Northwestern regressed to the mean yesterday: after a couple of weeks with few or no turnovers and near-perfect play in the red zone, drive after drive stalled for the Wildcats leaving NU with a whole lot of yardage, but little to show for it. Regardless, they did work when it mattered: five field goals by Jeff Budzien were perfect, and that and a scamper by Mike Trumpy were enough for the W, and that leaves NU undefeated. That really bodes well - NU still hasn't played anything resembling a perfect game and still has yet to see the loss column.
Having faced squads from the SEC, ACC, and Big East, NU is a win against an FCS team away from going undefeated in the non-conference schedule while the rest of the Big Ten burns.
- Can we start talking about getting Jeff Budzien a Lou Groza Award up in here? Herman has already talked about him and I pointed out how he'd extended his range, but he's now 8-for-8 in the past two weeks and although 13 teams have attempted eight or more field goals, Buddy is the only one to knock every one through. Good on him, let's hope he stays perfect.
- When was the last time Northwestern won a game on the ground like that? 293 yards rushing, 106 in a return to relevance for Mike Trumpy while Venric Mark had 77 before going out with a minor injury. Trumpy looked good running the ball between the tackles, while NU's run defense was absolutely phenomenal. The 25 yards on 21 carries is a little bit misleading because of the 15 yards the Eagles lost on a bad snap, but they still got nothing on the ground thanks to a linebacker corps that is really on top of its game so far this season. Chi Chi Ariguzo was a real grown individual with 10 tackles, two pass breakups, and the fumble recovery.
- The QB Kain-Trevor-sy - another hat tip to BYCTOM - took another turn for the weird yesterday as Kain Colter completed more passes on the same amount of attempts as Trevor Siemian and also had some critical first-down dashes, but sometimes missed open receivers, sometimes opting not to pass at all and sometimes just missing the throw. Siemian again made some throws Colter can't but had the same lack of success offensively Colter did. I think the status quo of the double-QB system stays for the rest of the season unless somebody gets hurt. Saying there's "no clear winner" in a QB battle between the two is misleading, because regardless the team is 3-0 and everybody's a winner, if you don't mind the corniness.
- You could also say NU won the game on third down - 12 of 19 conversions to get the ball into scoring position, only two of 11 for an anemic BC offense.
- Lotta dropped passes for BC. Chase Rettig made the throw his team needed more often than not. The pass defense wasn't really fantastic, but those drops bailed them out.
I think that's it - more later.