Fun fact: I know almost nothing about football. I've never played it at any organized level. I was never an appointment-viewing fan of any football team before becoming a Northwestern fan, and since becoming a Northwestern fan, I have been hammered nearly every time watching my team play, so my recollections and observations are hazy and often incorrect.
However, I am the smartest man to grace this earth, so even my puny smidgen of football knowledge dwarves the vast expanses of brain space some football experts have. My genius shines on this website, and this weekend's game against Cal was a prime example.
I think a key player for NU is Collin Ellis. He's fresh of winning his strong-side starting gig, and Cal will be running right at him. Fitz did say that NU would be using its linebacker depth against Cal due to the up-tempo thing, but I think Ellis is going to be tasked with bringing down Bigelow or shedding a block to reach him quite a few times, and his performance in his first start in a couple of years is essential.
Is it intellectually dishonest for me to go TOLDYASO, considering the reason I mentioned him is not that I was predicting an enormous game for him, but rather was indicating I felt that his position would be important and his performance, good or bad, would trigger Northwestern's success/failure?
Yes, it is. But intellectual honesty is for suckers. I am a genius. I am so smart.
But anyway, let us talk about Collin Ellis. He makes the highlight and was the player of the game in part because of luck. Much like how Chi Chi Ariguzo lucked his way into a randomly deflected pick and a fumble that Syracuse just kinda forgot was there in his first start at SAM linebacker last year, Ellis had two balls randomly bounce his way, one off a tip at the line of scrimmage and one off a Cal receivers hands, and he ran them both in for touchdowns. Those 14 points would provide the margin of victory.
And, yes, when somebody has two interception returns for touchdowns, you highlight their game. Three pick-sixes in a game has only been done once in college -- Houston's Johnnie Jackson in 1987 -- and nobody has ever had more than six in a career. No defensive player on Northwestern's roster had ever housed a snag, and only Ariguzo had scored a defensive touchdown. Now, Ellis has two scores to his name.
Ellis ended up as the Big Ten defensive player of the week AND the Nagurski Award player of the week, earning him a spot on the watch list for the award for the best defensive player in the country. Somebody even voted Collin Ellis 4 Heisman!
But he had a much bigger game than freak tips. Extra L actually did do a spectacular job at and around the line of scrimmage, stepping up to make big plays. Look at him sticking Brendan Bigelow in the picture at the top of the post! He had three passes defended -- not sure if that includes the picks, to be honest -- and two huge hits on Brendan Bigelow, one to make a screen an incompletion and one tackle for loss. He was capable of staying with a real fast dude in coverage and laying the wood when it needed to be laid. Just look at how many times he features in Gloppy's highlight reel!
Crazy thinking that we were just wondering if he'd even get the starting gig last week, and now he has more touchdowns on the year than Kain Colter and Venric Mark combined. It was an incredible return to a starting role from him, and the fortuitous bounces just served to highlight that.
Praise be to Collin Ellis. He had more big plays this week than he has L's in his name, and we look forward to a fruitful season of him being the third linebacker in a group we already knew had two talented players.
Ahh, but back to horn-tooting.Let's look at this, too:
Northwestern 42, Cal, 31
Final score: 44-30. WOOHOO I'M THE BEST
More from Sippin' On Purple:
- From the Stands: Northwestern 44, Cal 30
- Northwestern Wildcats vs. Cal Golden Bears game thread
- No. 22 Northwestern vs. Cal: Game info, how to watch, TV, preview, and more
- Friday Sips, Gameday Eve
- Northwestern vs. Cal 2013: Preview roundtable for No. 22 Wildcats-Golden Bears
- I did something dumb about the fact that Northwestern is ranked 22