Once Again a Bridesmaid

The Sun Bowl started out so well for the Northwestern Wildcats, but something woke up UCLA in the 2nd quarter. After a comeback of sorts, two onside kicks were returned by Brandon Breazell, and the game was over. Coach Roy watched it all, and has a few observations....

Yeah, they were favored, and ranked higher...
But when NU jumped out to a 22 point lead, I figured this one just might have been NU's first bowl win in how many years?

Well the worm turned faster than a CBS announcer's take on the game after 4:40 in the 1st quarter and the Cats were in the fight of their lives. UCLA tied it up at the half, and folks that was all she wrote.

I'll make the obligatory mention of UCLA using 3 different backs to run right at our freshman, John Gill, which they did all game, and the two onside kick runbacks, by the same player, [How many do you see like that?] but Northwestern got manhandled up front in the 2nd quarter, and even with a great 2nd half by the defense, the damage was done.

Then there was the somewhat missing running game - Tyrell Sutton only rushed for 77 yards, WR Mark Philmore was the 3rd leading rusher for the Cats in this one. In contrast, UCLA had 3 runners over 100 yards.

The game would have been closer if NU had made the 2 PATs and the Field Goal in the first. Actually, we wouldn't have needed the onside kicks, so maybe they were more important than I gave them credit for early in the game. One of our chat guys, Philip, called it halfway through the first quarter - we actually did need those 5 points, but that's 20-20 hindsight.

I'm sure Randy Walker commented after the game on WGN that UCLA was a good team, etc., those who live away from the WGN coverage area didn't hear his post-game comments, but NU should have still won this one. We had the momentum early and it just slipped away in the 2nd quarter.

Would Amado Villarreal, the guy who did kick in the 2nd half, have made them all? Don't know, but kicking really hurt the team today.

In any case, you wonder if the Cats wouldn't be better served next year by letting the Head Coach work with the running backs, and the running back coach move over to special teams? Its an idea.

--daCoach

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