Northwestern Preview

The Big Ten entrants, hailing from Evanston, Illinois, make the return trip to Tempe in the home and home series with the Sun Devils this Saturday night. Randy Walker's club will be looking to avenge a 30-21 loss to ASU in 2004. The scoreboard should be lit up in a few days as both schools come in with explosive offenses.


2005 Record: 2-0
Head Coach: Randy Walker (7th season)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Dunbar (5th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Colby (4th season)


*Projected Starters

WR Jonathan Fields (Sr)
WR Mark Philmore (Sr)
QB Brett Basanez (Sr) RB Tyrell Sutton (True Fr)
LT Dylan Thiry (So)
LG Joe Tripodi (Jr)
C Austin Matthews (So)
RG Ryan Keenan (Jr)
RT Zach Strief (Sr)
TE Frayne Abernathy (So)
WR Kim Thompson (So)

The strength of the Wildcat offense lies in the backfield with the early emergence of a true freshman running back, Tyrell Sutton. His 214 yard performance last week against Northern Illinois prompted the conference to name him the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Week. The former Mr. Football winner in the state of Ohio already has 6 touchdowns in two games. The depth at running back is a bit spotty due to injuries but redshirt freshman Gerard Hamlett has the most carries, 14, in back-up duty to Sutton.

The yin to Sutton's yang comes in the form of senior quarterback Brett Basanez. With Northwestern's spread attack, it can be difficult at times for defenses to spy the mobile quarterback. Basanez is the second leading rusher for Northwestern with 68 yards on 18 QB keepers. However, the senior can throw the ball well too--he's already amassed 573 yards in the air. Basanez is 48 of 69 and two scores in the air. The offensive line blocking up front for the senior signal-caller is led by the lone starter left from '04, senior All-American candidate Zach Strief at right tackle.

Northwestern features two senior targets Basanez can look to in the passing game, Mark Philmore and Jonathan Fields. Both have combined for 16 catches and 124 yards in the Wildcats' first two contests. Philmore was the number one receiver coming into the year but has been slowed by an injury. Junior Shaun Herbert has emerged from the group and is the only receiver to see the end zone so far this season on his two scores. Herbert is averaging 83 yards per game thus far. 6'4" sophomore Kim Thompson has looked good but an injury has prevented him from adding more than 5 catches to his 2005 resume. Redshirt freshman Ross Lane is another solid option for Basanez in the air.


*Projected Starters

DE Kevin Mims (Fr)
DT Barry Cofield (Sr)
DT Trevor Schultz (Jr)
DE Corey Wootton (True Fr)
LB Nick Roach (Jr)
LB Tim McGarigle (Sr)
LB Adam Kadela (Jr)
CB Marquice Cole (Jr)
S Reggie McPherson (So)
S Frederic Tarver (Sr)
CB Deante Battle (So)

Northwestern's defense gave up 245 rushing yards last week to Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe. Plugging the holes up front for the Wildcats is tackle Barry Cofield. The senior is an active anchor of the line with 10 tackles, 1 pass break-up, 1 fumble recovery, and half a sack. Flanking him on the interior is junior Trevor Schultz. The ends are short on experience and susceptible to giving up big gains on the outside. Freshmen Kevin Mims and Corey Wootton have combined for 7 tackles. Sophomores Mark Koehn and David Ngene are also in the rotation at the two defensive end spots. Tim McGarigle is the ubiquitous leader of the entire defense at middle linebacker. McGarigle is the nation's top returning tackler with 151 stops last season. The senior appears to be headed for another fine season with 26 tackles already, two of those were for a loss. Junior Adam Kadela returns on the outside this season after a knee injury in 2004. Kadela has teamed with Nick Roach, also a junior, for 20 tackles and 1 sack. Others in the linebacker rotation include sophomore Eddie Simpson, junior Demetrious Eaton, and true freshman Malcolm Arrington. Speedy cornerback Marquice Cole and safety Frederic Tarver lead the Wildcat secondary. Cole, a junior, is the second leading tackler on the team with 16 tackles and 1 interception. Tarver is the lone senior starter in the secondary, chipping in 9 tackles and another interception to the group. Sophomores Reggie McPherson and Deante Battle round out the defensive backfield at safety and corner, respectively. Both have 8 stops each this season. Senior Herschel Henderson can play both safety and corner but has been bitten by the injury bug. Underclassmen Ben Rothrauff and Brendan Smith have been in the rotation at DB to fill depth.


P Ryan Pederson (Sr)
K Joel Howells (Jr)
PR Marquice Cole (Jr)
KR Gerard Hamlett (Fr)

Junior Joel Howells has been inconsistent in field goal kicking in the young season. Howells is 2 of 5 and his longest successful kick came from 33 yards out. The junior is 0 of 2 in attempts of 40 yards or longer and has had one kick blocked. Punter Ryan Pederson has placed 2 of his 5 punts inside the 20. The senior is averaging 44 yards on his punts this year, with the longest going for 51 yards.

The team's fastest player, corner Marquice Cole, has already scored on an 81 yard punt return. Cole has 154 yards total on his 6 returns. The other punt return option for the Wildcats is receiver Mark Philmore. Running backs Gerard Hamlett and Omar Conteh handle the kick returns. Hamlett has returned 7 kicks for 130 yards, an 18.6 yard average, while Conteh has one return for 5 yards.

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