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Northwestern vs Illinois Preview| Wilcats Defeat Michigan Recap|Fan Talk


My take on the Michigan game:
The Wildcats rate a 60 minute effort, for a 21-14 win over the Wolverines. Northwestern was playing in the most hostile stadium in the Big Ten with over 100,000 people in the stands. And you can bet that not too many of them were NU fans. (A big shout out to NUMB - I did hear the NU Band cheering and playing during the game. So there were some NU friendly people making some noise.)
I had a feeling the game was won at the end of the half with NU behind by 14-7. Why? Because it was obvious that a lot of the Michigan "faithful" were packing it up and leaving. I've never seen a bunch of people leave at the half with their team ahead. If they lose at Ohio State, Coach R. will have a very long time to bask in the wrath of the Michigan fans. NU bounced back from last week's loss by showing a lot of poise despite being down 7 at the half. The defense did a great job, essentially allowing only 7 points. Keeping the Michigan receivers from making big plays at the end of the game while *not* drawing defensive penalties wasn't easy. And the quick 14 points of offense > at the beginning of the 3rd quarter took the crowd out of the game once and for all as well as putting Michigan into a panic.
BTW: I have real respect for the Michigan fans who held out to the very end of the game in the bad weather and losing effort. You can tell who the real fans are by how much pain they're willing to suffer. I've been in your shoes before...
Northwestern versus Illinois: Northwestern can win this one, but it probably won't be easy. (Note to the NU football team: Please feel free to prove me wrong and get an easy win.) For Illinois, this is essentially a one-game playoff - if they win, they might play again during the holidays. (Detroit is better than nothing.) If they lose, they get to watch NU have some fun "Some Place Warm on New Year's Day." It's a good bet that Illinois will go ahead and try all their bowl game trick plays just to secure a win. (Speaking of trick plays - having both Bacher and Kafka in the backfield would be really interesting to see.) NU wins if they contain QB Williams and the rest of the Illini offense that got over 450 yards this week against the Buckeyes. The defense must force turnovers and hurries as well. The NU O-line has to protect Bacher (and Kafka if he can play) - I don't want to find out the hard way how well the 3rd string QB can play. (Though I am really impressed with NU's depth this year.) I'm betting that a lot of Illini faithful will show up at Ryan Field trying to cheer their team. NU needs to greet them with a sea of purple. This is a game where NU fans can help give the Wildcats a > morale boost and take the UI crowd out of the game.
Go 'Cats!
BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)

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