I keep calling it the "trendy concept." Running backs with receiving instincts are frequently used as major assets, and now, Mick McCall has one gem to work with. Expect Buckley to work out of the slot and break off some nice gains against the California defense.
Trevor Siemian plays his best game.
Well, at least since Indiana. Siemian looked excellent all of training camp, leading into an especially important season. His improvements could be a huge factor in pushing Northwestern to major victories. I'm confident that tomorrow will be the start of an impressive campaign.
I'm going out on a limb here, but Ellis has "playmaker" potential that guided him to the starter's role. This linebacking corps was outstanding throughout camp, and part of that can be attributed to Ellis's ascent. He deserved the spot, and should be an impactful player.
Kain Colter runs for 100 yards.
I anticipate Cal being overwhelmed by this rushing attack. They struggled with "interior run control" in early practices, per California Scout.com publisher Ryan Gorcey. If they focus on that, though, it leaves the outside wide open for Colter to thrive. This offense should have a field day.
Traveon Henry is defensive MVP.
Despite his lofty billing, Henry might have the most to prove. He contributed in his true freshman season, but can now embrace the starter's role alongside trusted veteran Ibraheim Campbell. There will be ample opportunity for him to make plays, and I'm betting on success.
Offensive Sleeper: Pierre Youngblood-Ary
From missing the two-deep to sleeper success pick? It makes sense. Given that both Kyle Prater and Mike McHugh are inactive for Saturday's contest, Youngblood-Ary could receiver some late targets and officially exit the proverbial doghouse.
Defensive Sleeper: Joseph Jones
Here's another quiet playmaker. The backup outside linebacker has excelled in transition, and looks ready to see the field. If NU dominates–and they might–Jones might be one backup who turns heads. I'm bullish on his future with this team.