Puzzle unsolved in OT loss to Iowa

When one things seems to be going well, another seems to go wrong. Grabbing any bit of momentum and seeing the glimpse of what this season was supposed to be, immediately slips out of reach.

This is where we are at right now as Northwestern faces the stark reality that a bowl game is going to be a chore this year. Sure, Northwestern had a five-game losing streak the last time it traveled to Lincoln, but that team did not have the expectations, the hype or the talent this year’s team seems to have. Getting to Texas, let alone a bowl game at all, sounds really peachy.

Once again, the defense did its job, keeping the margin manageable and giving Northwestern’s offense all the time in the world to make its comeback. The end though came down to Jake Rudock facing a blitz from Ibraheim Campbell and Chi Chi Ariguzo and lofting the ball to the corner of the end zone where C.J. Fiedorowicz was waiting for an 8-yard reception and a 17-10 overtime victory for the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

Northwestern’s possession was a complete mess as Kain Colter was pushed out of the pocket, took a coverage sack, threw an incomplete pass that was dropped and then was forced out of the pocket and forced to make a play that simply was not there on fourth down. Colter trusts his legs more than his arm. And that is a limitation on Northwestern’s offense.

First the Wildcats had to find their offense first.

The first half was an absolute offensive mess as the team struggled to find any rhythm and get the ball moving. The one drive in the first half the Wildcats did, Mike Trumpy fumbled the ball. That would be a recurring theme as Trumpy fumbled an option pitch from Kain Colter in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, Iowa failed to convert on a fourth down in Northwestern territory going into the wind and NU forced overtime.

The Wildcats were playing from behind at the get-go and needed some offensive fluidity. Northwestern found it in the third quarter, putting together an 8-play, 81-yard drive capped off with a Colter touchdown throw to Dan Vitale and a 16-play, 69-yard drive to tie the game on a Jeff Budzien field goal.

DamonBullockIowa_NU102613Northwestern outgained Iowa 329-305 including 225 yards rushing. The Wildcats found their offensive rhythm in giving the ball to rising star Stephen Buckley and his 17 carries and 99 yards. Mike Trumpy, despite those two fumbles, still managed 51 yards on 13 carries. Kain Colter had 60 yards on 15 carries. The passing game did not find its rhythm as Colter played the whole game (minus a few plays when he appeared to injure his knee.

The defense gave the offense all the time in the world to make its way back into the game. It was an impressive performance from the Wildcats defense.

The Hawkeyes went 14 plays and 74 yards on the opening drive for a touchdown, picking up most of those on the ground by pushing the Wildcats off the line. NU made adjustments and started shutting down the run. They had 136 total rushing yards, that would be only 62 yards the rest of the game.

The Wildcats defense did its job. Again. The offense? Did not.

Northwestern did some things very well. The Wildcats started getting things going in the right direction. It looked the best it has since the Ohio State game. It took too long for it to come.

The Hawkeyes stepped up in overtime. Northwestern’s offense curled into its shell. This is not a team that can play under those pressure situations. Especially with the way the offensive line is banged up — and Dan Vitale did not help with a pair of critical holding penalties that killed drives.

The offense is the problem. That is a new place for Northwestern to be. It seemed to be going in the right direction at the end of this week’s game, but there is still a lot to work on. A lot.

It is desperation time now as the Wildcats face being 0-4 halfway through the Big Ten season. And the even starker reality of being 4-4 and possibly missing a bowl game.

  • Richard Hoffman

    I don’t see this team winning another game – and that includes @ Illinois. Maybe Venric returning will jolt things back to normal, but I can’t see how one player could possibly fix the incredible offensive ineptness.

    Fitz said in his post-game interview that his job was on the line. That’s a good attitude to have. It shows he’s not complacent. But I’ll be damned if this wasn’t a complacent effort on the part of the coaching staff.

    • TENman

      Except that his job isn’t on the line. Whatever happens the rest of the way in 2013, I think Fitz could go 4-8 next season and bomb the start of the 2015 season before any serious hint of being replaced started to come from TPTB.

      • Ron

        If he goes 0-8 in the conference, then he’s not any better than Rick Venturi and should be treated no differently.

  • Dohsan

    The offense would have been decent if not for several drive-killing penalties and fumbles (both of which were when we were in or close to FG range).

    The first Trumpy fumble was actually on a helmet-to-helmet hit that went uncalled.

    The second Trumpy fumble on offense as it was due to a bad pitch by Colter.

    • David Plunkett

      I, too, thought it was a helmet-to-helmet.

      • a42

        If it’s a runner between the tackles does helmet-to-helmet still apply? I can never remember if college and NFL are different in that regard. I know they let that go in the NFL between the tackles.

    • db

      Not a penalty. Every play between the tackles is helmet to helmet. Not illegal.

  • LTP

    Just left kinnick. Not even my 18 year road win streak could overcome another sleepy half that cost NU. They dominated the second half. Cats d is doing its job. Time for offensive overhaul. Another team with a record # of sacks against us. 12 tfls. 6 sacks.

    • a42

      While the O-Line deserves blame for that, some of those sacks were on Colter as well. It’s the double edged sword where he can break out of some crazy pressure situations at times, but will also get caught in some of those situations. But like PRR mentioned that’s also a reflection of Colter’s lack of trust in his arm and over-confidence in his legs. I’m starting to wonder if this year is a case of defenses having caught up to our 2 QB gimmick and neither guy is truly elite enough to still go out and win games.

    • Db

      Offensive overhaul??? Come on ltp. The pitch to trumpy on 1st and 25 didn’t have you encouraged? If he doesn’t drop the ball, think about how you can open up the play book on 2nd and 29…endless possibilities. Maybe Option short side to trumpy, or maybe even the drop back don’t see a thing scramble for 2.5 yds play that we ran 10 times.

    • cardiac cat fan

      I would like to see an offensive overhaul. Execution is key to any offense so we can stop beating that horse. I look at the talent NU has – even with injuries to key players – and this offense is just not built to their strengths. If you’re going to win with a gap in size and athleticism the offense needs to be more dynamic. We’re predictable on offense and we’re not the team that can line up and out muscle and out execute other B1G teams.

      There’s so much more than can be done to make this offense a threat on every single play. NU in 2000 ran an offense no one had seen under Kevin Wilson (the guy can call an offense). Sadly, it’s 2013 and we’re running a vanilla albeit complex from a read standpoint spread offense.

      I expect victory. I expect more. Go ‘Cats!

  • DenverWildcat

    Time for Trumpy to hit the pine

  • 70 alum

    Too tentative, too plain, too scared on offense – the season has become a train wreck. Two QB system was doomed from the start, and now neither one of them can really move the ball with authority. Truthfully, this team could be 7-1, maybe even 8-0, and yet they were lucky to win most of the four games they did win. Can you say 4-8. We’re quickly headed that way.

    • Dohsan

      Where the heck do you get the idea that they could be 8-0 or 7-1?

      Unless you meant “could” in the sense that pigs “could” fly . . .

  • NU Cat ’95

    Should we really be surprised at Trumpy getting key carries after watching Jacob Schmidt get so many a few years ago? Despite an influx of younger talent, Fitz and this coaching staff seem blindly committed to always playing a couple of lesser players who they see as doing things “The Wildcat Way” (whatever that means). Loyalty is good in a lot of situations. This, however, is not one of them.

    • Catatonic Joe

      We saw a lot of Buckley, who is just a sophomore. And Matt Harris is everywhere. I don’t think Fitz is as committed to upperclassman as he used to be.

      • Mark Wheaton

        Buckley is actually a redshirt Freshman, so he has 3 years left.

    • Db

      Trumpy’s fumbles per touch is astronomical

  • Alum Dad

    Can we “flush” this season yet?

  • NUBobby95

    You can’t run the option when Trumpy is in the game. PERIOD!!!!!!!! How many f’ing time do we need to see it. He is a between the tackles runner who lacks speed and elusiveness to run outside. How many times does he need to turn the ball over before he sits. Where was Green again?

    • Nate

      I was gonna say, whatever happened to Treyvon Green?

      • a42

        This has been bothering me for weeks. Did I miss an injury or something? What the heck did Treyvon do to land himself in the doghouse like this?

      • Philip Rossman-Reich

        You guys have not missed anything. No injury to Green has been announced and they did not say anything on the broadcast about Green. Clearly Stephen Buckley is the team’s future at the position.

        • Next Cat

          When it comes to how we use RBs, I don’t think you can ever say “clearly.” Buckley looked great today but so did Green earlier in the year and — unlike Trumpy and Buckley who are now getting the carries he was getting previously — Green has zero fumbles on the year.

          There may be a very good reason for Green to be on the bench and I’m not saying it’s necessarily in his or the team’s interest for that reason to be made public… or even publicly referred to in cryptic terms. I just hope and pray that Green knows the reason — assuming he’s healthy — because inexplicable and unexplained drops in playing time can be demoralizing to the players involved and confusing to the team.

          We can’t forget our recent past includes RBs Arby Fields and Adonis Smith leaving the program… which may have been in their and the team’s best interests but, at least in Fields’ case, it was not a good sign that Fitz was caught by surprise. Both had some early success, followed by drops in playing time and then their transfers. Not saying Green as a junior is either unhappy or would ever consider doing that. Just saying I sure hope the internal communication around RB playing time these days is FAR better than the external.

          As for the future, I think we can say it INCLUDES Buckley but it’s far too early to rule out Warren Miles Long much less that stud recruit, possible Illinois player of the year, we’ve got joining us next year — old whatshisname. Hell, it MIGHT include a RS’ed Venric Mark. One thing we know for sure is we do need depth at this position regardless.

          • bjm989

            Heard from someone in the AD that Green had an injury

  • cece

    well, the offense won the second half. and the defense did not let Iowa score in the second half. and in OT, the defense could not stop Iowa and the offense could not score. I ‘d say it’s a pretty balanced rap on both sides of the ball. sad.

  • Woody6

    Fitz would make a great high school coach.

    And just think, he wouldn’t have to face any Big Ten teams.

    • Mark Wheaton

      Yep. He could hire Gerry Faust as his associate head coach!!

      • Woody6

        Memory lane: Faust, the ex-Notre Dame former high-school coach. You’re so right, they’d team up well.

  • WestCoastBuffaloJoe

    Defense played more than well enough to win. Offense played like complete Siht in the 1st half. IN the 2nd half the offense was stronger and bettter, but we beat ourselves.
    2 fumbles by Trumpy. the fumble on the pitch was a self inflicted wound. Should have been caught, he looked up.
    VERY untimely penalties. Every one of them but maybe one was a complete drive killer. The unnecessary block by Vitale for 15 yards was the game changer. 15 yards backwards instead of 2nd and 3 at the 20 yard line with a tie ball game.

  • Woody6

    Great decision, NOT: in OT to elect to take the ball up against a 40 mph wind. And to let Iowa have the wind at their backs for passing and/or kicking.

    And sure enough Iowa won with an 8 yard pass, which could have easily sailed if they had been up against the wind.

    Great coaching, Fitz!

    • Dohsan

      What the heck are you talking about? In OT, both teams play on the same end of the field.

      • Woody6

        You’re right.

  • Nate

    I’d really like to know where Northwestern’s offense went since the OSU game, because I highly doubt it went away with Venric Mark. They only reason I can come up with is confidence and trust. The O-line is getting worn down mentally by B1G fronts, the QB’s don’t trust their arms and the receivers don’t trust their hands. I get Colter is still hurt, but he didn’t look like he wanted to throw today. Sad to see, but the offense seems mentally rattled, which is the last thing I’d expect from a Fitz-coached team.

    • Mark

      I think you’re underestimating Mark’s importance. He averaged 6 ypc in the rushing game and 18.7 yards in punt returns last year. I think the other things you’re saying are true. I do think that Colter isn’t seeing anyone open – in part because Mark doesn’t occupy defensive attention – and this is a surprise to me given past years’ slot receivers and Vitale’s play in 2012.

  • JimB98

    I can sum up the problem with both QBs in four words: THROW. THE. FLIPPING. BALL. One runs every time there is a hint of pressure, real or imagined. The other shrivels and waits to be sacked.

    The last play completely captured why we can’t win a big game with Colter. 4th and 8, like 10 guys closing in on him and he doesn’t elect to throw the ball somewhere. Anywhere. What’s it matter if it gets picked or bounces to the ground. THE GAME IS OVER IF YOU GET TACKLED. ARGHH!

    I miss the days when we had QBs with the stones to stand in the pocket and take a hit while delivering the ball, and who had some hint of situational awareness. I’m tired of hearing crap about the o-line – we’ve never had a great o-line! In the past our QBs would go one-two-three and the ball is out. Can’t believe the WRs are that covered on every play either. If they are, then we should be rotating in more guys.

    • Dohsan

      We had a good O-line last year or 2. First time since forever that I saw our O-line consistently push the defensive front off the ball. But yeah, that’s the exception, not the rule.

      • Indycat15

        I don’t think our o-line’s problem has been in the run game when Colter is playing. It’s with pass protection and trying to pick up D-line stunts or zone blitzes. Ian Park got completely lost on the last play of the game on a simple d-line stunt and it blew up the play. He has struggled recently and it but us in the butt.

        • Chasmo

          Poor Park. But as much as he’s struggling, the coaches must not believe his backup is any better because Park still plays most of the snaps.
          Konopka also is struggling at left tackle after having an okay season at right tackle last year.
          NU should never have a bad offensive line because offensive linemen are among the smartest players on any football team and their good high school grades and test scores make more highly rated offensive line prospects available for a school like NU to sign than kids who play other positions.

          • wild-one

            Coach Fitz took Park out at the end of the first quarter. Frazier replaced him and did a solid job. Go Back and watch. Konopka needs to stop the penalties. O line looked better after the 1st quarter.

      • JimB98

        They were OK last year, but not great. I will give you that they were better than this year. And yes, some of our guys are not playing well, but that happens to every team. So many of the sacks this year are on the QBs as much as the o-line. It drives me nuts to hear “the o-line really sucked because of 6 sacks.”

        I truly believe that good QBs would have taken maybe half of the sacks we’ve had this year. Maybe.

        I will grant that Colter does break the occasional long one but those sacks hurt so much more than the value of those occasional breakouts because they kill drives. On that last play he did great to keep the play alive – something other QBs might not have done as well. He gave himself at least two chances to throw the ball and just ended up eating it instead.

    • royko

      What has happened to all the quick, short pass routes this team has always depended on? I realize there’s pressure and the O-line isn’t doing their job, but our QBs should be releasing the ball quicker. The offense doesn’t work unless its puts defenses on their heels.

      • Mark

        Agree, that’s the basic premise of the spread when used by a team that is not one of the most gifted athletically in the country. No one has filled the role in the receiver corps of being the guy who gets open immediately and the QB gets the ball out. Traditionally this role has been played by one of the Cats’ slot receivers – it’s just not happening. Unfortunately Colter may be the best person to play this role.

  • Indycat15

    I can’t imagine how this loss is on Fitz. The team played hard against a motivated Iowa team playing at home. We had the game wrapped up in regulation until two straight brainlock plays: 1) the blatant mindless clip on Vitale that was a 27 yard penalty in effect, and 2) the option fumble. Btw- bad pitch and awkward timing by Colter that disrupted the timing (Trumpy could have caught it but that’s 50 percent on Colter). This was a game that was a classic Big Ten matchup- each tema trying to exert their wills with the running game because passing would be at a premium. Hats off to their QB making a great play in OT to score a TD- we had a great defense called and the blitz was timed up perfectly. We couldn’t match it.

    Tough loss but not as bad as Minnesota or Wisconsin.

    Agree with the comment about Colter not trusting his arm.

    • Chasmo

      I agree NU’s problem seems to be between the ears as it certainly showed it can play physical football against a pretty good team.
      But as with Ohio State, the Cats threw away a chance to win a big game. Turnovers and penalties are bad enough but aside from Vitale’s one-handed, bobbling catch down the sidelines to set up the touchdown, nobody on offense made a good play in difficult circumstances. Iowa did in overtime and it won.
      It will be interesting to see how Fitz handles the first true “adversity” of his career. His team has crashed so let’s see how he handles this fall from grace. If he can win two more games and get to a bowl, the pressure is off because the lack of greater success can be blamed on injuries. But if the Cats go 1-7 or 0-8 in the Big Ten and don’t make a bowl, even Northwestern fans’ famously low expectations for their team will not have been met, injuries or no injuries.
      Let’s see how Fitz handles it.

  • PBRCat

    Well, Minnesota surprised Nebraska today, so maybe the Gophers are better than we assumed. At this point, a trip to Detroit in December will seem like a minor miracle. I feel badly for the defense — the offense seems much more to blame for the four game losing streak.
    The wind was a big factor in the game reaching overtime since Iowa had problems kicking today. So many questions for the NU “O” right now.
    Where does NU find two more wins? The Illinois game may be important this year which is an awful thing to say after a 4-0 start.

  • Wildcat Pride ’93

    Why is 1-star Trumpy in the game when 2.5 star Treyvon Green is on the bench and 3 star RS Frosh Stephen Buckley is having the best game of his career. A note of consolation 4-star recruit RB Justin Jackson had another 300 yard, 4 TD and Clayton Thorson’s Wheaton North and looks to be the Illinois High School Player of the Year. Hopefully, Fitz does not redshirt him.

    • notsoutheastern

      alviti is better than thorson

  • NJCat

    This loss, like many others, is on the staff. Not sure what game anyone who can’t find criticism of Fitz was watching. I’m not calling for his job BUT HE IS RESPONSIBLE. Just awful clock management game after game. No sense whatsoever of when to use or not use a timeout. Not calling a TO w 1 min left in reg (which would have forced an Iowa punt) was just plain stupid and showed a complete lack of confidence in his players. He seemed very content to play for overtime. (By the way he could have called a TO on an earlier 3rd down on that drive w 3 min left.) They threw down field once for a 30 yard gain. Why not open it up? If the QBs don’t know when to throw the ball away to avoid a sack, it’s the staff’s job to tell them! Whenever they are doing something well and moving the ball, they call a different type of play and stall the drive. When things are not working, they don’t adjust. I have never seen a team run more plays to the short side of the field. While the defense, for the most part played well today, they gave up way too many first downs on third down and consistently rushed only 3 guys on those plays. But for Budzien, their special teams are awful! Has anyone seen a team that never attempts to catch a punt? The list of coaching mistakes is too long to write. This loss falls on the staff (plus Trumpy ; though Colter should not have pitched the ball because he would have been tackled for a loss even if he caught the ball). Nobody should fear Fitz will leave. He should however consider changing his staff or doing something to change the negative vibes surrounding his team. They need to get their mojo back. However, I’m not sure it’s possible this year. I’d suggest encouraging them to play the role of spoiler since they are not respected, were overrated and are going nowhere. Not making a bowl game is going to be a huge regression for recruitment!

    • Mark Wheaton

      I’m with you on Fitzgerald. He needs to get his act together. Do we see any evidence of better in-game decision making versus where he was 8 years ago? I don’t. Does he have too much patience with underperformance? He might. Is the punting game (kicking and returns) bad? Yes. I cannot believe there isn’t one player on NU other than Venric Mark who can return a darn punt. What happened to speed ball? NU plays at such a slow tempo they seem to destroy their own momentum. Trumpy as the pitch man? You must be kidding me. But we see it over and over. This program seems to be at a crossroads: is NU going to take steps in the off season to assess what is working and what isn’t, or are they going to be complacent and make only incremental changes and be satisfied with always being a borderline bowl-eligible team like they have almost every year in the Fitzgerald tenure?

    • Philip Rossman-Reich

      The lack of energy and motivation from this team certainly goes on the coaches. Right now guys are not executing. Coaching staff has to find a way to get these guys to execute and play with energy. Hard to put a finger on what is going wrong. Everything is! Except on defense.

    • Purple to Pasadena

      I completely agree with the post above. Fitz’s virtues are many and have been spoken about at length on this blog and many others. But he has significant weaknesses as well, most notably his questionable game management skills. Not calling a timeout with Iowa facing 4th and 11 and 1:00 left in the game was beyond inexplicable. It calls into question Fitz’s knowledge of the game. You do not play for OT when you have a good chance to close it out in regulation. And in that situation–stop them on 4th and 11, advance the ball about 40 yards in 50 seconds, and then turn it over to your star placekicker with the wind at his back–you play to close it out in regulation. In a 4th and 11 situation, the odds are clearly in the defense’s favor, and you always play the odds. To anyone who disagrees with me and believes that it played into our hands to let the clock wind down to 20 seconds, I’ll say this in response: If that was truly the case, then Iowa would have taken a timeout with 1:00 left instead of us. Just inexcusable.
      While the negatives far outweigh the positives from this one, I won’t dwell totally on the former, as there were some great things for us to take away from this game. First, Kain Colter is as tough as they come. His moxie, leadership, and will to win are second to none. We’d all like it if he had more of a rocket arm, case in point that 3rd down pass in OT that fluttered, but this is a special player. Second, Stephen Buckley!! This guy has a burst and runs hard. I’m excited to have him in our backfield for years to come. Third, amidst all of the negativity, Ibraheim Campbell is having as good of a season as I can remember from anyone in our secondary. We are in very good hands with him as the QB of our defense.

    • Db

      I will not defend today’s decisions, but his in game management is complete night and day from where it used to be. Three years ago was a gong show, and this is the first game I could even question his in game stuff this year. I think he has been outstanding with timeouts and game management vs his peers, even urban.

      I do question why a 2 qb system has been what has worked, and today you go with 1 that put nothing the board. That was odd.

      • NJCat

        As a further example of poor game/time management, look at the end of the 1st half last week against Minn. NU got the ball w 2:20 left in a tie game. NU went 1,2,3 and out and gave it back (after another horrible punt) at midfield with about 1:55 left. Incredibly stupid managing. But for terrible play calling and a missed FG, NU would have been down 7 instead of tied at the half. There are many more examples. That is one of the reasons the Cats under Fitz have lost while after having 4th Q leads so many times. When winning or when having an ineffective offense’ Fitz has stayed w a no huddle giving his defense no time to breath after we go 1,2,3 and out. I am happy Fitz gave the team respectability but NO ONE respects the CATS now. They are being played for fools.

        • db

          2 mins is an eternity in cfb. That drive was a shame, but you need to play offense there with whatever are appropriate plays. There are problems with this team, many of them are coaching, but his in game is so much better than its been. There are plenty of other areas to hit before that.

    • Skratz

      Three points:
      1) If Fitz looked at stats he would know that this team is mediocre at best for scoring at TD in the redzone. So, playing for TO by not calling that timeout shows a complete lack of understanding of his teams strengths and weaknesses.
      2) The offense works when both Kolter and Siemian are in the game. I get that Trevor has been terrible the past two weeks, but they should have played them both, because that is what has worked.
      3) I am honestly shocked to see that some folks believe we still might make a bowl. I would be more surprised to see us win a game the rest of the season. If I was a betting man, I’d put money on a 4-8 season if Venric doesn’t come back.

      • PBRCat

        I was puzzled that Siemian played so little today. I agree that Colter should have had more playing time, but Siemian seemed to be a better fit in a few situations calling for passing. I get the fact that Siemian threw a couple of interceptions and fumbled one against Minnesota, but his receivers also dropped more than a few passes, which, if completed, would have us singing his praises.
        Clock management has always been a weak spot for Fitz.

        • heeby-jeeby

          Last week, Siemian had a pick-6 and then immediately followed it with a strip sack fumble, resulting in 10 quick points for Minnesota in a game that was decided by 3 points. He was intentionally benched, at least for this game.

          • PBRCat

            So much for “flushing it” unless the phrase refers to flushing the 2013 season. Benching Siemian did not put Northwestern in a position to win when you needed someone with sufficient arm strength to throw a touchdown pass in overtime or at the end of regulation.

    • timc

      I too am fed up watching either QB go back to pass and inevitably the play quickly breaking down into a siege. Of course the O-line is a problem. And It’s obvious Trevor just holds it to long. BUT, I really believe Colter too quickly shifts his focus from receivers completing their routes to looking for open running lanes. That creates a “jack of all trades, master of none” result. He is so far from the patience in the pocket of a pure passer has. He’s always looking to run. So in the end we have ZERO passing attack.

  • MB1982

    Does anybody know what’s going on with the punters? I see at least three others besides Williams on the roster. I know this might seem like a small thing in light of all our other problems, but I’m tired of watching Williams’ 30-yard punts. We’re at midfield and he punts to the 19, while the Iowa punter pins us to the 1-yard line. Are you telling me the other three are worse than him?

    • NJCat

      Totally agree! Last week against Minn, I watched another punter kick better than Williams side by side at halftime. Williams is the WORST in the BIG statistically. You can’t get worse.

  • cece

    what is the October problem with losses? there is a really bad patch consistently in October, right? does this indicate some lack of adjustment on the part of the coaches? does it have to do with the academic schedule?

    • Next Cat

      Midterms were this past week… but I doubt that’s the problem.

  • Mcsittinthere

    We suck. Face it, we’re a women’s lacrosse school.

    • Mcsittinthere

      Women’s lacrosse school jokes aside, I actually was surprised we didn’t get our butts kicked after their first drive. I will say that as great as coulter is (and we would be 0-8 without him) I wish he didn’t think run before throw. It seems like he is quick to scramble versus looking to throw and resorting to a scramble.

  • Purple Flag on Saturday

    All the weeks of work comes to this?

    NU had 55 yards in penalties, including a couple of real killers (Dan Vitale’s illegal-and unnecessary-block looms large). Mike Trumpy performed very well running straight ahead, so they put him out on the option–where he’s had little success, ever. KC looks like he’s trying to turn the tide by himself, and 1 vs 11 doesn’t work. Then, after abysmal time management as time wound down, the OT offense looked like they pulled plays out of a hat.

    It appeared that the players worked their butts off today, only to have the coaches–OC and HC–choke.

    Everyone is frustrated right now. Players are trying to do more than they’re capable of doing. Mistakes are compounding.

    Fitz needs to take control of this train wreck.

  • Alaskawildcat

    Taking the game into overtime has to be huge for the morale of the players. After a two week slump the Cats are back on track. Absent a derailment the momentum is now in our favor.

    Given how Nebraska decisively lost to Minnesota it makes our close loss to the Gophers less shocking and at the same time gives belief with evidence that Nebraska is a much more winnable game for the Wildcats than it may have appeared before today. So far the only real bad loss we have had this year was to Wisconsin. At this point Illinois and Nebraska look like Wildcat wins.

    I see us becoming bowl eligible November 16th when we beat Michigan after our bye week. Add Illinois and we have a 7 win season as a worst case scenario.

    • cebpd

      fuck moral victories. fuck being “bowl eligible”. Bowl eligibile is the biggest sign of mediocrity in sport. 50% win? bowl. esp with the 4 cupcakes on the schedule.

      This fanbase should expect victories, especially in games like the past 2 weeks

    • Buckyor

      I want what you’re smoking.

  • Frank

    The play calling is the problem. Cost us the OSU game: three times at their ten and we come away with 3 field goals; versus Minny all we do is throw incomplete flag pattern after incomplete flag pattern. Yesterday after Coulter gets hurt and our O line is dominating and we get to around the ten again we wait until it’s 3rd and 6, an obvious passing down, to throw an incomplete pass and settle for a field goal.

  • MarkMedill88

    Ugh. From 4-0 and a top-20 ranking and talk of a Jan 1 bowl, to 4-4 (0-4) and prayers that we get a bowl game at all. I thought beating Cal was a great early sign with a win over a good school, but evidently all four of our pre-B1G games were all patsies — and the B1G is a second-tier conference compared to the Big12, ACC and SEC. We are having a really mediocre year, which is sad because of all the returning talent. It’s not a lack of ability. It’s a crisis of confidence, seen mostly with increased penalties and QBs panicking in the pocket. That sort of thing is ENTIRELY up to the coaches to fix.