This Saturday's contest will be against the "Mildcats"??? Once upon a time a game against Northwestern was like money in the bag. (work alert!) But....this year we have fallen down the rabbit hole and up is down and big is small. The Wolverines are 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the Big 10. The Wildcats??? 7-3 overall, and 3-3 in the conference. Their wins have come against the likes of Syracuse, Duke, So. Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Purdue and Minnesota.
The Wild facts:
Their offense on average this season has produced 4.2 avg yards/rush and 5.9 avg yds/catch with 3.9 yards of YAC tacked on. They have scored 86% of the time from within the red zone. While posting an average 24.6 points per game, they have also allowed their opponents 20.8 push-ups on average. Bloated stats are courtesy of the 37 they gifted Sparty and the 45 tUOS racked up on them. Seriously, these guys won their first 5 games including their Big Ten opener against Nittany-Slaying-Iowa. Uh, ok.
BUT---Northwestern seems to be running a M*A*S*H Unit. Their starting QB and 3rd leading rusher, C. J. Bacher hasn't started the past 2 games. Interestingly, their back-up QB Mike Kafka ran for 217 yards against Minny. Kafka is second in rushing yards on the team behind Tyrell Sutton....who, um, well--hasn't started the last two games due to an injured wrist. Omar Conteh, #4 on the RB depth-chart is now out for the season with a knee injury....Stephen Simmons has started only 4 games for them this year but has only played in three. He had a whopping 34 yards on 14 attempts against the Buckeyes. Kinda reminds me of this.....
Coach Pat Fitzgerald is spreadin' the love our way, saying at his presser on Monday: "Looking to this week, we're going to play a team that when you look back to the beginning of the year, with the amount of change they had in their program, is playing their best football of the year. Against Minnesota, they played outstanding in all three phases of the game. Their kicker was the player of the week in the conference, they have the Big Ten's leading punter, punt returner and kick returner. Offensively they went out and made a lot of plays, they're running Rich Rodriguez's offense to the best of their ability. On defense, they're doing a great job of bringing multiple pressures from a lot of different places, playing not only four-down but a three-down defense as well, and they're very aggressive. They're a team I've seen improve each week and it will be a game in a very hostile environment. But the focus this week is on us, we did not play our best football of the year last week and there's a lot of room for improvement."
Thanks Coach!!! You just did all my work for me!!!!! Given all their holes on offense and our D-line's improvement over the past few weeks we definitely stuff the run and dress which ever of their QBs shows up back there. Coupled with Sheridan's SAFE game play against Minny, and the development of our O-line, well, I just may be giddy about our chances again!!!!....
I say we SOOOO win this one and that it will be way fun again just like last week's win. Big smiles on the sidelines for the Boys in Maize and Blue!
TAME THE WILDCATS
TAME THE WILDCATS