In another tight affair versus the Cornhuskers, Northwestern came away victorious despite some first-half woes. Here is this week’s stock report from the Wildcats’ 21-13 win over Nebraska.
After a quiet game last weekend in a win versus Iowa, Anderson was the lead back this week with Isaiah Bowser sidelined, and he delivered big time. On the ‘Cats first drive of the game, Anderson made his presence felt by scampering in for a 41-yard rushing touchdown. Northwestern continued a healthy dose of runs, and Anderson finished with 18 carries for 89 yards and a score. The Doak Walker Award-watchlist member is certainly a player to look out for as the Wildcats take on Purdue next week.
Second half Peyton Ramsey
Ramsey threw for just 51 yards and two interceptions in the first half, but he bounced back in a big way. He led two touchdown drives in the second half and was much more accurate than in the first. The signal caller connected on 10-of-14 of his second-half attempts for 118 yards, two touchdowns and rushed for 26 more. After converting just 2-of-8 third downs in the first half, the Wildcats improved to 5-of-8, all of which came from Ramsey’s arm or legs, including two in the fourth-quarter.
The bend-don’t-break mentality
Northwestern’s defense struggled to stop Nebraska’s dual-threat quarterbacks, but the Wildcats’ bend-don’t-break style of football was nothing short of beautiful. NU held Nebraska to three field goal attempts in the first half, one of which they missed, and the Cornhuskers’ only touchdown came after an interception set them up at the three-yard line.
To top it all off, interceptions from Brandon Joseph and Chris Bergin bailed their team out when Huskers were poised to score. While the defense was far from perfect and faced some tackling issues, it got the job done against a challenging offense to contain.
Honorable mentions: Winning the field position battle, special teams, the crowd, John Raine, linebackers
Containing the QB run
We knew coming into the game that Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey could threaten the ‘Cats with their legs, but Northwestern’s containment of the Cornhuskers’ QB duo seemed to be nonexistent. Martinez finished the game with 13 carries for 102 yards while McCaffrey, after taking over for Martinez in the fourth quarter, scampered for 49 yards on eight carries. McCaffrey even managed to almost pick up a first down with his legs on third-and-30. Nebraska’s signal callers are not Spencer Petras, and the Wildcats learned that the hard way.
Penalties and officiating (but mainly officiating)
Today’s game was sloppy for both teams. Nebraska finished the game with nine penalties for 55 yards while Northwestern racked up an uncharacteristic eight penalties for 64 yards. However, several penalties seemed unwarranted. Greg Newsome had a few tight calls go against him, while JR Pace had a rough pass interference call prior to Chris Bergin’s goal-line interception late in the fourth. NU has some mistakes to clean up, but some of the officiating was questionable.
This may be a bit of an unfair stock down, but Kuhbander’s first missed field goal of the season came in the first quarter when he pushed a 42-yarder wide right. The missed kick handed Nebraska a lot of momentum, as the Cornhuskers went on to score the next 13 points and take a halftime lead. Regardless of the game’s outcome, Kuhbander’s miss had the potential to flip this game on its head.
Honorable Mentions: Calling the election 30 minutes before kickoff; first half performance; tackling, tackling and more tackling