backups
    - Campbell Black, Sr. - 5 tackles
    Mostly a special teamer so far, Black is a quick option on the weakside behind Nick Roach. He has seen enough time to be more in the rotation this year.
    - Mike Dinard, Soph. - 5 tackles
    Fine, so he isn't Tim McGarigle, but he has the same sort of build and is a sure tackler. He mostly played on special teams last year and needs to develop on the inside to give the defense more options.​

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif]D[/FONT]efensive Backs

    [SIZE=-1]It's possible the secondary will be better and yet won't improve much on the 262 yards per game it got torched for last season. Marquice Cole is a lightning fast corner who'll be one of the best in the Big Ten this year now that he's completely over an ankle injury, and the safety situation won't be bad with rising star Bryan Heinz back from a torn ACL that cost him most of last year and talent at free safety with Brendan Smith and Reggie McPherson combining for the job. That's where the positives stop. It's going to be an open casting call for the second corner spot looking for anyone to knock Cory Dious out of the starting job. There's no depth whatsoever at either corner spot hoping for former receivers Gerard Hamlett and Eric Peterman to learn on the fly. [/SIZE]The key to the unit: Finding a number two corner and quickly developing a few backups who can play.

    Secondary Rating: 5.5 Projected Starters
    - CB Marquice Cole, Sr. - 46 tackles, 5 interceptions, 5 broken up passes
    Cole is the team's leading returning defensive back, and he has to be even better this year shutting down one side until all the new faces can grow into their roles. He appears to have suffered no lingering effects from the ankle injury that knocked him out two years ago as he kept his 4.3 speed and remained a good ball-hawker.​

    - SS Bryan Heinz, Sr. - 5 tackles, 1 interception
    The return of Heinz is a huge boost to the secondary after he missed most of last year with a torn ACL. He came back to see time in the Sun Bowl and made five tackles, but he needed this off-season to get to where he was at before the injury. The defense struggled all year to find a replacement to match his tackling ability.​

    - FS Brendan Smith, Soph. - 29 tackles, 3 broken up passes
    Smith's emergence as a true freshman gave the coaching staff plenty of options at free safety early on becoming a big playmaker before getting knocked out late in the year with a sprained knee. He's a fantastic athlete who could play strong safety if needed.​

    - CB Eric Peterman, Soph. - 12 catches, 181 yds, 15.1 ypc, 2 TD
    The former quarterback and wide receiver will get the first show at right cornerback ... for now. At 6-1 and 200 pounds, Peterman has the size needed to push Cory Dious out of a starting spot to go along with good speed. Now he has to prove he can be somewhat consistent on the defensive side.​

    Top Backups
    - FS Reggie McPherson, Jr. - 57 tackles, 2 broken up passes
    The emergence of Brendan Smith has pushed McPherson to a backup role, but the former receiver has starting experience and adds plenty of speed to the secondary. He's a true free safety who was decent against the run, but has to make more plays when the ball is in the air.
    - CB Andrew Butler, Soph. - 1 tackle
    A special teamer as a sophomore, Butler is one of the few true corner backups. He's a fantastic athlete who'll be the understudy behind Marquice Cole for another year.
    - CB Cory Dious, Sr. - 18 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 broken up pass
    Dious is one of the keys to the secondary. He's not all that big at 5-9 and 170 pounds and he was shaky at best last year in his limited time as a reserve and in his starts against Wisconsin and Illinois. He'll be tested every time he's on the field with everyone looking to stay away from Marquice Cole on the other side. ​

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]Special Teams[SIZE=-1]The kickers are good, but nothing special, but the coverage units have to be better. On the plus side, Marquice Cole is a tremendous punt returner averaging 27 yards a pop on eight tries highlighted by an 81-yard touchdown against Northern Illinois. Gerard Hamlett averaged a solid 22.3 yards on kickoff returns.[/SIZE]The key to the unit: Get more blast out of the punting game and better overall coverage on punts after allowing 11.7 yards per return.[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]

    Special Teams Rating: 6.5Projected Starters
    - PK Joel Howells, Sr. - 11-21 FGs, 45-48 extra points
    Howells was perfect from short range connecting on all seven attempts from inside the 30, but he has limited range connecting on just two of ten shots from outside of 40 yards. He won't hurt the team, but he won't be a weapon, either.
    - P Slade Larscheid, Sr. - 10 punts, 388 yds, 38.8 average, 2 inside the 20
    It'll be a bit of a battle to replace Ryan Pederson, and it shouldn't take much to improve on last year's overall production. Larscheid is more of an accurate punter than a boomer, but he has a good leg and could end up coming in on long field goal attempts. ​

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    Preview 2006
    further analysis

    [SIZE=-1]By[/SIZE][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1] John Harris [/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]

    [SIZE=-1]Depth Chart | [/SIZE][FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1]Further Analysis[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [SIZE=-1]1<SUP>st</SUP> and Ten – An Ohio sized chip on a little man’s shoulder – After graduating as Mr. Football in Ohio in 2004, Tyrell Sutton didn’t receive a well deserved overture from the Ohio State University where a little man once ruled – Archie Griffin. But, the game’s changed since the two time Heisman winner piled up yardage on the Columbus campus. Or, has it? Well, Ohio State passed on Sutton to the delight of Northwestern fans everywhere, not to mention some very happy coaches and teammates. After the Cats’ lead back Terrell Jordan went down with a bad hammy, Sutton took the ball and kept running, and running, and running, and running – all the way to one of the best freshman seasons in college football history, actually. The star from Akron ran for 1,474 yards and 16 TDs, but also added 44 catches to display his run/pass duality and versatility. In the Wildcats spread look, there couldn’t be a more perfect fit than Sutton. He’s quicker than a hiccup and has great vision. He anticipates where the hole is going to be, and when it opens up, he’s gone. Sutton is on to the second level so fast that linebackers have to scrape so quickly to the hole that they often run past it or don’t even get there. Just ask AJ Hawk from Ohio State who missed Sutton a couple of times last year in Columbus – man, another Ohio reference, sorry. With Jordan back healthy and Brandon Roberson returning, Sutton will have an opportunity to get a little more rest, but he also might have the opportunity to team with Jordan or Roberson in the backfield to expand upon his versatility that much more. Sutton is, arguably, the most electric runner that Northwestern has seen in quite some time, and that does include Darnell Autry and Damien Anderson. If he continues to run with that passion and fire that he did last year, the Cats should be just fine on offense in 2006.[/SIZE]
    2<SUP>nd</SUP> and Seven – Two Years Ago… – After the 2003 season, did any Northwestern fan, coach or player think that they would miss QB Brett Basanez this much? All Basanez did in his final year was turn himself into arguably the best QB in the Big Ten and left a huge, gaping hole at this position in 2006. Basanez was in such control of the Wildcat offense that it was easy to take his pass/run ability for granted. But, uh, not now. So, the ball gets handed to either C.J. Bacher, Andrew Brewer or Mike Kafka and the hope is that one of the three will be a close facsimile to Basanez. Perhaps not this year, but two years from now, well, we’ll see.
    3<SUP>rd</SUP> and Three – Papa Roach – With the loss of Tim McGarigle in the middle, the linebacking corps will have to rely upon will backer Nick Roach, perhaps the best athlete on the Wildcat defense. Roach flashed his athleticism as a sophomore and had a solid year, but was slowed by nagging injuries last year as a junior. He’s quick and explosive to the ball and could be a key guy in blitz packages to be a factor in the backfield. At 6’2” and 245, Roach is a physical marvel who explodes through ball carriers, but will have to take more of the leadership role this year.
    4<SUP>th</SUP> and One – Welcome Back – Although the Wildcats had a fine season last year and gained a great deal of respect nationally, it’ll still be nice to get back two All-Big Ten candidates for this season – Trevor Rees and Bryan Heinz. Although Rees started out the spring as the number two center, it won’t take him much time to get himself back in the lineup. He started for two years and was the foundation of the offensive line in 2004, before being knocked out last year due to academic problems. On defense, Heinz provides a physical presence at strong safety. He missed all of the 2005 regular season with an ACL, but did make it back for the Sun Bowl. However, having the 6’2”, 215 pound back in the lineup, for the full season, gives the Wildcat defense another reason to be optimistic in 2006. Suffice it to say, these two returns will bolster this team’s respective units this season.


    Northwestern Wildcats
    Preview 2006 Depth Chart

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]
    - 2006 Northwestern Preview | Offense Breakdown | Defense Breakdown |Further Analysis

    [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]<TABLE cellSpacing=6 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width="50%">OFFENSE Returning starters: 8

    QB 18 C.J. Bacher 6-2 200 Soph. OR
    12 Andrew Brewer 6-3 215 RFr. OR

    13 Mike Kafka 6-3 205 RFr.
    RB 19 Tyrell Sutton 5-9 190 Soph.

    11 Brandon Roberson 5-9 200 Jr.
    26 Terrell Jordan 5-10 200 Sr.
    WR 3 Shaun Herbert 6-1 200 Sr.
    32 Sam Cheatham 5-10 200 Jr.
    WR 8 Rasheed Ward 5-10 175 Soph.
    9 Ross Lane 6-3 190 Soph.
    WR 84 Kim Thompson 6-4 195 Jr.
    87 Tonjua Jones 6-2 185 Jr.
    TE 44 Erryn Cobb 6-1 255 Sr.
    49 Frayne Abernathy 6-3 245 Jr.
    LT 74 Dylan Thiry 6-8 315 Jr.
    65 Thomas Bernenderfer 6-5 280 RFr.
    LG 51 Joe Tripodi 6-3 310 Sr.
    77 Adam Crum 6-1 295 Jr.
    C 50 Trevor Rees 6-2 285 Jr.
    52 Joel Belding 6-3 300 Soph.
    RG 56 Ryan Keenan 6-4 290 Sr.
    76 Desmond Taylor 6-3 275 RFr.
    RT62 Austin Matthews 6-5 305 Jr.

    78 Kurt Mattes 6-6 285 RFr.

    [FONT=verdana, arial,
    sans serif][SIZE=-1]<TD vAlign=top width="50%">DEFENSE Returning starters: 8

    [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=-1]DE 95 Kevin Mims 6-3 280 Soph.

    99 Corey Wootton 6-6 255 Soph.
    DT 79 Adam Hahn 6-4 290 RFr.
    92 Keegan Kennedy 6-3 280 Soph.
    DT 70 John Gill 6-3 290 Soph.
    58 Warren Anderson 6-3 270 Jr.
    DE 72 David Ngene 6-3 260 Jr.
    91 Mark Koehn 6-3 270 Jr.
    WLB 38 Nick Roach 6-2 245 Sr.
    82 Chris Malleo 6-3 225 Jr. OR
    40 Eddie Simpson 6-0 230 Jr.
    MLB 43 Adam Kadela 6-2 245 Jr.
    31 Mike Dinard 6-2 230 Soph.
    SLB 42 Demetrius Eaton 6-2 250 Sr.
    37 Campbell Black 6-3 225 Sr.
    LCB 20 Marquice Cole 5-10 185 Sr.
    35 Ryan Black 5-10 180 Jr.
    34 Andre Butler 5-11 180 Soph.
    FS 39 Brendon Smith 6-1 215 Soph.
    27 Reggie McPherson 6-1 190 Jr.
    SS 21 Brian Heinz 6-2 215 Sr.
    45 Ben Rothrauff 5-10 195 Jr.
    RCB 10 Eric Peterman 6-1 200 Soph.
    6 Cory Dious 5-9 170 Sr. ​


    [FONT=verdana, arial,
    sans serif][SIZE=-1]PK [/SIZE][/FONT]93 Joel Howells 6-4 225 Sr.

    96 Amado Villarreal 5-10 175 Soph.
    P 15 Slade Larscheid 6-1 210 Sr.
    97 Kyle Daley 6-0 190 Soph. OR
    96 Amado Villarreal 5-10 175 Soph.

    [SIZE=-1]20 Marquice Cole 5-10 185 Sr. [/SIZE]
    3 Shaun Herbert 6-1 200 Sr.

    KR 23 Gerard Hamlett 5-10 190 Soph.
    11 Brandon Roberson 5-9 200 Jr. ​


    Last edited: May 8, 2006
  3. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    Slightly off topic, but the next time someone wants to jsutify how team A will do against team B based on how both played against team C, have to them look at Northwestern, Michigan State, and Ohio State from last year.

    Before our game with Northwestern, many would have thought that since:

    1. Northwestern destroyed Michigan State on the road, and

    2. Michigan State played Ohio State very close on the road

    that Northwestern should have no problem with us. We all know how that turned out.
  4. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0



  5. notfadeaway

    notfadeaway Sophmore

    I know this is way in advance...just confirmed plans to attend this game...anything going on in the way of pre-game festivities ???:oh:
  6. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member


    Kaduk: Optimism as important as X?s and O?s

    EVANSTON ? Pat Fitzgerald walked into his postgame news conference Saturday and remained as optimistic as an Army recruiter on a street corner.

    No surprises there.

    If we?ve learned anything about the first-year Northwestern coach it?s that he?s the type of guy who could wade through a flooded basement and then talk about how dry the attic remained.

    ?How about that pooch punt down to the [1-yard line?]? asked Fitzgerald after a 31-10 loss to Purdue at Ryan Field. ?There you go. There?s a positive.?

    Fitzgerald had a little piece of his tongue planted in his cheek when he made the statement, but the positive sentiment was there.

    A pretty amazing feat, considering the Wildcats had just lost their fourth straight game to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten.

    ?It?s my job,? Fitzgerald explained after being asked how he could maintain such a shiny outlook after the season had turned sour. ?We?re going to win football games here. [The media?s] job is to be negative. My job is to be positive.

    ?We?re always going to be positive. We control our attitude. We choose how to be.?

    Lately, that company line has been a little tougher to follow. It?s actually been a brutal season for Fitzgerald and the ?Cats, who have yet to put together the type of win that gets people talking.

    In their five losses, Northwestern has fallen to everyone from Division I-AA New Hampshire at home to Penn State and Wisconsin on the road. The uniting thread in each of the defeats was that the Wildcats were never in a real position to win.

    That radically differs from 2005, when the team went 7-5 and to the Sun Bowl after pulling out several close wins.

    ?It?s on us,? said starting quarterback Andrew Brewer, protecting his coach a bit. ?Regardless of what [Fitzgerald] calls, regardless of what defense they give us, we?re talented enough to go out there and do it.

    ?Unfortunately, we haven?t been consistent in getting it done.?

    The latest disappointment came Saturday when Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter helped his team become the third straight squad to compile more than 500 yards of total offense against Northwestern.

    The Wildcat attack, meanwhile, failed to score in the second half for the fourth straight week. Many of the postgame questions were directed at Fitzgerald?s insistence on running the ball a conservative 42 times (20 times to Brewer) while passing only 15 against a Purdue secondary that has been weak all season.

    In that way, Fitzgerald shows his age, seeming like the young driver whose only objective is to get dad?s car back home in one piece.

    That, of course, was probably to be expected. Fitzgerald, after all, is just 31 and was hurried into the position after Randy Walker?s death over the summer. There aren?t many 31-year-old football coaches who would be excelling given the same situation.

    Fitzgerald has other factors working against him as well. Brett Basanez, the since graduated quarterback, is showing how valuable he was to Northwestern?s offense the past few seasons. The defensive line is young. The offensive line is injured.

    There?s a chance not even Walker would have been able to overcome those shortcomings.

    ?Going into the season, no one thinks that they?re going to lose games like this,? cornerback Marquice Cole said. ?But there?s nothing we can do about the past. We just have to look forward.?

    The remaining schedule doesn?t give much hope. Michigan State comes to Ryan Field next Saturday. Maybe the ?Cats can steal one from a reeling Spartans squad.

    After that, it?s murder. At Michigan, at Iowa and Ohio State at home. Fitzgerald?s only chance to get a Big Ten win in his first season might come Nov. 18 when Illinois comes calling.

    The best news, of course, is that Fitzgerald is going to be given a long leash. Northwestern would be hard pressed to find a coach as eager to build a winner at the school as Fitzgerald. Plus, Evanston isn?t exactly Ann Arbor or Gainesville when it comes to big expectations. A bowl, any bowl, is nice when the holiday season comes around.

    Given Fitzgerald?s outlook and devotion to the school, he and his team will eventually get there.

    Just not in his first season.

    ?Our locker room is full of guys that trust and believe in each other,? said Fitzgerald, as eager as the day he first took the job. ?We?re going to find a way to get this thing going in the right direction. We?re going to find a way to win.?

    The thing about Fitzgerald?s optimism is that you very badly want to believe him. In another life, he?d make a fantastic salesman.

    As they say, persistence pays.

    But how about delivering the goods?
  7. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member


    Poor Northwestern

    The Wildcats are still licking their wounds after losing four straight conference games, and the Big Ten schedule isn't getting easier for ...Last weekend: Record-breaking loss to Michigan StateThis weekend: 30-point underdog at No. 2 Michigan
    October 27, 2006


    • Records: No. 2 Michigan 8-0, 5-0 Big Ten; Northwestern 2-6, 0-4.

      When: Noon, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor.

      TV: ESPN.

      Line: Michigan by 30. Go for four

      U-M has won its last three games against the Wildcats:

      2005: U-M 33, Northwestern 17

      2004: U-M 42, Northwestern 20

      2003: U-M 41, Northwestern 10

      Records: MSU 4-4, 1-3 Big Ten; Indiana 4-4, 2-2.

      When: Noon, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.

      TV: ESPN Plus (Ch. 7 in Detroit).

      Line: MSU by 7.
    Saturday could have wiped out Northwestern.
    The Wildcats led Michigan State, 38-3, in the third quarter, only to suffer the biggest collapse in Division I-A college football history.
    Final score: MSU 41, Northwestern 38.
    This is the same Northwestern team whose coach, Randy Walker, died suddenly last summer.
    The Wildcats won their season opener but lost to Division I-AA New Hampshire in their second game of the season, and they are off to an 0-4 Big Ten start.
    And it doesn't get any easier -- up next, a visit to the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines.
    But first-year coach Pat Fitzgerald won't let his players hang their heads, even though the team is 2-6 overall.
    "I think our guys have plenty of motivation the other way," Fitzgerald said. "It's a great opportunity for us to continue to build on what we did in the first 2 1/2 quarters last week. We've seen we can play our style of football in Big Ten play, and now we need to go out and give ourselves a chance to win at the end, and we didn't do that on Saturday."
    Fitzgerald has tried everything, from creating a halftime in practice -- complete with going into the locker room and coming back out -- to shuffling quarterbacks.
    Even this late in the season, Northwestern is trying to sort out its quarterback situation.
    Last week, sophomore C.J. Bacher became the third Wildcat to start at quarterback, and he impressed Fitzgerald, throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns. But two interceptions tempered the excitement.
    Fitzgerald chalked it up to the growing pains of any quarterback and said Northwestern's success at that position -- Zak Kustok, Steve Schnur and Brett Basanez in the last 10 years -- has raised expectations.
    Bacher will start again Saturday in Ann Arbor and, considering the damage Michigan has done to opposing quarterbacks the past two weeks -- knocking out two Penn State quarterbacks and injuring Iowa's Drew Tate last week -- Bacher's inexperience could play a role.
    Yet Fitzgerald is keeping his team upbeat rather than let the players dread facing the second-ranked team in the country.
    "You have to focus on (yourself) more," he said. "You have to give a game, get 15 rounds and get yourself into the fourth quarter and give yourself an opportunity to play. For the first time in a month, we played solid football for 2 1/2 quarters, and we need to focus on that. If we focus on that and put that together for a full football game, I like our chances against anybody that we play."
  8. Thump

    Thump Hating the environment since 1994

    Has a game time been announced yet?
  9. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    or TV channel?
  10. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    I'd plan on it being 8:00 pm EST since it's supposed to be a night game.
    Thump likes this.
  11. Thump

    Thump Hating the environment since 1994

    I thought we were done with night games?

    Planning on going and guess I didn't know it was supposed to be a night game.
  12. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

  13. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member


    Fitzgerald seeing improvement from young Wildcats

    October 31, 2006
    The Associated Press
    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern still may be looking for its first Big Ten victory and it blew a bigger lead than any team in NCAA Division 1-A history two weeks ago, but there are signs the Wildcats are getting better. On Saturday, the Wildcats traveled to Ann Arbor and got within a touchdown in the second half against No. 2 Michigan before losing 17-3.
    That game came a week after Michigan State overcame a 38-3 third quarter deficit to beat the Wildcats in Evanston 41-38. Lost in all the talk about the greatest comeback in the history of Division 1-A football was the fact that the Wildcats scored a season high 38 points and gained a total of 440 yards against the Spartans.
    But the performance by Northwestern (2-7, 0-5 Big Ten) wasn't lost on head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
    "There are a lot of guys starting to play their best football right now," he said. "That's a goal of our program, to be playing our best football at the end of the year."
  14. notfadeaway

    notfadeaway Sophmore

    Flying to Chicago for the game....any good OSU activites planned???
  15. VprHis

    VprHis Get off my lawn, you hooligans!

    Aside from neutering the 'pretty kitties'?

    ...None that I know of.

    (apologies for the poor grammar)

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