60 Minute Saturday: (24) Northwestern (7-2,3-2) vs Michigan (6-3,4-1)

Kain Iso about to throw vs BC

Northwestern (7-2,3-2) vs Michigan (6-3, 4-1)

GAMEDAY INFO
Date: November 10, 2012
Kickoff: 11:00 am ct
Location: Michigan Stadium (106,201) – Ann Arbor, MI 
All-time Series:  Michigan 53-15-2 In Ann Arbor: Michigan 33-6-2
Trends: ‘Cats looking to win back-to-back games in the Big House for the first time since 1934 & 1936.
Favored Team: Michigan (-9.5)
TV: ESPN – PXP – Dave Pasch, Color – Brian Griese, SL Jenn Brown 
Radio: WGN 720 AM – PXP – Dave Eanet, Color – Ted Albrecht; Sirius Radio Channel 92, XM Radio 196; WNUR 89.3 FM (student station) 
Twitter: @NU_SportsLIVE 
Coaching Stats: NU – Pat Fitzgerald (7th year – 47-38, 24-29) vs Brady Hoke (2nd year – 17-5,10-3 ) 
Weather Forecast: Rain in morning, 60% chance, winds S 10-15 mph, high 62

2-Minute Drill

You know it and I know it. There isn’t a Michigan fan who thinks they’re going to lose this game. They don’t believe in Northwestern. The fact this game is essentially an elimination game for the loser in their race to catch Nebraska seems to be underplayed. Sure, the odds don’t look good of Nebraska dropping two of their final three, but stranger things have happened. The ‘Cats are trying to get their first ever win under Fitz after a bye week and are still riding high after Kain Colter’s scintillating performance in a convincing win over Iowa.  There is a giant question mark relating to Michigan’s Mr. Everything, Denard Robinson, who dressed but sat in last week’s win over Minnesota. The ‘Cats are prepping to play against both Robinson, a rushing genius, and Devin Gardner, a dangerous passer. Conversely, Northwestern hopes to use the impressive ground game to challenge one of the best overall defenses in the country. Michigan doesn’t give up points and the ‘Cats have been stellar against the run. You get the sense 20 points will win this game.

Headlines I’d Like To See On Sunday:

  • “‘Cats, Colter Outduel Michigan and Robinson in Big House”
  • “Mark; ‘Cats rushing “D” leads ‘Cats to upset over Michigan”
  • “‘Cats Find Passing Game & Road Win; Still In Division Hunt”

 

WHEN NORTHWESTERN HAS THE BALL

Let’s hope we don’t overthink this one. Kain Colter and Venric Mark should be expecting to replicate the gameplan against Iowa. Michigan, an outstanding pass defense (#1 in FBS), struggles against dual threat running QBs.  The Michigan interior line has been challenged this year, but stud LB Jake Ryan has been a manchild for the Wolverines. It’s deceiving, but Michigan is weak at the corners and you can bet they will be cheating against the run and playing the odds that NU can’t beat them over the top. Simply put, Kain Colter will have to make some downfield passes in this one for us to get the “w”. Colter has completed 70% of his passes this year, but McCall has severely limited his pass attempts.

Based on the weakness at corner, I do expect to see Trevor worked in to this game, but let’s hope we don’t get suckered in to a Nebraska-like gameplan where we let Michigan dictate our offense. The key to Northwestern’s success this season has been getting in to a flow early and moving the chains. In our two losses, the common denominator was a slew of three and outs early that put our “D” on the field way too often. I expect to see more of Mike Trumpy as well in this game as his limited touches of late have been impressive and I can see some screen passes to both Trumpy and Dan Vitale this week, an element absent most of this year.

When Michigan Has The Ball

Like Northwestern fans, all eyes will be on trying to ID who is at QB. Will it be Denard or Devin? The Wolverines average 200 ypg on the ground and just 179 ypg in the air. Denard Robinson is really the only factor in the ground game for Michigan and after watching MarQueis Gray have his way with us earlier this year, we’ll need to really bring it to do what so few schools have done and contain him. That is, if he’s healthy. Michigan tends to always make SportsCenter highlight catches against us and Devin Gardner throwing downfield to the likes of undersized, but super-athletic Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo.

The ‘Cats need to do what they did against Iowa and that is get them to third down early and often. The Wolverines are an extremely well coached team and have been almost invincible in Michigan Stadium under Brady Hoke.  The big question mark on the NU side is whether or not CBs Nick VanHoose and Quinn Evans will return. The personnel in NU’s secondary may very well dictate the offensive gameplan for Al Borges and Michigan. As evidenced in Evanston last year, Robinson can be erratic when going deep, but make no mistake about it, if Robinson is on the field, it will come down to the ‘Cats front seven stepping up and limiting explosion plays against arguably the most dynamic athlete in all of college football.

Intangibles:
The ‘Cats ended a 67-game streak of having at least one takeaway when they came  up empty (albeit, they did get a blocked punt) against Iowa. The ‘Cats 12 fumble recoveries are near the top of all of the FBS (4th) and you get the sense they’ll need to continue their turnover margin ways to escape in a hostile Big Ten road environment with a win. The ‘Cats have fared much better in the B1G on the road under Fitz going 16-9 and also are 10-5 in November since the start of ’08 season. Weather could come in to play with high winds expected on an unseasonably warm day with a good chance of rain during the game.

Lake The Posts Factor (0=so certain you can DVR and watch late night, 10=running to Ryan Field, ripping down FG posts and marching them in to Lake Michigan): 9.0

When you’ve only won 6 times in a venue in more than a century, any win here is a big win. Consider the fact it would put NU in a realistic spot to run the B1G table and perhaps even beat out Nebraska, and well, you get it, this is big. Add on the annoying but true fact that beating the name Michigan turns heads and you’ve got a 9.0 on the LTP scale.

Pick To Click:

Dean Lowry - I’m hoping the freshman DE continues his impressive ways and creates havoc for whomever Brady Hoke puts under center. Lowry is one of the 20 or so reasons NU fans should be absolutely excited for the 2013 season and with B1G sack leader Tyler Scott getting all the attention, I’m hoping #94 can have a breakout game.

Head to Head Stat Pack – 2012 averages

TALE OF THE TAPE

(2012 STATISTICS)

Northwestern                                                                             Michigan

30.4………………………….Scoring Per Game………………………28.8

22.3………………….Scoring Defense Per Game………………16.8

21.9……………………..First Downs Per Game………………….18.7

236.4………………….Rushing Yards Per Game…………….. 200.9

5.3……………………..Average Per Rush……………………..5.0

24………………………….Rushing Touchdowns………………………19

162.3…………………. Passing Yards Per Game…………….. 178.4

7……………………………. Passing Touchdowns………………………11

398.8…………………..Total Offense Per Game……………… 379.3

15.9…………………..Kick Return Average………………..22.4

21.0……………………….Punt Return Average……………………..8.9

6……………………………………Fumbles Lost………………………………. 3

3…………………………… Interceptions Thrown……………………..15

+6…………………………….. Turnover Margin…………………………..-4

5.9……………………….Penalites Per Game……………………………5.3

57.4……………………..Penalty Yards Per Game……….50.9

46%…………………..Third-Down Conversions………………48%

33%………………….Fourth-Down Conversions……………..67%

12-13……………………..Field Goal Attempts………………….14-17

38.1……………………….Net Punting Average………………….35.9

 32-35 (91%)…………………..Red Zone Scores…………28-31 (90%)

 

Stats to Stew On:

  • Tracking Venric Mark – Mark is now the 15th rusher in NU history to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark with 1,072 rushing yards. His 119.7 ypg average is 10th in the FBS and 2nd in the B1G. He is tied with Braxton Miller for best in the B1G with 6 100+ games this season.  Venric is tops in the B1G and 6th in the country in all purpose yards per game with 184 ypg. Venric is 6th alltime at NU in career all purpose yards and just 350 from Ricky Edwards at #5.
  • Kain Colter’s 3 rushing TDs last game catapulted him to 7th in single season rushing TDs at NU with 12. Damien Anderson is the leader with 22.
  • The NU fifth year senior class has already set a record for most wins in five years with 37.
  • NU is 22-3 since ’09 when they outrush opponents.
  • The ‘Cats have scored in double figures in 69 consecutive games
  • NU is 33-11 under Fitz when they score first.

SURVEY SAYS…

Which Michigan QB Would You Rather Face?

  • Devin Gardner (68%, 224 Votes)
  • Denard Robinson (32%, 106 Votes)
     Total Voters: 330

Predictions

PRR: This game just feels weird. Northwestern and Michigan have not quite established clear identities. The Wolverines have relied so heavily on Denard Robinson that it is weird to see them playing against a quality defense and succeeding without him. He is that much of a weapon. Devin Gardner is not someone Northwestern should overlook. For the Wildcats, the team is seeking its identity with Kain Colter as the quarterback after that two quarterback experiment in the mid season. Northwestern does well late in the season and I think the bye week came at the perfect time to help the secondary recoup a bit and to get this team to settle down. The Wildcats need a big upset win to add to their bowl resume.

Northwestern 21, Michigan 20

LTP: Somehow this game is lacking the big game buzz I feel it should have. I’m tired of being underdogs based on program perception and a BCS ranked Wildcat team is a 9.5 dog in Ann Arbor against the unranked Wolverines. Michigan has been one dimensional on offense as it has been the Denard Robinson rushing show this season. The defense has bailed them out all season long, but Denard’s health is a major question mark for this game. Meanwhile, Kain Colter helped NU define its identity last week as NU again played a stellar three quarters. They’ll need all four to beat Michigan as I expect a defensive blueprint that mirrors Penn State and Nebraska. Colter will have to complete some passes to open things up and I’m confident he can do it. The ‘Cats get that signature win they so badly need.

Northwestern 23 Michigan 17

And Jack Marshall’s pick…

That says Northwestern 28, Michigan 24. Jack always has our back!

Other Games to Watch

Syracuse (4-5) hosts No. 11 Louisville at 11 a.m. CT on ABC. Syracuse lost to Cincinnati 35-24 last week giving up 21 points in the second half and 14 unanswered after taking a 24-21 lead in the third quarter. Ryan Nassib continues to tear it up for Syracuse, passing for 286 yards and a touchdown last Saturday. That could be key as Nassib keeps his team in any game. Particularly in the Carrier Dome, where the undefeated Cardinals travel this week.

Vanderbilt (5-4) travels to Mississippi at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The Commodores got a 40-0 win over Kentucky last week to get one win closer to bowl eligibility. Vanderbilt has turned things around after a rough start to the season, including that NU loss. Ole Miss is not an easy team to play but the opportunity is out there for Vanderbilt to do it this week.

Boston College (2-7) hosts No. 4 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. CT on ABC. Boston College lost 28-14 to Wake Forest last week to continue its disappointing season. Does anyone have any hope of the Eagles upsetting the Irish?

South Dakota (1-8) hosts Northern Iowa at 12 p.m. CT. South Dakota lost to Youngstown State last week 13-10, giving up 203 rushing yards to Jamaine Cook of YSU.

Looking Ahead to 2013

California (3-7) hosts No. 2 Oregon at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. California lost last Friday to Washington 21-13. The Golden Bears got 160 rushing yards from running back C.J. Anderson.

Western Michigan (4-6) travels to Buffalo at 2:30 p.m. CT. The Broncos defeated Central Michigan 42-31 behind Tyler van Tubbergen’s 362 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Maine (3-6) hosts Georgia State at 1 p.m. CT. James Madison defeated Maine 31-7 last week.

  • fullfathomfive

    I don’t see an upset on the road. Michigan makes a big play or two against NU’s weak secondary and slows down Mark just enough. Michigan 24-13. I am of course rooting for 49-10 NU though.

  • thegreekgambler

    so NW is ranked and getting 10 points..hmmm. MU owns NW at the big house. the point for/points against formula says NW wins 25-23. NW hasnt won a game after a bye in 7 yrs under coach Fitz. and jeff sagarins math formula says MU should be favored by 8. im taking NW in the 1st half plus 6 for a grand

    • thegreekgambler

      oh, and NW is 8-1 against the spread

      • Ron

        Who is this NW of which you speak?

      • cece

        NU NU NU NU get it?

    • Richard

      MU? We’re not playing Mizzou (or Marquette). In the Big10, we know how to initialize. That’s also why Northwestern is NU.

    • PaulK

      huh? NU v UM?

  • http://www.facebook.com/roy.lamberton Roy Lamberton

    NU = Northwestern University….

    on the old Purple Reign we used to penalize Cat fans who used the “directional” designation for our Wildcats.

    Anyway, NU has had some disasters at the Big House, and we’ve had some exciting wins. I’m rooting for the later.

  • Jimgocats93

    I see field goals winning this for NU. Plus: 15 interceptions for Michigan?!?! Is that a typo?
    Cats scoring 23
    One nice drive for 7
    One pick 6
    3 FG’s (one at the wire for a win) 23 – 22

    Gocatsgo!

  • Purple Flag On Saturday

    sigh…another set of homer announcers on ESPN.

    • cece

      turn down the sound, turn on Dave!

  • byebyefitz95

    Secondary looks like shit again and fitz clock management is a joke so far.

    • Nate

      Here we go again. Swiss cheese defense, UM figured out how to attack it. Gulp.

    • NorCalCat

      Clock management? How do you figure? That’s not really the issue. Couple of bad penalties and tough calls that went against us. That and the defense falling apart in the 4th again

      • byebyefitz95

        How do i figure? You’re an idiot. Time management was awful. You’re an idiot. Drop dead. D fell apart with no rest. You’re so stupid.

        • Joe

          @b8cf30b60da63586370e58e41f4c4e91:disqus get a life

        • Joe

          ByeByeFitz, get a life.

  • byebyefitz95

    Does Fitz know we can hike the ball with 5 seconds and not 20 seconds left. Clock management has lost us games for years. What a joke.

  • CMF

    Such a shame. It’s unbelievable how 1 bad CB can be exposed so easily and ruin what otherwise is a decent effort by the rest of the defensive unit. The Van Hoose injury, in a way, might have cost us 2 games now.

  • hudhaifa3

    ONE STOP………LET’S GO!!!! ONE TIME…NOW!!!!

    • CMF

      we might need 2. Michigan still has 3 timeouts – and we know it will be 3 rushes up the middle if we get the ball back up.

  • CMF

    Regardless of how this ends, I tip my cap to Trevor. For the situations he has been put in this year, he really has done well. It is when we shuttle him in and out within a series is what isn’t fair to anyone.

    • byebyefitz95

      Regardless of how this ends? I’m glad you’re okay with losing. Piece of shit go away.

      • CMF

        I one of the people who is not ok with losing. I live and die with each game and don’t believe in moral victories – so relax. I posted that comment to praise TS for his work today. At the time of the post, I thought they could still lose (4 min left), but didn’t expect them to lose the way they did with 18 seconds left.

      • http://twitter.com/RiseNU Philip R-R

        Please refrain from cursing if you can. You do have meaningful comments to contribute, but name-calling and cursing are not acceptable. This is just football, after all.

        • Ron

          Is that really all you care about? All the abuse of cece (stalking even?) But the guy drops a bad word and you’re on his case. Great.

          • http://twitter.com/RiseNU Philip R-R

            We are reviewing our commenting guidelines and are generally trying to curb any abusive behavior. Please let us know if anyone is crossing the line. LTP and I will do our best to clean things up.

    • GP

      Well said. He’s amazing given the situations he faces. A true winner.

    • Polymersci

      Trevor was throwing laser beams today. Why when we only needed one first down and Kain was hurt did we not seal the deal with a quick safe pass? The fact that Trevor can be “instant on” is indeed a tribute to his preparation and abilities.

  • Nate

    The season hangs on the shoulders of one freakin’ defensive stop…Go. After. Gardner. Don’t give him all day.

    • CMF

      Now we need 1 first down. Technically 2, but will be happy with 1. :)

      • Nate

        Agreed…without Kain out there it isn’t gonna be easy…please convert NU, you’ve tortured us enough this year!

        • http://www.facebook.com/haberstr John Haberstroh

          Ye-s-s-! and no timeouts Michigan. Wait, under further review.

  • hudhaifa3

    HELL YA…..SO happy for D. Dugar

  • CMF

    Absolutely classic. If anything, just punt the ball with incredible hang time into the end zone to take time off. I just can’t imagine we will get this done in OT with hobbled Colter and this deflated D.

  • cece

    I can’t even…..

    • byebyefitz95

      Same here cece. Period or no period we all bleed purple.

      • cece

        is this idiot officially gone from the board? cause this is harassment and sexist.

  • cdmarine

    So infuriating. Michigan should never have had that last possession. We gave them a chance we didn’t need to give them.

  • byebyefitz95

    How do we not quarterback sneak on 3 and 1 in OT?

    • DT

      You are right… The play call stunk, particularly under the circumstances in OT..

  • cece

    for the love of…….omg. brutally sad.

  • CMF

    I didn’t think we could top the Nebraska loss, but sure enough we did.

    • JB

      Terrible decision making and execution…again

      • byebyefitz95

        Fitz is a joke. I know were suppose to be happy with a 7-2 record, but he writes the book for losing.

    • zeek

      That felt far worse than the Nebraska/Penn State losses.

      There was only 20 seconds left. I’m not sure how we lost.

  • CatAlum06

    This team has become beyond predictable… in our ability to blow 4th quarter leads. It’s like every week they see how close they possibly get to a win only to blow it.

  • Jbonez

    God this is just too infuriating

  • GreenLantern411

    Something has to change this offseason. I’m too angry right now to think of what it is, but you cannot have three of the most absurdly crushing fourth quarter losses in the country in the span of a month and not change several things.

    My day is ruined. What the hell do I do now?

    • zeek

      I would have felt a lot better after this if we had gotten pasted. That was a root canal.

      We’re already snakebitten as fans with a lead late in games. Now we can’t even think that we’re favored in the last 30 seconds of a game with a 3 point lead and punting on their side of the field…

  • Scott

    or 59 minutes, 42 seconds …

  • DT

    I’d say heartbreaker except that it should not have taken place… Until this program can figure out how to contain 3rd and 17 ala the play with the interference in Q-3, not to mention, the explosion play with 18 second left, NU is stuck as The Cardiac Cats, the LIttle Engine That Could, and with big losses that negate the gains so many Koolaid types claim here… Also, every fucking time, Fitz starts playing for time off the clock setting up a defensive stand, it blows up in our face… The Cats should have kept attacking for the first down in the last possession… With :18 seconds left, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “too much time left”… Seen this drill way too many times with our DB’s since 96… Same old shit… I’m almost ashamed of myself getting so upset with it, feeling almost ill, watching it happen when I’m almost expecting it… Comes down to that… They find a way to lose…

    I just don’t know how we as a fanbase keep the :-) going when these huge opportunities keep getting pissed away… The kids try hard, do some good things and the coaches do what they know how to do… All equals a program that is close but no cigar… Top 25 level programs just don’t do this stuff as a matter of habit…

    Still plenty to play for and gotta think NU can at least split the next two… All about the bowl win from here on out… If they don’t win that bowl game, The Head Coach should be fired, albeit we know that won’t happen.. So it goes at NU…

    • zeek

      @Michigan State is going to be one of the toughest games this year.

      Their defense is probably even better than Michigan’s…

      Their offense might be worse, but if they hold us under 21 points, I don’t think we win there…

      • DT

        zeek- Particularly at this point in time, I would not argue with a thing you said… My money would be on Sparty…

        That said, they should beat Illinois and damned well better figure out a way to win a bowl game whatever happens in East Lansing…

    • timc

      Totally agree. That IS the key. After the Trevor TD throw we never again moved the ball. We had momentum. Trevor was hot, Kain was hurt and we go with Kain and go into THE SHELL, running into a pile. Everyone knows that’s what we do and we do it every time. Also that punt was inexcusable. Playing not to lose assures we lose. Every time. I’m so done with this coach.

      • TK98

        Agree whole-heartedly with you both. Honestly after today I’m ready to just give up, and could really give a shit about the rest of the season. We’ve just shown ZERO signs of improvement in coaching, and it’s absolutely what has lost us these three games this year. It’s painfully embarrassing to watch as an alumn and fan, and it’s gotta be embarrassing for our players (who are busting their asses every week, no question there). Sadly, I’m not at all convinced the coaching staff is the slightest bit embarrassed by the way they’ve crapped their pants in these games, and I’m pretty sure the University could care less.

        Utterly, inexcusably poor coaching. We (players, students, alumni, fans, anyone who wants to take seriously the idea of NU as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”) deserve better.

  • CMF

    The sad thing is, the overall game plan was good. We controlled the ball and line of scrimmage most of the day. It is the in-game management that Fitz really can’t plan for that he fails at time after time. Why didn’t he tell Williams to just punt the ball with good hang time through the end zone and then reiterate to the Defense that PI is not the worst thing in the world. With 18 seconds, Michigan had at most 3 plays and even with 3 PI calls, that leaves Michigan with a 52 yard attempt (as a 4th play). I guess this is better than if we had won the Nebraska game, because this game would have basically been for the Legends Division. Unbelievable.

  • David

    The bad punt really hurt. Also, no way Roundtree could have caught that pass if it hadn’t been tipped.

  • Mike

    Nothing like self-fulfilling prophecies. 58:50 of game winning football.

  • CatFanSeattle

    When you can’t defend the pass you will lose game late. It’s really that simple folks. No pressure, 3 man rush and lack of coverage yet again.

  • zeek

    It pains me to say this, but the way we played that last half-minute, we deserved this loss.

    We played like a bad football team in the final 30 seconds and it cost us the game.

    That punt was a disaster.

    Not taking a pass interference at the end is also a disaster. The coaches have to instruct the players on that at the end of games. Sometimes I wonder whether our coaches have any idea what they’re doing at the end of games….

    • TB

      Somebody has to explain to me how the guy runs straight down the field and is in single coverage in that situation.

  • CMF

    Something else I thought was odd was how much Fitz celebrated when TS took a late hit out of bounds just before NU went up 31-28. Of course I was happy he drew a flag, but I am not sure I have seen a coach celebrate in such a manor for his QB getting hit late and drawing a flag.

    • Sam

      It’s because we couldn’t get a call all game. I admit that was a little overblown, but it was getting absolutely insane with how bad the refs were killing us.

  • Al

    How many times has NU blown a double-digit 2nd half lead under Fitz?

    • byebyefitz95

      Too many to count.

  • Sam

    I think you all may be being a little harsh on Fitz… That was the worse ref’ing I have ever seen! If we got even fair calls (pass interference, the obvious safety, late hits, etc) we win that game by 10. This wasn’t an NU failing (not entirely), it was literally almost impossible to win this game with those refs. Insane.

  • TB

    That was the stupidest way to lose a football game I’ve ever seen.

  • Jbonz

    We must give our opponents an extreme level of confidence going into the fourth quarter when they are trailing. Down 7 points? 20 seconds left? We are playing the cats? No problem! We got this!

    Actually the ability of the cats to blow a game is almost unrivaled in sports. I was at prentice hospital on on October 21st 2006 watching the cats manhandle the Spartans while my wife was in labor. After the first half, with the cats up 38-3 I turned off the game. It was over, right? Yeah, we know how that worked out. And we have been giving comfort to the enemy ever since.

  • cebpd

    why did they not realize to PI on the last play? THEY DID IT THE ENTIRE REST OF THE GAME.

    • CEBPD

      OH RIGHT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO COACHING.

  • MarkMedill88

    Just freaking awful. A second-string QB has a career day against us. We can’t stop third-and-long. Arm tackles. Horrible clock management (except for the last drive before halftime). Stupid play calls. And a defense that falls apart in the fourth quarter…again. No more “moral victories.” We are terrible.

  • CMF

    Obviously, there are a lot of other reasons we lost this game, but the VanHoose injury has, in a way, cost us the last 2 games (you could say coaching has as well). Aside from the last 30 seconds, which I can’t totally blame Jones since he is trying to make the right play (other than take a PI call) to knock the ball down, Dugar’s inability to cover and give up PIs on 3rd and 19 along with missed tackle after missed tackle on the 10 yard stop routes is excruciating.

  • GP

    Every time I see the three man rush in these situations, I think, ‘here we go again, give ‘em forever to run 60 yards and then heave ho to 6′ 4″ guy against a 5′ 11″ one’. Why don’t we dare to put some pressure on? Where were the other 7 guys??? For one of the smartest schools around, we’re sure not so smart when it comes to winning these games.

    • CMF

      Agreed. Totally different personal since our CBs were way better back then, but if you watch the ’95 NU/Michigan game, we were coming with 6 guys at the end of the game. I do like the fact that Fitz is ‘playing to win’ with some of the offensive playcalling (i.e. go for it on 4th and 1), but we need to ‘play to win’ on defense as well. Even if Gardner breaks containment and scrambles out of there, he needs to run for over 30 yards to get in FG range with time running out.

  • Dan Baren

    I am sick to my stomach. That is all.

    • DT

      My blood pressure remains elevated…

  • Nate

    Speechless…without speech. Questionable coaching and play at the end of regulation. Why take the delay of game penalty before the punt? What’s was with the rugby-style punt, boom the damn thing! Even more puzzling, why rush 3 on the deep pass? Where were the other DB’s when that ball was in the air? Roundtree should’ve been triple covered. Why does NU find new ways to lose every year? This is so frustrating…another week of having to listen to people talk about how they spit the bit when they were up 10. It’s so sad knowing that NU’s best shot at the Rose Bowl in a number of years had to end like this. Get better Kain and Venric, those two took a lickin’ today.

  • virginiacats

    TS should have been in more – he was hot. KC was hurt.
    that punt was awful.
    Am I the only one who *knew* we were going to lose when the clock had :27 left in the game

    • zeek

      I think we all saw this loss coming in the final half minute. It’s just the way the past couple of weeks have gone.

      Good teams know they can beat us at the end of games.

  • Chasmo

    This loss re-enforces Gary Barnett’s notion that the toughest job of all at Northwestern is getting its coaches, players, and fans to expect victory.
    The final minute of the game provided those who feel the Cats aren’t winners with much ammunition to make the argument that this team has the physical tools to win but not the psychological makeup to do so against opponents who don’t roll over down the stretch as Syracuse and other inferior teams did this year.
    The offense, special teams, defense, and perhaps even the coaches, all acted like losers after what should have been a game-clinching interception.
    The offense gains one yard.
    The special teams line drives a punt that is returned 23 yards to near midfield.
    The defense . . . well, what can you say?
    The play calling seemed designed to try to just run out the clock rather than gain any yards or score.
    The fans — come on now, be honest — were paralyzed with fear all through that final minute that NU would somehow find a way to blow it.
    Expect victory.
    Northwestern just doesn’t.

    • virginiacats

      unfortunately, all of this is true. Single coverage on a 50 yd bomb? Dugar with a clutch interception, but so many missed tackles by him, blown coverages PIs…

  • Polymersci

    Bottom line. All we needed was one last first down and the Fitz/McCall braintrust goes into the typical “play not to lose” mode and bam! we give Michigan back the ball with too much time. This one’s on the coaches for many reasons already mentioned. What’s maddening is that Trevor got hot and when the game was on the line they stayed with an injured Colter. Hats off to Kain for a great game and gutsy play, but one quick bullet over the middle for a first down and game over. NU wins. I came out of my chair on the punt. It’s pretty clear Fitz can’t finish. For whatever reason, he just doesn’t have the coaching acumen to put teams away.

    • DT

      Well, said Poly.. Well said… The big shame of that narrative, was “too much time”= 18 SECONDS!

  • cece

    banning byebyefitz95…..best thing to happen today.

  • Joe

    Says the guy talking tough on the internet…..

  • Joe

    Can we ban this loser?

  • joe

    Haha, dude. You have issues, but I’m in New Orleans right now, I’ll be back in Chicago next week, since you were wondering.

  • NocCalCat

    Second

  • http://twitter.com/RiseNU Philip R-R

    Banning him now. Sorry about that folks.

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Minnesota1000
Purdue1000
Iowa1000
Nebraska1000
Illinois1000
Northwestern0100
Wisconsin0100

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Rutgers1000
Penn State1000
Michigan1000
Michigan State1000
Ohio State1000
Indiana1000
Maryland1000