"They Did a Good Job Taking it At Us" - Walker

"...it was a good effort, four quarter, kick butt game."  and that was how NU Coach Randy Walker described NIU's Loss to Northwestern Saturday Afternoon. In Walker's post game interview, he talked about the NIU Program, the game's leading rusher Garrett Wolfe, Marquice Cole's TD run, Tyrell Sutton's performance, the Offensive staff, the missed fake field goal attempt, and ASU next week...

The Cats escaped with a win that was decided by inches on several plays...
The picture above was Adam Kadela and Marquice Cole denying NIU TE Jack Norden a TD early in the game. But AP - Rex Arbogastlook at the closeup, and you can see just how close some of those plays up by the goal line were.

The Cats prevailed, Brett Basanez and Tyrell Sutton moved up in the record books, so now its off to Tempe with a 2-0 record to face Arizona State [who lost to LSU last night].

After the game, Northwestern Coach Randy Walker talked with Ted Albrecht about the close win over a tough opponent;

Well, I just can't say enough. First, I want to give a lot of credit to Northern, as I have all week...great football team, great coaching job, they do a great job with their program, Joe [Novak], I can't say enough about the quality of their kids, how hard they fought today and it was a good effort, four quarter, kick butt game.

But I give credit to our kids. We knew we weren't going to be in a "gimme" and we were going to have to play real well and I'm proud of the way our kids stood up and played hard at the end.
What about the NIU running back, Garrett Wolfe [248 yds on 34 carries 3 TDs/4 recept 16 yds] - he's about as good a runner as you see in College football.
They do a great job, their schemes are good, they have a great plan and you can't coach - I'm not taking anything away from their coaches or Joe but great backs make plays and they see things and he has some of the best vision I've ever seen.

Its not anything new, he did a great job and I'm just real impressed with their football team, I'm real impressed with the coaching job thy did today. They had some good things for us. They did a good job taking it at us.
Albrecht noted that often its big plays, like the Marquice Cole 81 yard TD punt return that turns games - it put the Cats back in the lead...
Well, it was a big play and ironically, we find ourselves with Marquice back there, we thought it was going to be Mark [Philmore], Mark's a little nicked up, so we were trying to give him some time to get all the way back. We found a pretty good one, maybe.

He made some plays last week which really no help, which we call punt safe, and this week we gave him a little help and put a couple of returns out there for him and you can see he's an electric guy - once he gets a crease, not too many folks are going to catch him.
What do you say about Tyrell Sutton? [214 yards on 30 carries - 4 TDs - 7.1 ypc, 2 catches 16 yds]
He played pretty good. [laughs]

I didn't realize it was that much. He makes plays, again much like Garrett Wolfe, he's a guy who makes players with great vision, he does things you don't coach him to do. Obviously, putting the ball on the ground is not a favorite of mine, we';ll have to continue to coach that, but he has some things going for him as a football player, but I want to emphasize this -

Brandon Roberson [2 carries for 14 yds, 1 catch 19 yds] is still nicked up and he's going to get another chance at this thing, obviously. We think we have some other backs who can contribute so, we're going to need a bunch of guys the rest of the way, but its good to see Tyrell come out of the blocks and play well, really.
It seems that the NU Offense is clicking.
I want to give a lot of credit to [Offensive Coordinator] Mike Dunbar and the coaching staff on offense; James Patton, the offensive line and K.J., Kevin Johns, and Garrick McGee [receivers], Adam Cushing [H Backs], the offensive staff is doing a great job.

Mike calls a superb game, I think he does a great job game planning and I think we give some people problems with some of the things we do. We have smart kids, it helps to have kids who can embrace some of the concepts we're putting out there, but our kids and coaches are doing a great job on that side of the ball.
What were your thoughts when you went for the fake field goal?
Good question, probably was partly brain dead at that point.

No, I didn't like score we were on at that point and I really thought, I felt like we needed 7. I just wanted to get it out of the way if we could. I didn't like where we were at.

As it turned out, it wasn't a good move. I thought it was there, we looked at it all week, it was something we had in. They knocked it down...a great job playing defense, but I really thought we needed to get seven in that situation, I was frustrated, perhaps some of my emotion took the better of me because we were stopped a couple of times down there but I wanted to knock that thing in, I thought that was a big play and we needed to get 7.

Fortunately, the kids bailed us out, bailed me out because obviously in hind sight, hind sight's always 20-20, it wasn't the best decision I ever made, but ... although we'll run a fake again, now. You know me, we're going to have a fake up every week. We're going to do some things and give the credit to Northern Illinois, they were on top of it and made a good play.
Arizona State, next week, should be a really nice test for the Wildcats next week.
They're a good football team, you know everybody's picking them to be in the mix in the Pac-10 and they're on everybody's top 20 list, so they're a good football team.

It'll be an interesting game tonight. Who knows, with all the difficult things LSU's gone through, I hope they can play well. Again, our hearts and prayers go out to the people down in Louisiana, and the gulf, all the things they've gone through but it is a difficult thing - LSU was supposed to have this thing at their house, so it will be an interesting game.

We'll look forward to following it and I think our kids know too that we can continue to improve, and we need to improve. We didn't play as sharp as I'd like to see us and there were some things that got away from us.
Brett Basanez, Marquice Cole and Tyrell Sutton all talked with Ted after the game. We'll have those interviews later...

Meanwhile, its off to Tempe for a late night game against the Sun Devils - kickoff is at 9 PM Wildcat Time.


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
Official Statistics from NU Sports.com


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