Once again the Wildcats came out early and put 17 points on the scoreboard with 2 Jason Wright TDs and a Brett Basanez TD pass to Brandon Horn. Slade Larscheid contributed a 32 yard FG and the Cats went into the 2nd quarter up 17 points.Senior Jason Wright finished with 141 yds on 32 carries and 4 TDs, Brett Basanez [AP Photo - Darron Cummings right] was 13 of 22 for 192 yards and 1 TD. The Cat defense intercepted Indiana's LoVecchio twice - Pat Durr picked off a pass in the 1st quarter, and Heinz got one in the overtime.
Indiana finally answered with a Brian Lewes 9 yard run, then Jason Wright [AP Photo - Darron Cummings left] scored for NU with a 13 yard ramble, and it was 24-7, Wildcats.
Then the game momentum changed. NU's run stopper, Tim McGarigle went out with a concussion and the Hoosiers started to run their backs, and Matt LoVecchio started completing passes. Indiana freshman tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored 3 times, once each in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters on his way to a 135 yard [on 25 carries] , 3 TD performance. Running back Brian Lewis added 128 yards and 1 TD.
The game turned back in NU's favor when the Wildcat defense forced an Indiana punt and Mark Philmore returned the ball 61 yards to set up the 3rd Jason Wright touchdown.
The game was tied as Indiana tried to get close enough with less than a minute to kick a game winning field goal. But they were knocked back and the ensuing 54 yard attempt was wide right and it was overtime.
Indiana got the ball first and drove close, but a Lovecchio pass was tipped then intercepted by Bryan Heinz. The ball went over to the Wildcats.
NU took the ball up the field behind the running of Jason Wright, and a critical short pass to Noah Herron [out of a shotgun formation] gave NU a first down. 2 plays later, Jason Wright scored his 4th TD of the day and the Cats had the win.
After the game, Randy Walker was slightly critical of the Defense, but also had good words for the NU D:
We didn't play our best defense today, and I'm a little disappointed in that, but when we needed to, down the stretch, we put some stops on them. And that's what its all about ...So does this game give the Wildcats more confidence? You can point to the two critical stops at the end of the game...
It wasnt' the best day we had all year, but when we needed to, we made a couple of big plays and gave ourselves a chance to win. [Randy Walker on the WGN Postgame Show]
and the big turnover in overtime, again a great play by the defense.
So, you can talk all you want about playing real good against Ohio State, playing good defense, you still lost.
It doesn't do much for your ego or self esteem, it was still a flat out loss.
You come in here today and you got a W and there's some things we can work to improve and we're going to get some guys back and
It was really tough to lose [OLB] Tim McGarigle early in the game, as you all know, he's a special player for us, but he's all right and we're gonna get some guys healthy and you know we're going to make a nice run here the last 5 games.
We haven't come here to this place and played well at all in my previous 2 visits...we got our butts handed to us.
So it was nice to come in here and it wasn't our best day, but there are better days ahead, trust me, we're going to play a lot better next time .
Its just nice to have an open week, gets some bumps and bruises healed up and be ready for the Badgers in a couple of weeks.
We got 'em back this year and we're looking forward to that game -- of course they're a great program under Barry Alvarez -- and they've got it rocking and rolling again -- making another great run at it. --The last word?
There's no question that when it was on the line some kids responded today and it was good to see that.
Randy Walker quotes from the WGN Postgame show with Ted Albrecht
Copyright 2003 - WGN Radio
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