327 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. It looked like the Minnesota game all over again except this time it was the Opponents rushing that had the Wildcats reeling.
Of course you have to give credit to the Indy defense, which rebounded from giving the Cats 299 yards of O in the first half. They effectively shut down the Cats in the 2nd half, allowing only 59 yards from scrimmage.-- da Coach
So what positives do I take from the game with Indiana?
1. The changes on special teams:
It takes courage to replace last year's top kickoff duo [Jason Wright and Jeff Backes] with two backup running backs - the "'rells" - Terrell Jordan and Derell Jenkins.
They're still a little rough around the edges, but they consistently carried the ball out past the 20.
Then there's Mark Philmore running back punts - his 61 yard ramble was more yardage than NU got on offense in the 2nd half! And it set up Jason's 3rd TD, and tied the game.
2. Tim McGarigle is obviously the run stuffer for the Wildcat D:
The Cats had Indy's run game shut down early. McGarigle goes out with a concussion [smart move not to let him play anymore] and here comes Indy's Brian Lewis [128 yds and a TD] and BenJarvus Green-Ellis [136 yds 3 TDs].
3. NU has to figure out how to stuff the run while defending against the big play in the air...
I should talk, our youth team also allowed 200+ yards up the middle Saturday. We couldn't adjust to get the stops either and we weren't worried about a QB with the big play skills of Matt LoVecchio.
You have to look to the 2 down tackles and the linebackers to shed blocks and hit those big runners before they get going. I won't be able to watch the film, but I suspect that Colby Clark and Luis Castillo [Ryan Keenan and Trevor Schultz when they were in] all got pounded by the Indy front 5.
You stop that kind of running at the line -Yes, some of our schemes use a strong safety as a run stopper, but one of my unwritten rules is "when the Safeties are always tackling the running backs, its going to be a long day for the Defense."
Saturday there seemed to be a lot of D-back tackles on the runners.
4. When the Cats dominate the line, the offense gets on track fast...
2 TDs by Jason Wright and almost 90 yards by him in early in the game. Then?
It appears the the O-Line comes out pounding, then steps back a bit. I suspect that once the opponent's Defense starts their adjustments, some of our blocking schemes break down and it takes us more time to react and cover those changes.
I've been around and watched O-Lines that were able to react to changes in defensive schemes, and were able to figure out how to block those schemes in the huddle. It cost them grades on Sunday, but they did get the yardage and points on Saturday.
Next week the Cats get a bye. Our next opponent, the Badgers entertain one of the Big 10's stealth teams, 5-1 [2-0 Big 10] Purdue, but the combination of Sorgi and Evans will give the Cats' Defense another big play combo to consider.
At least we have 2 weeks to get healed and ready for Wisconsin, but how on earth did we get them scheduled for Homecoming?
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