Kickoff Time: 2:30 CT
Television: Big Ten Network
Radio: ESPN 1000, WNUR Radio
After surviving a tough road test at Boston College, the Wildcats return home to take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. EIU coach Bob Spoo is hoping to have his team fired up as they meet with Northwestern for the very first time. NU is hoping to avoid an upset. Once again, there are some key questions entering game day.
Persa or Colter? A yes, this sounds familiar. Last week, Kain Colter stepped in for the injured Dan Persa and helped the Wildcats to the win. Once again, Persa is listed as ‘questionable' on the injury report. In all likelihood, Persa won't start. Will he even suit up? Maybe take a few snaps? We'll find out after kickoff.
How will the defense fare this week?
Many worries about Northwestern's defense were relieved last week. The Wildcats gave up more than 400 yards of offense, but held Boston College to just 17 points and helped secure a victory. Even so, Pat Fitzgerald expressed frustration in the lack of fumbles forced against the Golden Eagles. You may see Wildcat defenders eyeing the football against Eastern Illinois. Staying Level-Headed
Who gets the carries
Mike Trumpy is listed as doubtful with a head injury. In all probability, he will not play against Eastern Illinois. Who gets the load of carries at running back? Adonis Smith and Jacob Schmidt are likely to see plenty of handoffs on Saturday. Also, look for true freshman Treyvon Green to get a solid load of carries. He only received one handoff last week. Running backs coach Matt MacPherson told PurpleWildcats.com that he'd like to get Green more involved in the offense this week.
Can NU slow down Garoppolo?
Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo racked up more than 300 yards in the Panthers' week one victory over rival Illinois State. Northwestern will have their hands full with this passing attack. Garoppolo did struggle with accuracy at times last season. Northwestern needs to take advantage.
Getting the starters out
If all goes according to plan, Northwestern is able to rest their starters in the second half. When playing a FCS opponent, a coach hopes for two things: win the game and stay healthy. Pat Fitzgerald is hoping for both of these to happen. In a perfect world, Trevor Siemian and Evan Watkins are playing quarterback in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats lead by more than 30 points.