This is the game Northwestern can't lose. Falling to Cal was bad and coming up short against Northern Illinois was rough, but neither of those matchups was viewed as a prospective cakewalk for the Wildcats. This is. NU should dominate Western Illinois, an FCS team that went 4-8 last season.
A close game - or, obviously, a loss - would amount to more evidence to that the notion that Wildcats' season has already fallen off the rails. A convincing win, in which the offense plays well and the defense dominates, would offer some hope heading into next week's Big Ten opener at Penn State.
Here's what you need to know about the matchup.
Game time: 12 p.m. E.T., ESPNEWS
Live stream: WatchESPN
- Our predictions for the game. Nate Williams does not think it will be close.
- Nate gives you three areas to watch in the game.
- Here's why, according to Rodger Sherman, Northwestern will probably beat Western Illinois.
- "We just want to be cool" - a quote from Pat Fitzgerald at this meeting with the media.
- Check out the white helmets Northwestern will be wearing.
- If you thought Northwestern's offense was bad, you're right.
- The three things you need to know heading into this game.
- There is a player on Western Illinois named Hi-C Scott.
- Look, Northwestern hasn't looked good so far, but the rest of the Big Ten is bad, too. So maybe the Wildcats will win a few games?