You say this game doesn't matter because Northwestern should win in a runaway. I say, well, you're right. Why do you have to suck all the fun out of things by pointing out that Northwestern has a relatively high chance of winning? Football will be played at Ryan Field tomorrow and the world is a better place for it. Even though school ain't started yet, I'll be there, and I hope some of y'all will be there as well, if not, the game thread will be poppin' as always.
The SoP staff spoos all over the place with its predictions after the jump.
As an NU fan, you know never to take anything for granted. Still, is there any doubt that Saturday's game will be anything but a resounding NU win? Ok, there's always that nagging doubt in the back of my head that NU just might blow it, but this game is as gimme as it gets.
Persa's still likely out for the game, according to the practice reports that have filtered out. No matter, Colter and Co. should still roll. The only drama surrounding this game is how well our backups will do. This will be the first chance for a lot of these guys to get meaningful playing time in a game, and we'll all be looking to see how well the youngsters step up. Will Trevor Siemian and/or Evan Watkins have command of the offense? Will Trevyon Green justify Fitz' decision to burn his redshirt in Week 1?
There are questions for the starters, too. Will Jeravin Matthews learn from his mistakes in the BC game? Will Will Hampton and Chance Carter fill the void left by the injured Jack DiNardo? Will Jeff Budzien build off his solid, if limited, Week 1 performance and give NU a reliable kicking game?
Prediction: NU 72305981092, EIU 10.
Just please don't lose.
It's not really about the final score or the result. What a Northwestern fan wants is for the Cats to play 60 minutes, never be concerned, and not see anybody get injured. Anything above that is gravy.
However, gravy is delicious and tastes good on various things, so let's talk about it. I wanna see Evan Watkins give me even more confidence in the "people who aren't Dan Persa" department and throw a couple TD's. I wanna see NU's non-Mike Trumpy running backs look better than Arby Fields once did against Towson, which was pretty good. I wanna see the field goal unit look as good as it did against BC, since a 46-yard field goal is the same against EIU or against Nebraska. I wanna see Northwestern's defense look so dominant that they grow bored and begin allowing touchdowns out of pity and making wanking motions to the crowd to signify that they're just doing it because they're good people, yet also deeply sarcastic and with a sense of humor. I want to see NU run the final six minutes off the clock by letting Tyris Jones run up the middle eight yards at a time.
If all that happens, we'll be good. But as previously noted, I'll settle for just a win and nobody getting hurt.
Prediction: NU 48, EIU 13
I'm most interested in how the secondary bounces back from a shaky performance against Boston College. Army runs a triple option, so this is the last chance before Big Ten play to gain experience against a conventional passing game. I'm looking at you in particular, Jeravin Matthews. If the first string secondary can't shut down Jimmy Garoppalo, I will be concerned going forward.
It would be ideal if this one is over by halftime like last year against Illinois State so the second and third stringers can get some run. Also, I hope Mick McCall doesn't call many designed runs for Kain Colter; there's only so many hits a QB can take. The running backs should be able to handle things on the ground.
This one won't be close but I expect EIU to leave their starters in longer and get a couple of garbage time touchdowns.
Prediction: Northwestern 45, EIU 17