The wait for Northwestern football was well worth it after watching the Wildcats’ demolished Maryland 43-3 in their home opener.
A touchdown from QB Peyton Ramsey on the first drive of the game almost seemed too good to be true, but then the offense put up 30 points in the first half. The high score felt unreal compared to the offensive struggle the team faced last season.
Any viewer who watched the game on Saturday night saw that the Wildcats are a team of new faces, new play calling and newfound confidence.
“This was a rebirthing,” sophomore running back Drake Anderson said. “Our offense was able to come together...everyone was flying around.”
The diversity shown in players who scored on Saturday night is promising for what Northwestern has to look forward to this season, as four players rushed for a touchdown and the offense tallied up an impressive 537 yards. If the Wildcats can continue to see dominant performances from running backs Isaiah Bowser, Drake Anderson, Evan Hull and Cam Porter like they did in game one, the unit will be one that no team wants to face.
Despite Northwestern’s lack of experience on defense, and having to fill the last second hole at cornerback due to Greg Newsome’s recent inactive status, the defense lived up to the legacy it had in prior seasons as being one of the toughest in the Big Ten by holding Maryland to only 3 points.
Players spoke all week about how they would combat the lack of fans by bringing their own juice to the game, and it was clear AJ Hampton and JR Pace came ready to play when they stopped back-to-back drives from Maryland with interceptions.
With the momentum in Northwestern’s hands the entire game, the Wildcats hope to hold on to the same energy going into Week 2 when they’ll go on the road to face the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Expectations were high for Iowa entering the season, but they dropped their home opener against rival Purdue. Iowa may have had a total of 460 offensive yards but only produced 20 points and showed weaknesses in their first outing by being penalized 10 times for 100 yards.
Fitz, however, would not let anyone forget how talented Iowa is during Monday’s press conference.
“Iowa’s defense is outstanding fundamentally and very consistent,” he said. “The front seven is normally one of the best in the country.”
Is it too bold to say the Wildcats have the upper hand going into this Saturday’s game? Well, only time will tell, but until then, NU will hold on tight to the momentum from Week 1 as long as it can.