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Halftime Notes: Northwestern 14, Western Illinois 7

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Northwestern holds a touchdown lead over Western Illinois heading into the half. Here are some quick notes on the first 30 minutes.

David Banks

-Northwestern had no trouble moving the ball on the opening drive of the game. Treyvon Green had rushes of 7 and 25 yards, and Trevor Siemian connected with Kyle Prater for 15 yards on a 3rd-and-6 at the WIU 30. Solomon Vault finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

-Western Illinois marched right back down the field for a touchdown on their first possession. They started the drive on their own 40 after a short kick and 28-yard return by Hi-C Scott.

-Outside a couple nice returns from Scott, special teams was solid. Chris Gradone averaged 46.7 yards per punt and had a 55-yard bomb which pinned WIU at its own 11.

-Keith Watkins blocked and recovered a punt late in the first quarter, setting the 'Cats up on the WIU 4 yard line. But then...

-Siemian was sacked, resulting in a costly fumble on 3rd-and-goal from the 6. WIU recovered and NU lost the best field position it should see all day.

-WIU quarterback Trenton Norvell made an outstanding play near the end of 1st quarter. He picked up a botched snap on 3rd-and-6 and threw a perfect ball to Lance Lenoir who tip-toed inbounds for 11 yards and a first down.

-Ifeadi Odenigbo got the trifecta early in the 2nd quarter, sacking Norvell, forcing a fumble and recovering the fumble at the WIU 17. This time NU would make the most of the turnover. Soloman Vault found pay dirt on an 11-yard rush, putting the 'Cats up 14-7.

-On the final play of the first half, Max Chapman blocked a WIU field goal attempt, holding the score at 14-7.

-Ibraheim Campbell suffered a lower body injury. His return is questionable. Godwin Igwebuike has filled in at safety alongside Traveon Henry, and Miles Shuler is returning punts. The secondary still doesn't look great, but Nick VanHoose made several big pass break-ups.

-Siemian refuses to take chances with the football. He consistently checked down on third-and-long, leaving NU nowhere near the first down marker.

-Justin Jackson are Treyvon Green are seeing the majority of carries out of the backfield, but Solomon Vault had both of NU's scores in the first half.

-The weather has been fine so far, with the exception of 15 mph winds out of the west, and it looks like storms should hold off until the end of the game.

-By our count, only two freshmen fell to the turf during the Wildcat dash, if you were wondering.