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NU vs. Maine: Halftime Thoughts

Halftime thoughts on NU's 14-0 lead over Maine.

- The defensive tackles struggled once again to start the game. Things got better as the half went on, but Maine had a lot of room to run up the middle, and even though Northwestern is without Sean McEvilly, Chance Carter, Will Hampton and the other DTs have to do better. If this happens against Ohio State (or other Big Ten teams, for that matter), NU will struggle. The pass rush also wasn't at its best, but given the previous performances this season, that seems like more of an anomaly.

- The linebackers are one of NU's best units, but they've really struggled. NU wanted to bring pressure, but the linebackers got too sucked in helping out that they left some receivers open in the middle of the field. Even in coverage, they had some breakdowns. Not a banner day for Damien Proby, but he did have a pick six. Drew Smith has been the best linebacker so far, creating a lot of pressure against the pass.

- The offense got off to a really nice start, and the offensive line has been better than it was before (for some reason, teams keep trying to blitz — and failing at it — against NU). However, Kain Colter had a few bad overthrows, as did Trevor Siemian after a strong start.

- NU is really struggling against play-action and screens. The Wildcats have come close to blowing up a couple screen plays, but they haven't quite gotten to them. The NU linebackers, as we mentioned earlier, have bitten on play-action far too often because they're needed to help with run support.

- Maine's field goal kicker is really bad (one blocked FG, another missed one).

- Maine leads in time of possession, 18:54 to 11:06.