Every Sunday after a Northwestern win or loss, we'll be handing out player grades as a way to analyze the Wildcats' performance from an individual perspective. Rather than rush out the grades on Saturday, we'll sleep on them, and wake up Sunday ready to accurately evaluate NU's players, coaches and opponents.
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Northwestern got the job done for the third game in a row, and the Wildcats should have some newfound confidence defensively after holding Indiana to just 14 points.
Clayton Thorson: B+
24 of 43, 285 yards, 3 TDs, 2 sacks; 8 carries, 34 yards
Thorson played A football in the first half, but his second half was a major struggle. He missed on several easy throws and generally looked like the quarterback he was last year. Still, his stat line was really good (save for the completion percentage) and he once again avoided turnovers. His A first half holds more weight than his C- second half because NU was able to pull out the win.
Justin Jackson: B
28 carries, 94 yards; 5 receptions, 34 yards
Jackson didn’t find quite the room he had the past two games, so his numbers aren’t that great, but he was solid overall and very good in the first quarter. He still makes yards out of nothing, but he simply didn’t have enough room often enough to have a huge impact for the majority of the game. It was nice to see him so involved in the passing game.
Austin Carr: A
7 receptions, 125 yards, 1 TD
This guy is just incredible. He had his first drop of the season, but he’s still fantastic. He’s great on third down. He’s great on first down. He’s just great. He has a touchdown reception in six straight games.
Flynn Nagel: B
Nagel was solid as Northwestern’s second option once again, as evidenced by his career-high six receptions. He had one drop on what would have been a tough back shoulder catch on the sideline, but he also had a couple really good catches and was solid in the return game once again.
Offensive line: C
It was an up-and-down performance from the guys up front. The group was very good early, but the play slowly declined as the game progressed. It didn’t help that blocking extraordinaire superback Garrett Dickerson didn’t play, and Brad North was banged up as well.
Anthony Walker Jr.: A-
11 total tackles, 2 TFL
This was the Anthony Walker Jr. of 2015. He was all over the place, blowing up plays in the backfield and chasing down Devine Redding. He’s clearly a different player than what he was early in the year.
The numbers don’t look too bad considering how many times Indiana threw the ball, and Montre Hartage had an amazing pick, but this is a position that is really in need. Alonzo Mayo left early, leaving Marcus McShepard and Hartage as the only two healthy scholarship cornerbacks that were on the team last year. Richard Lagow missed a lot of throws, throws that better quarterbacks will take advantage of. But still, considering how this team is absolutely scrambling at the position, the CBs managed to string together a viable performance.
Godwin Igwebuike: A-
Igwebuike was all over the field coming up with several huge tackles on third and fourth downs. He’s holding this young secondary together and playing a bunch of different roles. He lined up in his customary safety position as well as outside and inside corner.