Wildcats Playing the Favorite Role

Northwestern has been preparing to knock off teams that are more respected than the Wildcats, but against the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday the Wildcats will be the favorites, an unfamiliar role to them.

To prepare for last week's upset win at Michigan State, Northwestern's players got together and watched "Rocky."

But if the Wildcats plan to keep checking out boxing movies the night before games, as senior center Trevor Rees indicated in the Daily Herald, then they might want to pick a different style of boxing flick this week.

With struggling Minnesota coming to town for Homecoming, Northwestern stands as the favorite for the first time in four weeks. Do they make boxing movies about a favorite simply and cleanly taking care of business?

More than likely, the Wildcats can maintain their underdog motif simply by reminding themselves that they're not close to their preseason goals. With eight Big Ten teams at least two games over .500 at the midseason point, the 3-3 Wildcats probably need to go 4-2 the rest of the way in order to assure themselves a bowl berth.

With trips to Purdue and Illinois on the docket, as well as a visit from red-hot Indiana, the Wildcats probably need to consider this week a must-win.

But if the Wildcats' offensive line continues to play as well as it did against Michigan State, perhaps the team can win any, and all, of its remaining games. What changed, Mr. Rees?

"A lot of us were worried about not messing up, playing tentatively, just trying to get our assignments accomplished," Rees said in the Daily Herald. "[The coaches] came to us and were saying, ‘Let loose. Stop playing in fear of messing up. Play a little more wild, a little more aggressively.'"


  • Junior QB C.J. Bacher earned his first Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award and put himself into contention for National Player of the Week honors after shredding Michigan State for 520 yards and five touchdowns. The former number set a Northwestern record and ranked fifth on the Big Ten's all-time list. The latter number tied the NU record.

  • Senior MLB Adam Kadela probably doesn't have the measurables that NFL teams want, but he has the smarts and the skill to be Northwestern's leading tackler. Kadela averages 9.2 tackles per game, which is good for a share of fourth place on the Big Ten's tackles list.

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