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Color Me Semi-Impressed.

Its okay. You're allowed to be pleased when your team curbstomps an FCS opponent 37-3. I mean, take a look around you: James Madison and South Dakota will be glad to remind you why you're allowed to be pleased. NU has played things close in the past, so be glad Saturday was not that day.

But, are we allowed to be impressed? I'm going to go ahead and say yes. The Wildcats did literally everything asked of them. The first team moved the ball down the field with literally no trouble and racked up big stats and points with efficiency, only punting once in the first half and converting on every single red zone opportunity. The defense didn't allow the other team to score, plain and simple, and forced a bunch of turnovers. And the younguns, when we played them - and boy, did we play them - simply continued to play like they were on another level from the guys on the other team.

It's kinda like Boise State: no, what they did wasn't overwhelmingly impressive. But they did everything you could possibly expect of them, and that's enough to go 2-0. 

Actual analysis, after the jump


  • I'd like to introduce a new segment, called "Is Dan Persa's Completion Percentage Higher than My GPA". This week, Dan Persa completed 19-of-23 passes, good for 82.6 percent, meaning this week, his completion percentage was LOWER than my career GPA. However, on the season, Dan Persa is 38-for-44, good for 86.3 percent, meaning on the season, his completion percentage is still HIGHER than my GPA. Both of us have our bugaboos: Persa had a Sidney Stewart drop in the end zone cost him a pretty nice piece of percentage this week, and I got a C in a really easy intro to Stats class a few quarters ago.My goal is to beat him for this quarter.
  • As for Dan, wow. Yeah, again, it's against an FCS team. But look at the passes he throws: they're indefensible. After two weeks, I'm alarmingly confident in Persa's throwing ability, both on deep balls and on the typical NU spread four-yard throws to the sideline. 
  • I've figured out Pat Fitzgerald's coaching strategy, and it's simple: make your backup quarterback look kinda mediocre with an occasional good play when they come in as a backup, so we get worried that when they have to start they'll suck, but it turns out they're really really good at quarterback when they actually play. Worked with Kafka and Persa... Evan Watkins appears to be in stage one where he looks mediocre. Although that pass over the middle to Venric Mark made this site's collective heart leap for joy. We didn't really ask much of Watkins, so we can't grade him on his performance. I still say he's the best ever. Good to see he's a real person, though, and not just a figment of our imaginations.
  • Someone should tell Illinois State's quarterback how to read a zone defense. On the bus home he tried to throw a crumpled up piece of paper into a garbage can, but it turned out Quentin Davie was standing directly in between him and the garbage can and he totally didn't see him there and Quentin took the garbage and ran with it. 
  • Our defense looked great. The coverage was sloppy, but we bended and didn't break. Don't get too hype about the turnovers, because one of them was a pass directed at nobody besides Corbin Bryant and one was a lateral and a failed comprehension of basic football rules. It wasn't a fantastic performance by the ones, but, no points. 
  • But what I really like is our depth. Our twos came in, and, yes, they were playing against twos, but, uh, there were some serious backups in there. I see you, Damien Proby!
  • Who's that plummeting with great speed down to the bottom of the running back depth chart.... that's right, it's Jacob Schmidt! Look, I don't have a problem with big, sorta slow running backs. I'm cool with them. I like my chicken fried and my running backs wide, and big enough to take someone down with them if they must be tackled. But that big fella has to be able to hold on to the ball. Especially if your job has a lot of short-yardage/goal-line duties in it. Schmidt hasn't been significantly better than anyone else at the RB position - nobody has - so I think his three fumbles in two weeks of the season should be a killer in terms of him seeing the field again this year on a regular basis. Which is sad, because I sorta liked the guy.
  • Arby Fields on the other hand, good job. I'm not impressed with a 100-yard day against ISU, and he still has a tendency to go backwards when he shouldn't, but, he did everything we possibly could have asked of him, and that's a start. But as noted, I'm hesitant, because he also looked great against Towson last year. We'll see if he can get positive yardage against Rice. 
  • Remember last year and every year he played here, how Brad Phillips liked hitting people? Brian Peters does too. But he doesn't just like hitting people. He also likes throwing people. 
  • I'm a big Rashad Lawrence fan. I like big targets at wide receiver. And I like big fast targets at wide receiver. Lawrence is only 6'2, but he's our tallest wide out right now, and I love that on deep routes. Zeke Markshausen showed us last year that height doesn't matter on the dink-and-dunks, but I can see Lawrence being a potential target to spread the field with.
  • Mike Trumpy. Touchdown scorer.
  • A lot of debate about the field goal kicking stuff. I'm not sure if it's Stefan Demos, I'm not sure if it's Pat Hickey (the long snapper) or Brandon Williams (our punter - who has done a fantastic job punting, by the way - who is holding for Demos). But whoever it is, get it right. Last week our offensive line let guys get through the line and block a kick. We've screwed up two PAT opportunities. Figure this out. Field goals are one of the few things that can be practiced in a vacuum: you don't need a live defense to work on it. You can practice long snapping and holding and then kicking that hold all day. Find the guys on our team who can do these three things the best and make sure they can do them with enough regularity that we don't miss 20 percent of our PAT's. You can do this.
  • Love them new unis. That deep purple with the black pants is great - I'm sure the purple was a little bit darker than normal because of the rain, but, still. I'm a fan.