Four of Northwestern’s key players were injured during the season-opening loss against Stanford. Add it to the long list of things that went wrong for the ‘Cats this past Saturday.
None of the four returned to the game, although some of the injuries appeared to be more serious than others based on the initial reports we’ve gotten since the game.
Here’s a brief update on the status of all four players:
LT - Rashawn Slater
One of Northwestern’s best lineman went down in the fourth quarter with what we later learned to be cramping. Fitz said after the game that he expects Slater to be perfectly fine moving forward, but his absence was certainly felt down the stretch. With Northwestern driving down three points after a Stanford turnover late in the fourth quarter, Slater’s replacement committed a critical penalty that halted the team’s drive.
By the way, Rashawn Slater is not on the field. His replacement,— Inside NU (@insidenu) August 31, 2019
Ethan Wiederkehr, just committed a holding penalty.
CB - Trae Williams
The senior captain was the first of the four to leave the game. We have not heard word on him since Saturday, but it was reported that he was in a boot before the game even ended after being carted off the field in the first half. Williams is an important leader in the secondary, and his replacement A.J. Hampton struggled mightily, missing tackles left and right as he was forced into a bigger role.
Boot for Trae Williams. Things have to stop getting worse at some point, right?— Inside NU (@insidenu) August 31, 2019
Williams has struggled with injuries throughout his entire career, and the NU secondary just cannot seem to stay healthy no matter what year it is. Hopefully, the bye week will be ample time for Williams to heal, but if not, expect Cam Ruiz and Rod Campbell to be looking at potentially bigger roles moving forward given Hampton’s struggles against Stanford.
RB - Isaiah Bowser
The starting running back’s injury seemed to come at the time when he was just settling into his groove against the Cardinal. Bowser suffered a lower body injury in the third quarter and did walk off the field, but it is still unclear how soon he will be able to return to action. Fitz didn’t have anything for us after the game. Bowser still led NU in rushing with 54 yards in 10 carries.
As Northwestern’s No. 1 running back, Bowser leaves big shoes to fill if he is out for long. Jesse Brown showed some promise in the passing game, but no other running back that saw carries for Northwestern was able to generate any kind of production on the ground.
QB - T.J. Green
Unfortunately, the one player with the smallest chance of coming back is redshirt senior quarterback TJ Green. The former walk-on will be sidelined indefinitely and could be out for the year, ESPN reports, after he suffered a foot injury that required surgery after the game. If he does miss all of 2019, he would almost certainly be eligible for a medical redshirt (h/t Cam Queiro).
Green was injured in the red zone during the third quarter of the game after taking an ill-advised sack and fumbling as NU was driving to open the second half. He threw for 62 yards on 6-for-10 throwing in limited action beforehand, and looked to be the more effective of NU’s two QBs on Saturday.
Wide receiver Bennett Skowronek commented on Green’s injury during Northwestern’s postgame press conference.
“I called him right after I found out. We were in tears, I know how hard he worked to get where he was. My heart breaks for him, how hard he’s worked and everything he’s done. I know he’s going to fight through this and come back. That’s all really, I’m heartbroken,” Skowronek said.
- It should also be noted that Trey Pugh was left off last week’s two-deep and did not appear to be suited up on the sidelines in Palo Alto. We should get more official word about Pugh, and all of these injuries, from head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s next press conference