Northwestern's second game of the season has been slow, steady and scoreless halfway through in Evanston. Despite strong play from the Wildcat offensive line and running backs, a few miscues have kept a smoother, but uninspired Northwestern offense from putting up points.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian's looked a bit sharper (13-22, 123 yards) after only completing 52 percent of his passes in last week's loss to Cal. But an end-zone interception on a misguided pass to Cameron Dickerson, a sure-touchdown dropped by Miles Shuler and overly conservative 3rd down playcalling's left Northwestern with show for the offensive line's strong pass protection and an encouraging collective effort from Treyvon Green, Justin Jackson and Solomon Vault.
While the offense flounders, the Northwestern defense has kept Northern Illinois scoreless with strong play from the front seven. Save for a late second-quarter push to the red zone that ended in a botched 25-yard field goal, the Huskies have been even more ineffectual than Northwestern, held back by their own dropped passes and missed blocks.
This deadlock may not hold up, however. Northern Illinois started to dial up its passing game toward the end of the quarter, and safety Traveon Henry left the game for the rest of the day with an undisclosed injury.