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Coaches Change Endgame Strategy - Wildcats Just Win the Game

This was the opposite of insanity…

After three maddening losses, Northwestern was on the brink of a fourth while visiting the Spartans. The Wildcats were leading by 3 points very late in the game. They were deep in their own territory after a MSU punt. The Spartans were counting on Northwestern to run three times up the middle and punt. Given the amount of time on the clock and the swarming Spartan defense, it wasn’t a bad bet. It would give the Spartans the ball back with a couple of minutes left on the clock and in good field position for getting a tying field goal - if not an outright win in regulation.

Sound familiar? 

Only this time, the Wildcats didn’t go into “play it safe” mode - they came out strong. Siemian threw the ball several times like a guided missile. A timely MSU pass interference penalty helped out as well. By the time the Wildcats came to a stall at midfield, there were seconds left on the clock. A quick punt and the Spartans had the ball again at their 20, needing to drive within field goal range. All the Wildcat faithful were afraid that they would see the much dreaded “prevent defense”. 

Not this time. The Northwestern D played like Wildcats. They delivered punishing hits that sent the Spartans four and out after a succession of incomplete passes. Northwestern had the ball at the MSU 20 with more than sufficient time to score again. Coach Fitz did the proper thing - sending the offense into Victory Formation and ran the clock out. 

The final score: Northwestern 23 - Michigan State 20. The Spartans won a lot of statistical categories, except for the one that really counts. This game was somewhere between The Probable and The Good. They weren’t as dominating as in The Good scenario, but had a lot more aggression than in The Probable. Most importantly, it was a win - moving Northwestern to 8-3. 

Illinois is next.

More later...

Go Cats!

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


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