Winning Ugly: The Great, Good & Disappointing in the ‘Cats 22-13 win over BC
UPDATE: Our pal “NorthwesternHighlights” is working diligently on the game highlights and had some technical difficulties. We’ll post a separate post this afternoon once they are up and ready to go!
I think PRR nailed the theme of the day in his recap earlier – this type of winning is a bit of a head scratch. Low scoring on offense, defense dominating the run and carrying the day and simply put, winning ugly, just like Fitz’s beloved Chicago White Sox from 30 years ago. What a great day. Picture perfect day, awesome tailgaiting, a ‘Cats win and drumroll….we achieved our goal of reaching 200 NEW season tickets! Anthony F. picked up a pair and sent me an email of his three buddies who took the plunge – Jake S., Ryne M., and John H. Also Dan and Catie B. informed me of their co-workers who were convinced to take the plunge for four. And with that, we are there. Amazing work team. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Facilities Announcement – I said earlier today that regardless of the outcome of the BC game, today’s announcement by Northwestern University unveiling the lakefront plan for practice facilities, will be much bigger. Actually, it’s the biggest news of the season short of us making a BCS game. Here is Jim Phillip’s press conference on this:
Here is a visual of the facility that will house football practice as well as a host of applications for nearly every sport and intramurals. It will be out on the lakefront and what is also big news is the fact that SPAC (sports and aquatic center) will be renovated to add diving pools, locker rooms for teams as part of an incredible overhaul for NU Athletics.
And here is what Fitz had to say on the big announcement. As you can imagine, we will be ALL OVER THIS during the week. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and head on over to NUSports.com to learn more about the details HERE.
AND NOW…BACK TO THE GAME…
Jeff Budzien – Let’s start with the obvious as our placekicker had an awesome day, tying an NU record by drilling five FGs. He was a perfect 5-5 and is now 8-8 on the season (and in the past two weeks) as he hit from 42, 20, 29, 41 and 19 yards out.
Mike Trumpy – How great was that to see? Trumpy made me look good (I had him as my pick to click today), but he started strongly with some fantastic third down carries and then he cranked it up in to excellent as he carried us in the fourth replacing Venric Mark who got plastered on that crazy hit and fumble late in the third. Trumpy was simply unstoppable in the fourth and sealed the game with his 27-yard TD scamper, our only paydirt of the day. Trumpy ended with 106 yards on 16 carries for a 6.6 ypc mark. With both Venric and Treyvon getting dinged, it is huge that we have Trumpy feeling great.
The Rush “D” – Insane, no? At halftme the scoreboard read “-3 rushing yards”. By the end of the game, only 25 yard on 21 carries for the Eagles. It has been a back-to-back rushing brick wall by our ‘Cats.
Chi Chi Ariguzo – The defending B1G Defensive Player of the Week put up another stellar day. He was a key to clogging up the run game, was in on the huge fumble we caused inside the five in the third and just has that nose for the ball factor.
Traveon Henry – I remember at least three Henry WOW hits on special teams. He crushed an Eagle on a 3rd quarter Venric Mark punt return. He leveled a defender on a block to free Hunter Bates on a punt. He nearly took BC’s KOR man’s head off on a late return. It was Jeravin Matthews like on coverage, but just add the heavy hitter factor. Man can this guy hit, I can’t wait to see him in the secondary.
Ball Movement & Rushing – The ‘Cats did everything statistically on both sides of the ball to make you think this should’ve been a blowout. We put up 560 yards of total offense to 316 for BC. We put up a ridiculous 100 offensive plays (to 65 for BC). And of course, we carried it 60, yes 60, times for 293 rushing yards. Mark had 77 yards in about three quarters of action on 18 carries, while Kain Colter put up 66 yards on the ground (81 gross). We’ll get to the QB play in a minute, but we did everything but hit paydirt. It’s truly amazing the game was close, but give BC credit, they kept us out of the endzone all day.
Demetrius Fields – How steady is this guy? He caught every ball tossed his way and racked up 9 catches for 77 yards including a clutch 3rd down haul in the 4th quarter. He has been fantastic this season.
Brandon Vitabile’s fumble recovery – One of those freaky plays where Venric Mark got hit and the ball flew straight up. Vitabile grabbed it, saving our drive. It redeemed a 15-yard misconduct penalty from earlier in the same drive.
QB 1a & 1b – Yes, let’s get the passes you winced about out of the way. Kain took it harder. Yes, Kain missed a wide open Christian Jones TD and we had seemingly a TD with Prater that we missed. Trevor had his key fumble inside the ten. Yet, if you looked at the combined stat line it looks pretty good – 30/40, 267 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT. What’s not on the stat sheet is just how many creation plays Kain had when the pocket collapsed. He made some magical runs and manufactured positive yardage and first downs it was a key way to keep so many drives alive. Both of our QBs had fumbles that were uncharacteristic.
Venric Mark – He was his usual electrifying self today. Venric, however, dropped a screen pass and coughed up a fumble that will likely cost him dinner to Brandon Vitabile who somehow caught the thing. Mark had 18 carries for 77 yards, 7 receptions for 42 yards and a pair of short punt returns (including one fumble that he turned in to a positive play). Mark got hit hard and didn’t return after his late in the third scary moment. I watched him on the sidelines and he was on the bike and had a mild limp
The Day – Picture perfect. Mid 70s, great tailgates, a crowd that I swear was around 37K+, but miscounted for 32K and of course, a win.
Brian Arnfelt - The senior captain was in on a bunch of hits and caused a fumble. However, our D-line, as good as we were on the run, we were weak on the pass rush. Granted, Mike Hankwitz reverted to his dropping 7-8 in to coverage which gave Chase Rettig ALL DAY to throw.
3 Not 6 – This was the theme of the day. It shouldn’t have been this hard to put BC away. We didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. We were in the red zone five times and came away with five FGs (one was outside red zone, plus we fumbled) until Trumpy’s TD to win it. you might be able to do this and beat BC, but you’ve got to convert some of them. We’ve got to figure out a way to be better when we get in to the end zone if we want to keep on winning.
Soft corner play – Chase Rettig just picked apart the soft corner cushion and the BC Eagles created easy seperation on those out patterns. We’ve got to play tighter and jump some of those as they’re so predictable.
Officiating - Cliche, I know. Hoewever starting with David Nwabuisi’s personal misconduct in the 2nd which no one could see through the end of the game, I thought it was incosistently called throughout.
Clock operator – The score continued to change during the first half (it was NU 9 BC 4 for a while and BC had 3 when they really had 0) and the 25-second clock didn’t start on two separate BC plays in the second half. That can’t happen – not at this level.
NORTHWESTERN STATS TO STEW ON
- 100 plays – 60 rushing for 293 yards, 40 passing for 267 yds – 100 plays is a school record
- 560 yards total offense, gave up 316 total yards to BC
- Kain Colter – 16/20 (80%), 144 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 fumble; 17 carries, 66 yds
- Trevor Siemian – 14/23, 123 yds o TD, 0 INT, 1 fumble
- 8 different receivers caught at least 2 or more passes.
- BC’s Chase Rettig went 24/44, 291 yds, 1 TD
- NU was 12/19 on 3rd down and held BC to only 2/11
- We held the ball for 10:41 of the 4th quarter
- NU had 8 penalties, BC 4
- NU punted twice all game. One of them was pinned at the 1 yard line.