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Northwestern vs. Wisconsin predictions

Can the Cats pull off the upset? Guest picker Louise McCulloch thinks so.

Courtesy of Louise McCulloch

Guest picker Danny Katz did well two weeks ago, predicting an 18-point Northwestern victory over Bowling Green. We’re continuing the New Trier trend this week with women’s golfer Louise McCulloch, who is tasked with predicting one of the Wildcats’ biggest games of the season. Along with a few of our writers, she’s optimistic Northwestern can pull off the upset. As always, make your predictions in the comments below.

Louise McCulloch: Northwestern 27, Wisconsin 17

Northwestern’s team is well rounded and had a week to prepare for this weekend’s game. The ‘Cats will hold nothing back and defeat the Badgers on their home turf in Madison.

Will Ragatz: Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 24

Northwestern will keep this game close. With two weeks to prepare, the Wildcats will come out and establish Justin Jackson early in a competitive first half. Clayton Thorson will make some plays and show why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, but ultimately, Wisconsin has too much offense for a banged up, inexperienced Northwestern defense that has struggled to generate much of a pass rush. Alex Hornibook throws for a couple touchdowns in the second half as the Badgers pull away at home.

Davis Rich: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 13

This is a Wisconsin team that looks like it belongs in the top ten. This is a Northwestern team that probably belongs in the top forty. The Badgers are going to run the ball often to shorten the game, and if that doesn’t work, they have one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. If Northwestern doesn’t create disruption and force turnovers, it’s going to be a long game for the short-handed defense. On the other side of the ball, Northwestern will need the Bowling Green version of Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson to generate offense against a Badger defense allowing only ten points per game.

Noah Coffman: Northwestern 26, Wisconsin 24

What can I say? I’m an idealistic freshman. I think the Wildcats can get pressure on Alex Hornibrook, even if that involves a good number of blitzes. With pressure and penetration comes turnovers, and if their turnover margin is positive, Northwestern’s defense will put Clayton Thorson and the offense in position to win the game. A couple of things will have to break right, but with motivated seniors on both sides of the ball and a bye week giving them a chance to get some rest, Northwestern will be able to pull off the massive upset.

Josh Burton: Wisconsin 30, Northwestern 20

The Wildcats took a major step forward last weekend, even if it was just a win over Bowling Green. Wisconsin has crushed every team it has played so far and with good reason, mostly because Alex Hornibrook has taken a major step forward in his first season as the full-time starter. Quarterback play held the Badgers back last year, but now it’s a major strength. Northwestern can compete with a solid all-around team like Wisconsin but isn’t good enough to get over the hump.

Caleb Friedman: Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 17

I see this one being pretty straightforward. Northwestern just isn’t as good as Wisconsin is on the lines, which doesnt bode well for Pat Fitzgerald’s club. I see the Badgers running wild in Madison, and, while the Wildcats will turn in a respectable outing, it wont be all that close.

Tristan Jung: Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 17

The Wildcats will find a way. I don’t know how, but they will. This is extremely wishful thinking.

Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 21

There’s a little magic left in Madison for the Wildcats. Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers’ myriad running backs run wild on a Northwestern defense that has struggled defending the run, but Alex Hornibrook falters against a somewhat healthy secondary, the best he has seen all season. After throwing just one incompletion against BYU, the Wildcats pick off the talented lefty twice. Justin Jackson breaks the all-time rushing record and adds a touchdown. But the player of the game? That’s true freshman Charlie Kuhbander, who hits a 32-yard field goal as time expires to stun the Badgers and give Northwestern command of the Big Ten West, at least for now.

You were asking what I want to happen, no?

Zach Pereles: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 13

This is going to be similar to the 21-7 barnburner last year. Northwestern will have moderate success moving the ball, but too many mistakes will end a lot of promising drives prematurely. Eventually Wisconsin wears down both of Northwestern’s lines and pulls away for a comfortable — but not spread-covering (14 1/2!!!) — win.

Ian McCafferty: Wisconsin 42, Northwestern 17

BONUS GUEST PICKER: Former Inside NU writer Ben Goren: Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 7

While we’d like to be optimistic, Northwestern has one healthy cornerback and hasn’t stopped the run well this season. Northwestern may keep it close in the first quarter or half, but will get worn down by Wisconsin’s offensive line. The offense won’t keep up enough production to keep the defense off the field.

Talia Hendel: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 21

I haven’t lost faith in this team, but a Top 10 opponent is tough as it is, particularly with a quarterback who went 18-19 on pass completions last game. Even if the Northwestern secondary finds its rhythm, those are difficult numbers to compete with.