2011 Game Three:
Northwestern (2-0) at Army (0-2)
Date: September 17, 2011
Kickoff: 3:30 pm et/2:30 pm ct
Location: Michie Stadium (38,000) – West Point, NY
All-time Series: NU 3-1, last meeting 1988
Trends: ‘Cats seeking 8th straight non-conference win and 15th in last 16th game
Favored Team: Northwestern (-5.5)
TV: CBS SN Gary Thorne (play-by-play), Randy Cross (analyst)
Radio: ESPN 1000 (Chicago)WGN Radio.com – PXP – Dave Eanet, Color – Ted Albrecht; Sirius Radio Channel 92, XM Radio 91; WNUR 89.3 FM (student station)
Coaching Stats: NU – Pat Fitzgerald (6th year – 36-29, 18-22) vs Rich Ellerson (3rd season 11-14 )
The ‘Cats venture to an NU-friendly soldout crowd at Michie Stadium in what will likely be Kain Colter’s last solo performance. The drama surrounding Persa playing vs not playing is being overshadowed by the NU fan support and time of possession battle. Army is 0-2 but no NU fan is biting on that deceiving stat as the Black Knights have self-inflicted the losses due to turnovers while dominating the stat sheet. Army’s offense is nicked, but then again so is NU’s entire team as the MASH report is a tad to scary for our program. NU MUST score early to get ahead as this is a team that simply can’t come back quickly from a deficit. However, should Army get an early lead and they can suck the life out of you with the triple option complexities.
When Army Has The Ball
The offense begins and ends with QB Trent Steelman who is nursing a pectoral injury. He has started 27 straight and that streak should continue as he is Kain Colter like in his total percentage of the Army offense. The NU secondary needs to step up and be ready to support option support in their respective gap assignments. Army won’t throw more than 8-10 times all game, so first down stops will be key to dictating drives. I’ve got my money on Brian Peters to be the hero of today’s game.
When NU Has The Ball:
Start number three for Kain Colter is upon us. However, the rushing success by NIU and SDSU will likely contribute to more straightforward rushing plays by Mick McCall as Mike Trumpy returns to the lineup and Adonis Smith sits. Keep an eye on FR Treyvon Green’s progress this week. After a 67 rushing attempt game vs EIU, I do expect Colter to pass a bit more this week and engage Dunsmore and Ebert. Persa-nally (sorry), I’d love to see Dan take a few snaps and get the rust off before Illinois. I have a hunch the conservative approach by the medical staff won’t let it happen.
Venric Mark could have a field day after a stellar workout last week vs EIU. I expect Jeff Budzien to have a solid day. Army has been beyond turnover prone and NU has been below average in the takeaway category. I’d love to think NU will continue to benefit from Steelman’s fumbleitis, but I expect the Cadets will shore up the turnover challenges. NU simply cannot lose the turnover battle. I’ve got a bad feeling about this one, because I feel so good about it. The ‘Cats don’t lose when I venture to see them and I’m not about to lose that streak today.
I mentioned last night that I’m stoked about meeting new friends and indoctrinating myself in 700 stories of how we all came together. Last night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a great group of friends and we talked about the ‘Cats, life, family and a host of other topics (Joanna – I warned you to be careful on the topics or you’d end up in the post!). I’m beyond psyched for the stories that will unfold today. With this karma, we can’t go wrong, can we?
Lake The Posts Factor (0=expected and not even leave seats to 10=marching them with Band Day members in to Hudson): 7
The proximity of the Hudson River to the stadium makes ripping the posts down and celebrating with the Sailgate crew way too easy of an incentive. Let’s do this!
Here are the results of the LTP Poll of the week which was as simple as it gets.
Speculation Central – Will Dan Persa Take Snaps In The Army Game?
Total Voters: 355
Pick To Click: Brian Peters
Admittedly, I was biased by a heartfelt story about Brian and the impact he had on our dinner friends’ son who had temporary paralysis. Peters became a regular visiting him at the hospital and made birthday party house calls. Just another great example of why it’s easy to root for NU. I believe he will be key to contain tomorrow. I also think he can pop the ball loose at least once.
LTP: I’m feeling good. It is a rare feeling of a narcissistic diehard fan. However, this is a bizarro season and I believe we build momentum for the season, the bye week and Persa’s return with a Colter special.
NU 31 Army 21
Listen to Dave Eanet!
LTP will be making an appearance on ESPN1000/WGNradio.com at halftime to discuss Sailgate. Be sure to listen!
‘Cats Caveat Central
Thanks for your patience today. The postgame wrap will be pretty late as we’ll be hopefully celebrating on the boat. That means commentary is in your hands! PRR will take the reigns and we’ll be back soon to give you play by play.