NU Domination — The #LOLHat Returns Home

Kain Colter, Dan Vitale

Northwestern had been separated from its lone trophy for two years. Defeating Illinois mattered for state ownership, for that trophy and for bowl positioning.

Obliterating Illinois? Well, that was just a ton of fun.

Northwestern had a rough start, missing tackles and giving up a touchdown on the opening drive. That would be about the only negatives you could find from a 50-14 Northwestern win at Ryan Field on Saturday, wrapping up a 9-3 regular season and a likely Florida trip on January 1.

The Wildcats outscored the Illini 17-0 in the third quarter, taking the opening drive of the second half 11 plays for 75 yards, capped off with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kain Colter to Tyris Jones. It opened the flood gates as Northwestern expanded a 27-14 halftime lead to 48-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Colter passed for 102 yards on 9-for-11 passing, throwing for three touchdowns. He added 88 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Venric Mark had 127 yards on 18 carries, adding a touchdown to his total. The Wildcats held the Illini to 242 total yards, completely dominating the game after that early moment of shakiness.

Northwestern methodically ran the ball throughout the game, passing the ball sparingly and dominating the line of scrimmage throughout.

The problems for Illinois started after that moment of brilliance on the first drive. The Illini gave up a field goal on the Wildcats’ first drive, then they proceeded to fumble the ball on the ensuing kickoff when C.J. Bryant separated the ball from the returner and right into the hands of Cameron Dickerson. Northwestern scored fairly quickly after that on a two-yard Kain Colter run.

The rout appeared to be on after that.

Illinois could not get out of its own way. On a Northwestern drive, Illinois committed two sideline interference penalties — including one where Tim Beckman tripped over the referee to draw the flag. Illinois continually committed penalties including holding penalties and personal fouls. The Illini had eight penalties for 88 yards in the first half and each penalty seemed to kill momentum and keep the Illini from building any type of momentum.

Northwestern stopped missing tackles and stopped making many mistakes on defense. David Nwabuisi, Ibraheim Campbell and Nick VanHoose each had interceptions that set up scores. Northwestern’s only turnovers before the fourth quarter that did not matter was followed on the next play by Nwabuisi’s pick and long return.

The Wildcats took advantage of every Illini miscue and finally buried an opponent.

Illinois stood no chance in this game once Northwestern took the lead. NU showed the killer instinct that so many people have wanted to see in this team. It made the fourth quarter fun as Pat Fitzgerald gave team and fan-favorite Bo Cisek a few carries near the goalline and fourth-string quarterback P.J. Carollo got snaps at the end of the game.

Northwestern was clearly very focused on making a statement against its in-state rival. And the team made one, giving Pat Fitzgerald a Gatorade bath for tying Pappy Waldorf for the program’s all-time win mark.

There was nothing to be upset about in this game. Nothing to complain about (go ahead and try).

Northwestern simply dominated, scoring a big win over a hated rival and securing a strong bowl position. There is only one goal left to accomplish now. And we have a month to prepare for it.

  • hdb

    Capital One just indicated that Northwestern would be best pick for them if Nebraska beats Wisconsin in championship game. Strap up for SEC #2 or #3!

    • David

      Where did you see that?

    • Snevik

      They said “best team available,” which is just stating the obvious–they have the best record.

      • http://twitter.com/buckyor Bucky

        I’m not sure “best team available” to them means Northwestern rather than Michigan.

        • Snevik

          “Best team available” means team with the best overall record. So it means Northwestern, unless Nebraska blows it in Indy.

    • Emily

      We’d better hope and pray that we don’t get stuck playing #9 Texas A&M in that bowl (they are the preferred pick). Furthermore, we’d better hope and pray we don’t have to play anyone in the top 20 because we are not up to it. I love NU and have for 20 years but we need to be realistic here about our capabilities and the fact that we desperately need a bowl win for our program. Let’s not get carried away…

  • Dan Baren

    Finally — we made it look easy! Now let’s win a bowl!!!

    • zeek

      That was the most fun game I’ve had against Illinois since following this team.

      The coaches had our boys rolling today.

  • David

    What a great game. After the first drive…it was 50-7. Still…tackling needs to get better. Both TD drives were full of missed tackles. Here is a salute to the players and coaches for a wildly successful regular season. Now let’s get number 10.

    • PBRCat

      I enjoyed when Fitzgerald appeared to grab one of his playes and gave him an impromptu primer on tackling techniques by demonstrating how to grab the opposing player correctly. This happened along the Northwestern sideline.

  • cece

    oh S….NAP!!!!!!!! what a win. congrats ‘Cats.

  • zeek

    We’re going to be ranked considering all of the losses ahead of us; that’s huge.

    The stakes in this bowl game couldn’t be higher:

    The upside:

    1) High ranking to end the season; mid teens likely 11-15
    2) 10 win season (tying the ’95 season)
    3) Fitz becomes winningest coach with 50 wins

    Getting rid of the long draughts:
    1) Ending the decades and decades long bowl losing streak
    2) Ending the many games long bowl game losing streak

    Huge amount of history riding on this bowl game, and we can look forward to a good ranking this weekend.

  • DenverWildcat

    Feels so good. Now it is bowl time. We have got to get the fans out to Florida. Need to prove that despite fewer graduates we can support our program at a bowl game with the rest of them. Need to go grassroots and encourage everyone you know to make the trip

  • WestCoastBuffaloJoe

    Great Game for NU. Dominance. Rival win. Trophy win. 9 wins.

    The rest of the day is shaping up well for NU as well

    Teams NU beat earlier this season with a win/winning today:
    Syracuse
    Vanderbilt
    Should help with NU’s strength of schedule, which, although dissed by some on this board, will end up top 40.

    BCS ranked teams ranked ahead of NU with a loss/losing:
    Oregon St. #15
    Texas #16
    Rutgers #18
    Michigan #19
    Louisville #20
    Arizona #24
    Washington #25

    Should move into BCS top 25, maybe top 20.
    And be there until bowl game.

    All that is left is a bowl game win!!!!!

    • UVA Cat

      Add Oklahoma State to the list.

      • Cs93

        Plus UCLA, Florida State, and Clemson.

    • zeek

      Given all those losses and our dominating win, I’d hope we move to the 16-20 range.

  • cece

    everyone should check out The Champaign room (link below thanks to LTP) because they have the sideline interference video up. omg.

  • CM

    LTP, PRR, BK:

    Per Teddy Greenstein, with 9-3 NU and 8-5 Wisconsin, the Outback bowl IS NOT obligated to take the Cats. I know the “2-loss rule” has been discussed extensively on the message boards (essentially that 9-3 vs. 8-5 WOULD force the Outback to take NU). Can you share your insight on this latest development from Teddy G??

    • Brett Kurland

      Not sure. It runs directly counter to what I was told by a Big Ten Conference official. I am trying to get clarity from Teddy, but in the meantime, here is my email exchange with the conference official from earlier this week…

      BK:
      “…Back to that scenario I presented yesterday, where Northwestern would finish 9-3 and Wisconsin would finish 8-5 after a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game. That would obviously give Northwestern two fewer losses than Wisconsin, but only more win.

      My interpretation of the rule, because it says “except a team that has two fewer wins OR two more losses (in all games) than another eligible team”, is that the Outback Bowl (or Capital One Bowl) would be bound to select Northwestern over Wisconsin, because of the two fewer losses, and the fact there is only a one win differential does not matter. But some folks have interpreted that Outback/Cap One would not be bound to select Northwestern, because Northwestern only would have one more win. Am I correct in my interpretation?

      Please let me know so that I can make sure that I am representing things as accurately as possible to our readers.”

      Response from Big Ten Conference official:
      “Brett,

      Based on the below criteria, neither the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl could select an 8-5 team over a 9-3 team (since the 8-5 team would have two more losses).”

    • Brett Kurland

      Not sure. It runs directly counter to what I was told by a Big Ten Conference official. I am trying to get clarity from Teddy, but in the meantime, here is my email exchange with the conference official from earlier this week…

      BK:
      “…Back to that scenario I presented yesterday, where Northwestern would finish 9-3 and Wisconsin would finish 8-5 after a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game. That would obviously give Northwestern two fewer losses than Wisconsin, but only more win.

      My interpretation of the rule, because it says “except a team that has two fewer wins OR two more losses (in all games) than another eligible team”, is that the Outback Bowl (or Capital One Bowl) would be bound to select Northwestern over Wisconsin, because of the two fewer losses, and the fact there is only a one win differential does not matter. But some folks have interpreted that Outback/Cap One would not be bound to select Northwestern, because Northwestern only would have one more win. Am I correct in my interpretation?

      Please let me know so that I can make sure that I am representing things as accurately as possible to our readers.”

      Response from Big Ten Conference official:
      “Brett,

      Based on the below criteria, neither the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl could select an 8-5 team over a 9-3 team (since the 8-5 team would have two more losses).”

      • CM

        Brett,
        Thanks for your dogged pursuit of clarification! Fortunately, I think the mysterious “2 loss rule” is now behind us, as Penn State just downed Bucky in OT. A Nebraska win next week should send Michigan to Cap One and NU to Outback.

    • cece

      oh how I am wishing for a web site that keeps a constant watch and shows the “virtual B1G” standings as the games are in progress. watching Minny and Sparty and Wisky and the school that shall not be named and thinking about how it affects the ‘Cats.

    • AP

      That’s not true. I asked Teddy via email for clarification on the rule and spoke with Jim Phillips today. A Big Ten Championship loss just count for the two loss rule — a 9 and 3 northwestern HAS to go over Wisconsin if they lose the championship — even if Wisconsin HAD won today.

      • CM

        PSU’s win negates this all, thankfully! Not sure why Teddy came up with a new rule interpretation all of sudden this afternoon…

      • CM

        But for the record, Teddy DID state what I outlined above. I spoke with Dr. Phillips and he assured me otherwise. Regardless, Teddy G was adamant today about his new rule interpretation

  • Jbonz

    Awesome game and glad I went. Looking forward to @dt commentary

  • NUCats2000

    Good win excited that we stopmed the team in Champaign, and finally we wore those purple pants that i’ve been waiting to see.

    • vaudvillain

      Purple pants / black jerseys has always been one of my favorite combos. Looks good with the UA uniforms, too.

      • BeNWildcat14

        Don’t forget those black helmets! I’m glad they brought those back out, hope to see them a lot next season.

        • Doug

          Really? They look terrible!

          • BeNWildcat14

            Oh no way, I think they look great! Love the matte finish with the silver wildcat. I’m thinking they could even add another helmet to the mix, maybe a white one?
            But don’t get me wrong, I still love the original purple with white “N.”

          • JimB

            I dont like the black helmets but like the cat on it. Why not a purple hat with the cat on it. Even Purple metallic like TCU’s blue metallic. They have very cool helmets. Ours being purple with the cat would be great.

  • Alumdad

    The Illini should have stayed in Champaign this weekend. They are more suited to the IHSA Football Playoffs than B1G Football.

    • David

      Seriously…1A Galena High would give them a run for their money.

  • timc

    Can anybody remember the last time we played an entire game without punting?

    • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

      No..I remember BC not punting vs us in ’92..but don’t think this has happenned in my 20 years of following them.

      • timc

        Timely too. Brandon needs a reboot. Pun intended.

  • SocalScott

    Great game and day. Congrats to Fitz! I just feel really bad for @DT and ByeByeFitz. What are they going to complain about?

    • cece

      feel badly for them…NOT!!!

      • SocalScott

        Don’t feel bad for my wife or my partner…they both watched the game and enjoyed it. Perhaps you should go back out drinking for a few hours, post more replies, and make real jerk of yourself again. Your effort so far is pretty weak.

        • byebyefitz95

          haha I was sober with my reply. Guess I do my best work when drink. Go Cats!

      • cece

        still with the sexism. what a jerk. and not even creative.

    • Joe

      Didn’t you get banned?

    • BeNWildcat14

      Since Fitz is now tied for being the all-time winningest coach at Northwestern, shouldn’t you change your name to hihifitz95, or something that respects the coach that just led us to a 9-3 regular season?
      Just a thought.

      • NU68

        Winningest conference games? Apples to oranges? Just a thought ….

        • BeNWildcat14

          True, not yet winningest in conference games, but still a recognizable accomplishment by Fitz. Either way, Pat Fitzgerald is clearly improving this program while maintaining the elite status of Northwestern student athlete academics, which is an important part of the program obviously.
          But yes, the next step is to start winning meaningful conference games, getting to a Big 10 (or should I say 14) championship, and eventually a Rose Bowl bid.

      • byebyefitz95

        You make a solid point and I will be honest he has been winning me over of late with his play calling. He wins a Bowl Game…I change it.

    • hudhaifa3

      Can they ever say anything positive?….I am sure the shit will start with Carmody soon…..But a great day to be a Wildcats (football and hoops)

  • sigmacat98

    Jack with the pick! Closest of all three!!! He called the blowout! What a game! What a W – Fitz didnt take the pedal off in the 4th. Venric for Heisman!

    • David

      We only scored two points in the 4th quarter. Fitz did everything in his ability short of taking a knee for the entire 4th quarter to try not to score. The defense took it upon themselves to get to 50. We used 4 QBs, 8 or 9 RBs including a nose tackle. Fitz just wanted to run the clock.

      • cardiac_cat_fan

        i am normally on McCalla and Fitz for trying to escape games for a victory, but this was not the case today. the ‘cats were handing the ball off and getting good yardage and first downs. nothing to be upset about. it was, for the first time in a long time, in the bag.

        • David

          I am not upset at all…it was the right move. We could have hung 65 on them today. I was simply pointing out that we did not have the pedal to the floor the whole game.

  • NorCalCat

    What a great game all around. Great to stomp our rival. Great to get the seniors, Tyris Jones, Bo Cisek, et al some quality work there are the end. And most satisfying, great to have an easy win where we pulled away from an inferior team and didn’t give them an inch to get back in it.

  • Scubacat

    Illinois is such an impossibly bad team that this was simply practice. But it’s GREAT to have 9 wins. And I’m double pleased that no one was injured. The one thing I can’t stop thinking about is that we still don’t have a consistent, solid passing game. Makes me a but nervous heading into a bowl game. But, New Year’s Day will be fun!

  • JOEuNU

    If Nebraska wins the B1G, our choice is Northwestern or Michigan. If Wisconsin wins the B1G, the choice is Nebraska or Northwestern.

    Taken from capitalone’s twitter feed.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/CapitalOneBowl

  • NUMBalumDave

    THAT was fun! I haven’t enjoyed myself that much since, well, I could name a few games.
    So, Illinois, was that tasty? Feel like playing ‘My Kind of Town?’ As it turns out I can both crow and growl.
    AND we get the Sorting Hat! ‘Better be….. NORTHWESTERN!’

  • bandcat

    REDEMPTION IS SWEET… Lets get some more at The Outback Bowl….Thanks Cats for a very, very entertaining and Fun year. Go Cats! Think Fitz remembers The Fridge?

  • jpklock

    During the pre-game tailgate, one of my friends noticed a crowd of orange-and-blue, piling out of a convoy of “Peoria Charter Coach” buses.

    “Well, sure,” said one. “After all, the Illini *are* ‘Peoria’s Big Ten Team!'”

    Great win today– awesome to see the foot stay on the throat, into the 4th quarter, and very fun to see our third and fourth stringers putting it on the Illini.

  • Bear43

    DAMN THAT BAD COACHING BY MCCALL AND FITZ IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ALL YEAR!!! we got this bog win again thanks to our D!!! And only 2 in the 4th – I dont care what you all say – McCall must GO!

  • notsoutheastern

    Exciting for the great, the good, and the disappointing later. only one possible disappointment, but i think it’d be rough to give trevor that on his limited reps. what a game

  • OTim

    C’mon, New Year’s Day ! So what team is likeliest to be NU’s opponent?

    • NorCalCat

      I think South Carolina is probably the likeliest.

      The winner of the Georgia/Alabama sec championship will play in the national title game. Florida will definitely be a BCS at large pick. Capital One Bowl picks first of the remaining team and they will probably take the loser of Alabama/Georgia.

      The Cotton and Outback Bowls get the joint next pick. The Cotton has priority for Western division teams and the Outback for Eastern division teams. Thus the Cotton has a first choice of either LSU or Texas A&M. The Outback has the first shot at SC but could decide to take whichever of the two western teams the Cotton does not take. I’m guessing they stick with the East and pick SC as our opponent especially since we played A&M last year.

  • David

    I know a couple of posters have commented on teams ahead of us losing…but it is amazing to realize…out of the 11 teams from 15-25 in the BCS, only one team, Kent State won this week. Boise State had a bye week. The other 9 all lost. Also, Miss State who is just outside the top 25 in the coaches poll lost to Ole Miss.

    • Doug

      um…nice name man

    • David

      LA tech lost to San Jose St as well.

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Nebraska5010
Minnesota4110
Iowa4110
Northwestern2210
Wisconsin3100
Illinois3201
Purdue2301

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Maryland4110
Ohio State3100
Michigan State3100
Penn State4111
Rutgers4101
Indiana2201
Michigan2301