Write about the Northwestern
We believe that you the avid fan, student journalist, and or freelance writer deserve to be heard. Avid fans have a strong desire to hear from the common (or not so common) "man" as well. You are always free to write about the material of your choice, in your own unique style, and on your own schedule. So vent,enlighten and share with us!
Contact us at: writers@sportsmixed.com
Enjoy Northwestern rumors, news, talk?
Please help us spread the word on the Sports Mixed Network by letting friends, and family know about it. The more we grow our community of avid fans, the more features we can add. So please send a Tweet, Facebook message or better yet tell them in person.

Wildcats Shoot Down BC Eagles; and South Dakota Preview

Wildcats Kick Eagles to Curb, Then Shoot Them Down 


The Wildcats shot down the Boston College Eagles 22-13. The defense did a very good job, especially in the second half. Northwestern ran and passed their way up and down the field, totally dominating on offense. At least until they got into the red zone; then they bogged down. NU got 3s instead of 6s - not good. But the Cats got a bunch of 3s - five of them to be exact. 15 points. Jeff Budzien (K) earned his scholarship by winning the game. (Trumpy added the icing on the cake by running through an exhausted BC D on the ultimate (100th) offense play of the day.)

Looking at last week’s predictions, this game comes closest to The Probable - a win that was ugly at times but still a win:

The emphasis on basics - coverage, catching, tackling, and hanging onto the ball - sort of works. If NU played 2 quarters against Syracuse and 3 quarters against Vanderbilt, then they play 3.50 quarters against Boston College. However, the 7 minutes 30 seconds that NU checks out against BC turns into a terrifying ride. Northwestern holds on for the win. Northwestern 29 - Boston College 24. [Real score: Northwestern 22 - Boston College 13.] The Northwestern Wildcats are the subject of much speculation - are they for real? Or will they crash and burn? Come the following week, NU gets a smattering of votes, but misses the national rankings. The fans’ hopes of something special are very hesitant for at least one more week...or two. 

Northwestern played about 3.50 quarters out of 4.00 in this game. It was enough, but at the same time it wasn’t great. The defense seems lightyears ahead of where they were last year. The offense isn’t quite where it needs to be to win the division - yet. But the Wildcats have done something no one else has done - they scheduled three “BCS Automatic Qualifier” teams to open their season AND won all three games. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win times three.

Coyotes on the Prowl! 


One has to wonder what the Wildcats could do if every part of the game worked all at once and with authority. The reverse is a nightmare - what would happen if all aspects of Northwestern’s game fell apart in abject failure. (Recall “The Curse of the One Stupid Out Of Conference Loss”.) So let’s look at the the continuum between total success and abject failure as the subject of this week’s The Good, The Bad, and The Probable.

The Good: 

Week by week the Wildcats have improved. In particular, the D has stepped up big. The offense is still running hot and cold (and mostly lukewarm the past couple of games). While many would look at an upcoming Div 1-AA errrr...FCS game as a chance to relax for a week. Smart people know that FCS games are potential land mines. If you win, it’s totally expected. If you lose, you are a laughing stock. Kilogram for kilogram, FCS games are a bad investment.

Coach Fitz is a smart coach - after all, he is a Northwestern grad. He’s really pushed his team to focus on this week’s foe - the South Dakota Coyotes. He tells them to flush the wins. He tells them to not look forward to the B1G Season. The focus is to be the South Dakota Coyotes. (Pronounced Ki-yotes, BTW. One should show respect to one’s foes.) Coach Fitz knows that NU can lose these sorts of games.

The Wildcats take the field against the Coyotes - Cats versus Dogs, so to speak. On the very first series on offense, the Wildcats strike fast and strike hard, throwing deep trying to catch the Coyotes napping. It works and the Cats get a quick six plus another point to cap the drive.

The Wildcat defense gets their turn. The Coyotes try to run through the Wildcat O-line. Stopped. And again. Stopped. And on 3rd and very long with an obvious passing situation the Cats catch the Coyote QB for a big loss.

The trifecta is completed on the following play when the Coyote kicker punts directly to Mark. He hits the afterburners and takes off to The House. A few minutes into the 1st quarter the Wildcats are up 14-0 and in complete control of the game.

By the time the 2nd half begins, NU is showing both class and smarts. Up 35-0, Northwestern doesn’t feel the need to try to hit triple digits. Or to try to embarrass the long distance guests. When the clock strikes “4th Quarter” the 3rd Team and a lot of walk-ons are getting experience, which could be valuable down the road. Oliver gets valuable reps and Watkins makes an appearance. The game goes down in the books as Wildcats 54 - Coyotes 10, but it was much much worse than the score would indicate.

The Bad: 

Week by week the Wildcats have improved. In particular, the D has stepped up big. The offense is still running hot and cold (and mostly lukewarm the past couple of games). While many would look at an upcoming Div 1-AA errrr...FCS game as a chance to relax for a week. Smart people know that FCS games are potential land mines. If you win, it’s totally expected. If you lose, you are a laughing stock. Kilogram for kilogram, FCS games are a bad investment.

Coach Fitz is a smart coach - after all, he is a Northwestern grad. He’s really pushed his team to focus on this week’s foe - the South Dakota Coyotes. He tells them to flush the wins. He tells them to not look forward to the B1G Season. The focus is to be the South Dakota Coyotes. (Pronounced Ki-yotes, BTW. One should show respect to one’s foes.)

The Wildcats take the field against the Coyotes - Cats versus Dogs, so to speak. On the very first series on offense, the Wildcats try to strike fast and hard, throwing deep trying to catch the Coyotes napping. It doesn’t work. The Cats get back to work and grind up the field, stalling in the red zone. NU gets a consolation three.

The Wildcat defense gets their turn. The Coyotes try to run through the Wildcat O-line. Stopped. And again. Stopped. But on 3rd and very long with an obvious passing situation the Cats secondary give up the big catch. The Coyotes move the ball around, getting into the end zone. The visitors are up 7 - 3 on Northwestern early in the 1st quarter.

The trifecta is completed on the following play when the Coyote kickoff goes short, and directly to Mark. He muffs the kick, pinning NU deep in their territory. A fired up Big Dog D makes the Cats go 3&out. It isn’t developing into a pretty game. The Coyotes contest for control of the game.

By the time the 2nd half begins, NU is showing some desperation, being up only 24-23. Even worse than the narrow lead is the injury report - Colter is out with a potential season ending injury. Siemian is riding the bench nursing an injury to his throwing hand. Mark is off the field along with a stinger. Similarly, the NU defense is riddled with sloppy injuries. By the time the 4th quarter starts, Oliver is in leading the offense, desperately trying to get NU out of trouble and into the lead. Coach Fitz is going insane as the game slips away and an inspired pack of Coyotes chew up the Cats. With seconds to go, Budzien tries a desperation field goal and misses, completing the horrifying trifecta. The South Dakota Coyotes emerge with a win that makes national news, outshining NU 34-31. The governor of South Dakota meets the team at the airport and declares a state holiday to celebrate the win.

“The Curse of the One Stupid Out Of Conference Loss” whacks the Cats yet another year. And with a number of key players injured, the score is worse than it appears.

The Probable: 

Week by week the Wildcats have improved. In particular, the D has stepped up big. The offense is still running hot and cold (and mostly lukewarm the past couple of games). While many would look at an upcoming Div 1-AA errrr...FCS game as a chance to relax for a week. Smart people know that FCS games are potential land mines. If you win, it’s totally expected. If you lose, you are a laughing stock. Kilogram for kilogram, FCS games are a bad investment.

Coach Fitz is a smart coach - after all, he is a Northwestern grad. He’s really pushed his team to focus on this week’s foe - the South Dakota Coyotes. He tells them to flush the wins. He tells them to not look forward to the B1G Season. The focus is to be the South Dakota Coyotes. (Pronounced Ki-yotes, BTW. One should show respect to one’s foes.)

The Wildcats take the field against the Coyotes - Cats versus Dogs, so to speak. On the very first series on offense, the Wildcats strike fast and strike hard, throwing deep trying to catch the Coyotes napping. Northwestern gets the ball deep into Coyote territory and finally get a touchdown.

The Wildcat defense gets their turn. The Coyotes try to run through the Wildcat O-line. Stopped. And again. Stopped. But on 3rd and very long with an obvious passing situation the Cats secondary give up a first down. This pattern repeats until the D firms up near the red zone. The Coyotes kick a field goal and the whole state of South Dakota goes nuts as their team score against the B1G. The Cats are up 7 - 3 early in the 1st quarter.

Northwestern receives the kickoff and starts grinding down the field once again. NU comes away with a field goal after stalling out deep in SD territory. Everything is working even it if isn’t going perfectly.

By the time the 2nd half begins, Northwestern is easing up a bit. putting in lots of subs and understanding that trying to run up the score just makes it more probable that people will get hurt. The Cats win the game easily, but there are still some questions about the offense. But it is a solid win with Northwestern on top 37-17.


Other Things 

So now there are three Big Ten teams left in the “Undefeated” category: Ohio State (no surprise), Northwestern (big surprise), and Minnesota (a possible sign that the world is coming to an end). Show of hands - How many of *you* thought that going into Week 4 these were going to be the last three undefeateds standing?

Really? 

Liar…

More later.

Go Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)
NUMBSpiritLeader@gmail.com
Twitter: @nuspiritleader.

0 comments:

Post a Comment