Wildcats' Drama Becoming Common

Northwestern's wild comeback against the Minnesota Gophers was the Wildcats' second straight nail-biter that they pulled out.

Just in case any Northwestern fans missed their team's amazing overtime victory at Michigan State last week — fueled by a superhuman performance by quarterback C.J. Bacher — the Wildcats repeated it in a 49-48 Homecoming win over Minnesota at Ryan Field.

Oh, the script was slightly flipped — this time Northwestern had to make the huge comeback to force overtime instead of allowing the other team to rally — but there was still overtime and there was still an unbelievable performance by Bacher.

Though the redshirt junior fell a little bit short of his 520-yard, five-touchdown output against Michigan State (he settled for 470 yards and four scores through the air), he produced new career highs in completions (41) and attempts (58).

He threw for two scores and ran for a third as the Wildcats rallied from a 35-14 deficit in the game's final 16 minutes and 33 seconds to force overtime.

"We're really built on responding," Bacher said in the Daily Herald. "We're learning how to finish more and more each week."

If there's a downside to winning such amazing games, it's the simple fact that such heroics are required.

Northwestern's defense, though it stopped Minnesota's two-point conversion in the second overtime, surrendered touchdowns on five consecutive possessions during the middle quarters and 580 total yards overall.

But as long as Bacher's arm recovers in time for Friday night's game against Eastern Michigan in Detroit, does defense really matter.


GAME BALL GOES TO: QB C.J. Bacher — Just in case anyone thought Bacher's National Player of the Week performance against Michigan State was a fluke, the junior delivered another unbelievable showing in Saturday's 49-48 double-overtime win over Minnesota. Bacher completed 41 of 58 passes — both career-bests — for 470 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 21 yards and another score.

LOOKING GOOD: QB C.J. Bacher produced the No. 3 single-game passing output in Northwestern annals as part of the Wildcats' 49-48 double-overtime win over Minnesota. Bacher threw for 470 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown to account for five scores for the second week in a row.

RB Omar Conteh continues to be a terrific two-way threat. The junior rushed 14 times for 81 yards, but he also caught six passes for 68 yards.

WR Ross Lane continues to be C.J. Bacher's favorite target once the Wildcats sniff the end zone. Lane caught nine passes for 108 yards, including touchdown tosses of eight and five yards.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Northwestern's defense bent and broke yet again. Though the Wildcats picked off two passes for their first turnovers in three weeks, they surrendered 580 total yards and seven touchdowns.

WR Rasheed Ward coughed up a third-quarter fumble at Minnesota's six-yard line to abort Northwestern's first attempt at a comeback. Fumbles are a no-no with the Wildcats, particularly for the wideouts.

Though Minnesota QB Adam Weber dropped back to pass more than 40 times, Northwestern managed no sacks and just one quarterback hurry.

ROSTER REPORT: Junior RB Tyrell Sutton sat out his fifth consecutive game Saturday due to a high ankle sprain. At this rate, with junior Omar Conteh and senior Brandon Roberson doing a solid job of filling his shoes, Sutton could redshirt.

LB Eddie Simpson played for the first time since Week 2. He was not credited with any tackles.

Malcolm Arrington and Prince Kwateng started at the outside linebacker spots and accounted for seven and four tackles, respectively. Arrington also picked off a pass for 27 yards. Look for them to stay in the lineup.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Most games that we win, they shouldn't be close." — Northwestern linebacker Malcolm Arrington in the Daily Herald. Of the Wildcats three wins over Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, two came in overtime and the third came on a game-winning pass with 21 seconds to go.

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