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 Asunto :Northwestern Wildcats season recap.. 02-12-2014 08:35:28 
Northwestern Wildcats season recap


Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern didn't make the massive national splash this fall as it did in the mid-1990s, but the program quietly took some key measures on the path to steady good results.

It began with a four- sweep of the nonconference slate Redwings Shop, a feat Northwestern hadn't achieved given that 1963. Even the school's league title-winning teams in 1995, 1996 and 2000 stumbled in nonleague perform. Had Northwestern swept the nonconference portion in 2007 or simply gone 2-two or far better in 2004, the program would have created bowls in four of the last five many years.

An even larger breakthrough occurred on defense. Led by very first-12 months coordinator Mike Hankwitz, Northwestern led the Big 10 in sacks (33) and ranked 23rd nationally in scoring defense (19.3 ppg). A unit that had finished no far better than 68th nationally given that Northwestern put in the spread offense in 2000 improved to 53rd this season The Wildcats defense permitted 17 factors or fewer in seven of the team's nine wins and created the nation's fifth-biggest improvement in points allowed.

The offense didn't light up the scoreboard as it had in past seasons, and a young offensive line and erratic quarterback perform hurt the crew at occasions. But newfound depth assisted Northwestern survive injuries to quarterback C.J. Bacher and operating back Tyrell Sutton, and the Wildcats won three of their last 4 games after a probably disastrous reduction at Indiana.

An Alamo Bowl matchup against Missouri awaits Northwestern, but head coach Pat Fitzgerald has constructed some momentum for a plan that has been very competitive in Big Ten perform since 1995 Ted Lindsay Jersey.

Offensive MVP -- Wide receiver Eric Peterman
Right after a slow start off, Peterman came on robust during Huge Ten perform to lead the Wildcats in getting yards (654) for the 2nd consecutive season. The senior had a crew-higher 5 touchdown catches and also threw a touchdown pass in a win towards Purdue. Fellow wideout Ross Lane deserves a mention, and Sutton was extremely productive prior to struggling a dislocated wrist Oct. 25 at Indiana.

Defensive MVP -- Defensive finish Corey Wootton
Hankwitz's system allowed Wootton to start off reaching his enormous likely, and the junior earned All-Huge Ten honors after anchoring the league's leading pass rush Wootton finished fifth in the Large 10 in sacks (9) and seventh in tackles for reduction (15). The six-foot-7 finish had 7 quarterback hurries, a blocked kick, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Safety Brad Phillips also merits a mention.

Turning stage -- Nov. one at Minnesota
Northwestern limped into the Metrodome, getting misplaced Sutton, Bacher and commencing middle linebacker Malcolm Arrington to injuries in the previous two video games. But backup quarterback Mike Kafka sizzled in his first start since 2006, setting a Huge Ten quarterback rushing record with 217 yards. Kafka kept the offense afloat, and the defense sealed a dramatic win as Brendan Smith returned an interception for a touchdown with twelve seconds remaining.

What is up coming
The Wildcats are heavy underdogs in the Alamo Bowl, but their very first postseason win since the 1949 Rose Bowl would cap a very robust season. Northwestern must change its starting offensive backfield, but Kafka appears to be a capable substitute at quarterback and a extremely younger offensive line will be a 12 months older. The core returns on defense, and Northwestern need to be in position for an additional bowl game in 2009 Tomas Tatar Jersey.

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