Random Thoughts: "New Look" Defense?

The Northwestern Wildcats were soundly thrashed Saturday. daCoach found it hard to write about such things when you could neither see nor, at time hear, what was happening - but to their credit, Arizona State made a statement about their national ranking and the Cats defense caught the brunt of that statement. Unfortunately, ASU also made some "statements" with some questionable playing during the game. Coach Roy wasn't amused...

OK, It was an experiment...
And as a few writers have pointed out, it seemed to have worked for a while against Arizona State.

In an effort to get more pressure on the ASU Quarterback, the Wildcats started out with Kevin Mims at Defensive Tackle and backup linebacker Demetrius Eaton at Defensive End.

While we long distance folks fumbled for a radio signal, [WGN.com had some computer show on] the Cats actually played even with the Sun Devils, forcing two punts before Shaun Herbert pulled down a 7 yard TD pass and the Cats took a 7-0 lead.

The "new look" D actually stopped the Devils again as Marquice Cole forced a goal line fumble, once again stopping ASU, but you could see that State had decided to run against NU, and the new NU smaller, faster D was still having trouble breaking through up front and keeping the ASU O-line off of our Linebackers..

I remember checking the tackling stats at the half. Tim McGarigle, our #1 tackler had just 2 tackles. Safety Reggie McPherson, had 5.

The bottom line was the Arizona State had decided to come out rushing, they ripped off long gainer after long gainer as Keegan Herrin eventually rushed for 197 yds and 2 TDs. The total ASU rushing offense gained 290 yards, compare that to NU's 236 yards passing and we haven't talked about Sam Keller.

OK, he Passed for 409 yds and 4 TDs. His backup Rudy Carpenter hit 7 of 8 for 74 yards and a TD. For NOrthwestern both Brett Basanez and C.J. Bacher had TD passes, but Keller personally out did NU's total scoring output by 1 TD.

If the ASU coaches wanted to make a statement, they did. I guess we can take it as a tribute to our offense that they saw a need to keep the 1st team in for 3 quarters with a 20 point lead, and then kept scoring. NU's defense certainly had trouble stopping both run and pass Saturday night.

MLB Tim McGarigle did wind up with 10 tackles, so did S Reggie McPherson. DT Trevor Schultz who got in the game at times finished with 7, DT Barry Cofield had 5 tackles, one for a loss. OLB Adam Kadela finished with 6, his partner at OLB Nick Roach had 4.

All told the new D-Line had the same number of tackles as the "old" D-Line 18, but they sure gave up more yardage on the ground. [290 to 256]. If you are Defensive coordinator Greg Colby, you don't like this rushing trend.

I do want to say one thing about the play of Arizona State -- they sure played dirty. State was flagged for 15 penalties and 142 yards. Some of their players seemed determined to end the careers of several Wildcats - including Brett Basanez.

We used to subtract penalties from the total offense figure but at times it seemed that a few defenders should have been tossed for their antics.

These are just a few random thoughts a day after what Paul L. [and others] called the "Debacle in the Desert." A few folks on the chat blamed WGN - we were winning before they finally got the game on the web, but NU just couldn't keep up with the ASU scoring machine.

Now its time to focus on Penn State.
-- da Coach

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