The Passion Returns

Saturday afternoon, the <b>Northwestern Wildcats</b> discovered how to win a game as they gave up 14 points in the 4th quarter, then drove 81yards and held on to win.<br> </p> <p>After the game, NU's Coach talked about beating a much improved Kansas team after losing two tough, close games to start the season

Randy Walker has been talking about the passion to win games all week.

But it looked as if the passion was out of gas as Kansas scored 14 points on drives of 75 and 51 yards. There were comments about how NU seemed to have run out of gas in the 4th quarter, after all the Wildcats had scored 10 in the 3rd, but seemed to be stymied on both offense and defense.

But NU QB Brett Basanez found Brandon Horn [AP Photo left] in the corner of the endzone to give the Cats the lead, and when the NU Defense held Kansas to a Field Goal try, that led to their second missed Field Goal, and the game was over.

NU head coach Randy Walker claimed he was singing the fight in the locker room after the game was over, as he talked with WGN's Ted Albrecht...

We knew it would be a hard fought game. We think they were a much improved football team from a year ago and they were playing like it and they brought a really good football team in here so to get a win over a quality football team like Kansas, a bowl team from a year ago, 2 and 0 start team, it feels really good.
 What about putting so much quality competition on the field against the Cats in the start of the season.
I just said that to the kids, its a lot like weight lifting, some days you go in there and you can't get it, you're three inches from getting that bar up and you momentarily fail on that rep but you're getting stronger. Thats the same thing with a football team.

We moved the bar up, we knew that and we were playing good football teams, we were going to have to play great football to win and we haven't had a bunch of walk throughs that we just had to show up and put a bunch of points up. We had to play hard each and every week. We've learned how to battle through adversity and I think this out of conference slate has helped us be ready for the Big 10.

WGN's broadcast team, Ted and Dave Eanet were talking about how fast NU scored at the end of the game, in contrast to the previous weeks when the opponents were able to run the field quickly.  [Mark Philmore scampers for a long gain]
We almost scored too quick. It was one of these things to the point of where we were starting to talk about the next possession cause you have to give them credit, they're a good football team -- they scored 63 last week -- so we knew they were capable of making plays.

[But] first I want to say a lot about our defense [shown sacking Kansas QB Adam Barmann].

They were catching some heat, much maligned, but they stepped up in a big time way and the passion was there, you could see they were playing with passion, flying around and I'm really proud of that side of the ball and I think our offense hung in there.

We were playing a very good defense. They snuffed out a bowl team in Tulsa who was an 8-1 team last year and they snuffed them out.

So we battled in there, it was tough going against the Kansas Jayhawks but we found a way to get enough points to win.

Ted noted that the defensive effort came from all areas of the team...
The key was that the scheme was good -- we think we have a great scheme we think we have great players, we were playing with a passion today - we were getting after people. It looked like Northwestern Defense, it would good to see, I think some assertiveness started taking place, I think some confidence all in the right places, and I though all along we had a chance to be a very good defense.
And what about the Defensive Line - how about the kind of pressure you put on their quarterback?
We definitely got some pressure, of course that's always the best form of pass defense. We hit him a bunch, I think we hurt him a couple of times, he got up slow, in fact he left the game.

Any time you get that kind of ongoing pressure against the quarterback, if nothing else, they're thinking about it, trust me, I coach those guys, they think about it, and to have that all game from start to finish was a great testimony toward our defense.
Were you worried about our running game at the end of the first half? [The Cats had barely 20 rushing yards at the half]
I knew all along they [Kansas] were very good on defense. They've really made some strides on that side of the ball.

Their 4 linebackers are just very good football players. They're strong and physical up front. They really penetrate,  come off the ball, quick burst, and their safeties play downhill so they were going to make it tough. And their Corners are an outstanding cover group they make it tough to throw it in there to your wideouts so we knew we were playing a very good defense, a team that totally shut out Tulsa - Tulsa got nothing off of them, and completely destroyed a Toledo team.

And it was a pretty darn good day by our offense to get some points on the board.
Albrecht also noted that seeing Randy Walker smiling after a game makes it easy to do his job.
Well, you know, its ...we have so much invested and our belief system is real strong, but to lose a couple games the way we lost the last two right out of the blocks ... I said this to our kids, lesser football teams, kids with less character, less perseverance would have maybe thrown this in.

And not only on this game, but during this game because there were opportunities to throw this game in. That's one thing I never doubt -- we have some great character, we have some great perseverance, we have the where-with-all to go 60 minutes with anybody, and I always ask them, it just goes to the 15th round.

I'll take this crowd any day - any time in the 15th round.


Coach Randy Walker's Post Game comments in italics are taken from
the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet & Ted Albrecht
and may have been edited for clarity

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But it looked as if the passion was out of gas as Kansas scored 14 points on drives of 75 and 51 yards. There were comments about how NU seemed to have run out of gas in the 4th quarter, after all the Wildcats had scored 10 in the 3rd, but seemed to be stymied on both offense and defense.

But NU QB found [AP Photo left] in the corner of the endzone to give the Cats the lead, and when the NU Defense held Kansas to a Field Goal try, that led to their second missed Field Goal, and the game was over.

NU head coach claimed he was singing the fight in the locker room after the game was over, as he talked with WGN's Ted Albrecht...

 What about putting so much quality competition on the field against the Cats in the start of the season.

WGN's broadcast team, Ted and were talking about how fast NU scored at the end of the game, in contrast to the previous weeks when the opponents were able to run the field quickly.  [ scampers for a long gain]

[shown sacking Kansas QB ].

T

Ted noted that the defensive effort came from all areas of the team...
And what about the Defensive Line - how about the kind of pressure you put on their quarterback?
Were you worried about our running game at the end of the first half? [The Cats had barely 20 rushing yards at the half]
Albrecht also noted that seeing Randy Walker smiling after a game makes it easy to do his job.

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