Each week at InsideNU, we'll have a couple preview/prediction features, including picks from a number of people who cover or blog about Northwestern football. Check out the picks from week one.
Colin Becht, The Daily Northwestern — Northwestern 34, Syracuse 31: Everyone here seems like NU to pull out a tight game, which I think as a whole certainly overvalues the Wildcats. However, I won’t be a contrarian just for the sake of having one, so I’ll go with my gut and say NU pulls out a close one. The matchup plays to both offenses strengths -- Kain Colter’s dual-threat ability and Syracuse’s consistent passing attack -- leading to a back-and-forth affair. NU falls behind early as the Cats settle for two red-zone field goals while Ryan Nassib connects on a pair of touchdowns to Marcus Sales and Alec Lemon, exploiting a weak and raw NU secondary. NU recognizes its best goal line play isn’t to try to pound it in but rather to keep the ball in Colter’s hands and let him make plays. Now scoring touchdowns instead of field goals, the Cats come back, pulling ahead on a gutsy third-and-goal bootleg by Colter with just under two minutes remaining. Much like last season’s opener, the game ends when NU takes advantage of Justin Pugh’s absence and Tyler Scott gets a sack, causing time to expire.
Rohan Nadkarni, The Daily Northwestern — Northwestern 31, Syracuse 24: The NU defense makes enough stops for the Cats to secure a comfortable victory. Kain Colter gives Syracuse problems on the ground and in the air, connecting with many of NU’s talented receivers in the process.
Jonathan Hodges, Hail to Purple — Northwestern 35 - Syracuse 24: Expect a higher scoring affair with Northwestern able to outscore the Orange thanks to their more established offense and slew of skill position weapons. Although the defense will take its lumps, it will show positive flashes that will help propel the 'Cats to victory.
Jay Sharman, Lake The Posts — Northwestern 37, Syracuse 35: This back and forth affair will come down to the final possession. The Cats go to Kyle Prater for his first catch on third-and-8 inside the 10 and the “D” holds with less than 30 seconds to go. Colter and Mark put up 200+ yards rushing on the day and the NU “D” gets picked apart by Nassib.