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Michigan State Post Mortem and Indiana Look Ahead

Michigan State Post Mortem - Like the Miami (OH) game, the Wildcats played around 45 or so minutes out of a 60 minute game. Unlike the game against the RedHawks, that wasn’t sufficient. Allowing the Spartans to score 24 unanswered points was disastrous. Take away the 14 points MSU got off of NU turnovers and it would be a 14-10 win for NU. Being 5-2 at this point in the season would have given NU an excellent shot at a bowl game. But now they are 4-3 with both Penn State and Iowa to face.

For what it’s worth, even after the disastrous 3rd quarter, NU did not give up. They kept fighting. However, I’m sure that practices were not pleasant this week.

Indiana Look Ahead - It is Homecoming for the Wildcats. They face an Indiana team that is having a great year...for Indiana. The Homecoming crowd should give the ‘Cats a boost. And the NUMB Effect* will be worth 2x this week since the NUMBALUMs will join the fray.

Just like last week, the Wildcats need a win here. 5-3 is infinitely better than 4-4 with the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions coming up. Given the inconsistent play and anemic home crowds, NU will likely need a 7 win season to get a bowl game. Right, wrong, whatever - the bowl committees aren’t real enthused about the prospects of a 6 & 6 Wildcat team. We saw how that turned out a couple of seasons ago.

To win this one, the Wildcats simply have to make fewer mistakes than the Hoosiers. Both the defense and the offense have to show up at the same game at the same time - the “one or the other” thing has to stop. The ‘Cats also have to come up with a running game.

I’m picking NU to win this 24-10. Not that it’s going to be an easy win, but we’re talking about the Hoosiers - not the Nittany Lions. I believe that when the Wildcats fire on all cylinders, they can beat any of the “2nd Tier” football teams in the Big Ten. They might even have a shot at the “1st Tier” teams if they keep mistakes to zero - but that is the subject of next week’s column.

*The NUMB Effect refers to the wildly cheering and spirited Northwestern Wildcat Marching Band being worth the equivalent of a home field advantage (3 points). This makes a huge difference in close home games - especially when the home crowd is anemic.

Go ‘Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)



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