Last season was disappointing. The beginning of this season is looking dangerous.
Along with a sprawling sideline pick from Ibraheim Campbell and slick touchdown pass to Cameron Dickerson, Northwestern took a series of blown coverages, missed offensive opportunities, an overrun defensive line and 24-7 deficit into the locker room halfway through its season opener against Cal.
The Wildcat secondary -- one of the few somewhat reliable units during last year's 5-7 season -- failed to catch up to and even contest Cal's receivers, who earned 195 yards through the first half of the game. Cal quarterback Jared Goff picked apart an unprepared Northwestern defense, going 12-17 with three touchdowns against a unit that was rarely in the right place at the right time.
Northwestern also struggled to stop the Bears on the ground, surrendering 80 yards on 23 carries.
Trevor Siemian has been strong behind a faltering offensive line (9/13, 109 yards, touchdown), but Northwestern only scored once in the half. Dickerson took a pass on slant route 54 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats only gained 38 yards in 17 attempts on the ground, 22 of which coming from Treyvon Green, who didn't appear until halfway through the second quarter.