SjT: Cats Win #2

So it's gonna be one of THOSE years again, eh? I guess we shouldn't have expected different - more last-minute thrills and a win's a win. So I'll take 2-0.

Still, about the only unit I'm pleased with right now is our special teams. But let's start with the good ...

    * Fitz must have been after Colby and the D at the half because they came out with more pressure and aggressiveness ... and for the most part it paid off, so maybe we should do that more often?:)

    * Hallelujah - someone finally figured out the key to the option! Yes, you'll get hit, but if you commit, it's a big gain. CJ took a lick, but made his move toward the line early instead of stringing it out - then a perfect pitch to Roberson and a big gain.

    * And give CJ credit for the late drive - he had an off day, but showed some heart at the end to step up and lead the team. Not a bad catch by Lane, either!

    * Last but not least, how 'bout those special teams?!  Aside from the 2nd half kickoff, they were strong in all areas - good punts, kickoffs, coverage, returns and more today. Nice to see that aspect of the game back in Northwestern's arsenal!

As for the bad ...

    * The offensive line and play calling left a lot to be desired. We got beat too many times on the pass rush and couldn't get a consistent ground game going. And after the pickoff to start the third quarter, we had a horrible series of play calls that kept us only getting a field goal when we needed that six. And we had two chances to salt some time away and wrap up the game late but couldn't get a first down. Ugh.

    One more chance to get working on dominating the trenches vs. Duke next week, fellas.

    * Second half antics aside, the defense was horrendous in the first half. We have a decent enough secondary to take risks with pressure and mixing up blitzers up front - we need to get much, much more creative and aggressive.

But overall, nice to see the comeback after that unforgivable hail mary at the end of the first half - and encouraging to see CJ lead a drive to respond after we gave 'em back the game late. It wasn't pretty, but it's a win and we'll take it and hopefully learn from it. Now we need to come out much more focused against Duke and get Tyrell healthy for the Big Ten season.

Around the league ...

    * Minny looks like they're going for our OT record from a few years back. I guess, like us, they won't complain about the win ... but that was another wild finish in the Dome. At least they're doing their part to make the Big Ten Network exciting!

    * MSU and OSU were a bit less impressive this week ...  but again, it's all about the record and they're 2-0.

    * Purdue's veterans on O + turf could mean even more points and whacks on that world's largest drum this year. If they had Iowa's schedule, I'd like the Boilers as a big-time darkhorse. They'll still be a team to watch with the lax defenses in this league.

    * Michigan's not looking too much better so far against Oregon. I thought that Big Blue would come out with something to prove and more of an "OK, no more title pressure, unleash the offensive monster and screw playing it conservative" approach ... but, no.

    * I don't see much trouble in the night games, but you never know.


Stephen J. Truog, former NU Marching Band member and now educator in Arizona, comments on the Wildcats from both the sidelines and his couch He has his own NU oriented Web Site - Visit SjTonline
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