Northwestern looks to get back on track against a non-FBS team on homecoming when the Wildcats welcome in the Howard Bison. Our staff writers are confident in the Wildcats to even their record and reach .500 entering the team’s bye week.
Iggy Dowling: Northwestern 34, Howard 10
If Ben Bryant can’t go, it might be a little closer, but Northwestern should be able to move the ball easily against the Bison considering how the ‘Cats fared against UTEP.
Bradley Locker: Northwestern 31, Howard 12
Northwestern has already exorcised its demons against non-FBS teams, and that continues against the Bison. As long as the Wildcats can avoid turnovers — which they’ve done well through five games, totaling only five — they should have a considerable talent advantage in the line scrimmage in both directions. A cleaner pocket for Ben Bryant/Brendan Sullivan should translate to offensive rhythm, and even a strong day for Cam Porter, while I expect Northwestern’s defensive line to post better pressure and sack numbers against Howard’s OL.
David Gold: Northwestern 45, Howard 21
For the first time since 2020, the Wildcats will break the 40-point mark against the Bisons. After getting demolished by the Nittany Lions last week, I believe that NU’s O-line will come out with a vengeance, and against inferior talent, move Howard off the line of scrimmage. Expect Cam Porter to have his first 100-yard rushing performance since 2020, making it an easy day for whoever is under center for the ‘Cats. Howard’s offense should be able to get some points on the board, but I think Northwestern will cruise to a homecoming victory.
Ethan Segall: Northwestern 38, Howard 14
On alumni weekend, Northwestern should enjoy one of its greatest home-field advantages of the season. Ryan Field should be packed with alumni eager to see a win in the historical venue the Wildcats may bid adieu after this season. If the offense is able to avoid turning the ball over, they should be able to control the flow of the game. I fully expect the ‘Cats to move to .500 going into the bye week on the back of a strong performance from Cam Porter and the run game.
Natalie Wells: Northwestern 27, Howard 13
I see the ‘Cats getting back to .500 with a convincing victory over the Bison. NU dominated FBS bottom-feeder UTEP in Week Two, so they shouldn’t have too much of an issue against a 2-2 FCS team. Whoever starts at quarterback should fare well against a Howard defense with just four sacks on the season. Look for the purple-and-white to get right on homecoming weekend.
Ascher Levin: Northwestern 35, Howard 7
Following a loss against Penn State, I’m still encouraged about the team. Northwestern was tied with sixth-ranked Penn State going into halftime, and the game was closer than the final score indicated. This week, the Wildcats are taking on Howard, an FCS team. Northwestern has the opportunity to build confidence by improving its running game and run defense. The Wildcats didn’t have much of a run game versus Penn State, only gaining 45 yards on 32 carries. While Howard has played its opponents close all year, it hasn’t played any team at the level of Northwestern, and the Wildcats will go 3-3 heading into their bye.
Patrick Winograd: Northwestern 35, Howard 14
Northwestern shouldn’t have any trouble with Howard, and I am not predicting that the ‘Cats will either. I think the Wildcats (regardless of which quarterback starts) will pick up a comfortable win against Howard to get back to .500 before a bye week and the remainder of the Big Ten slate.
Ashleigh Provoost: Northwestern 35, Howard 10
The Wildcats have managed to give me enough confidence in these past five weeks to make me think the team will have a comfortable 2-0 in the non-conference season this year. Yes, last year’s non-conference play didn’t exactly bode well, but the ‘Cats have proved themselves. I don’t think they should encounter too much of a challenge this week.
Noah Poser: Northwestern 38, Howard 10
Howard has played one FBS team this season. It was Eastern Michigan. The Bison put up a fight in that game but ultimately lost 33-23. They also lost to Hampton, a fellow FCS team. Like with UTEP a few weeks ago, Northwestern is easily the best opponent Howard has played this season. It’s also homecoming and alumni weekend for the Wildcats, so the home crowd should be more active than usual. The Bison have a good quarterback in senior Quinton Williams, but it won’t be enough to save them. Northwestern wins big.
Adam Beck: Northwestern 30, Howard 23
This game is going to be a lot closer than anybody in purple would like. Howard’s offense has weapons and more importantly a solid rushing attack — something Northwestern’s had no answers for all season long. The Bison will grab an early 10-3 lead, but the ‘Cats will claw back with Ben Bryant tossing two touchdowns and Cam Porter rushing for another.
Brendan Preisman: Northwestern
4-1: Bradley Locker, Natalie Wells
4-0: Noah Poser
3-2: Iggy Dowling, David Gold, John Olsen, Ascher Levin
3-1: Brendan Preisman
3-0: Patrick Winograd
2-2: Ethan Segall, Ashleigh Provoost
2-0: Sammy Krimstein
1-2: Adam Beck
1-0: Jeremy Song
0-2: John Ferrara