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2008 Northwestern Wildcats Season
Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton
Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 4, 2009


2008 Northwestern Wildcats Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Northwestern Wildcats

Dec. 29
2008 Alamo Bowl
Missouri 30 … Northwestern 23 OT

Missouri overcame a sluggish and sloppy performance to win in overtime on a seven-yard Jeremy Maclin touchdown catch. Northwestern went backwards on its overtime possession, with a fumble forcing a fourth down Hail Mary into the end zone, picked off by William Moore. Mizzou got the spark it needed with a minute left in the first half on a 75-yard Maclin punt return for a score, but the Wildcats answered right away coming out of the locker room on a 46-yard touchdown catch from Ross Lane Northwestern got three touchdown passes from C.J. Bacher including a 35-yarder to Eric Peterman to start the scoring and a 23-yard to Ross Lane to give the Wildcats a 23-20 lead. Jeff Wolfert made three field goals for Missouri, including a 37-yarder to tie it up with just under three minutes to play, but he missed a 44-yarder with no time left on the clock to force overtime.
Player of the Game: Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon made 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, half a sack, broke up a pass, and made two quarterback hurries. 
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 27-43, 304 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 29-114. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 7-101, 1 TD
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 27-44, 200 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Derrick Washington, 15-44. Receiving: Chase Coffman, 7-67
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Alamo Bowl …Third down conversions: NU 11-of-21 – Mizzou 7-of-16 … Sacks: Mizzou 5 for 43 yards – NW 1 for 1 … Total offense: NU 376 – MU 311 … Chase Daniel threw three interceptions and was outpassed by C.J. Bacher 304 yards to 200 … 2nd quarter time of possession: NU 12:24 – Mizzou 2:36.

- 2008 NU Preview 
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2007 NU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2008 Record: 9-4

Aug. 30 Syracuse W 30-10
Sept. 6 at Duke W 24-20
Sept. 13 Southern Illinois W 33-7
Sept. 20 Ohio W 16-8
Sept. 27 at Iowa W 22-17
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE 
Oct. 11 Michigan State L 37-20
Oct. 18 Purdue W 48-26
Oct. 25 at Indiana L 21-19
Nov. 1 at Minnesota W 24-17
Nov. 8 Ohio State L 45-10
Nov. 15 at Michigan W 21-14
Nov. 22 Illinois W 27-10
Alamo Bowl
Dec. 29 Missouri L 30-23 OT

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2007 Record:
6-6

Sept. 1 Northeastern W 27-0
Sept.8 Nevada W 36-31
Sept. 15 Duke L 20-14
Sept. 22 at Ohio State L 58-7
Sept. 29 Michigan L 28-16
Oct. 6 at Mich St W 48-41 OT
Oct. 13
Minn. W 49-48 2OT
Oct. 20 Eastern Mich W 26-14
Oct. 27 at Purdue L 35-17
Nov. 3 Iowa L 28-17
Nov. 10
Indiana W 31-28
Nov. 17 at Illinois L 41-22

Nov. 22
Northwestern 27 … Illinois 10
Northwestern took a 13-0 lead into halftime as Stephen Simmons ran for a one-yard score and Ross Lane caught a 14-yard touchdown pass for all the points the team would need. Illinois came out of the locker room and put together its best drive of the day, finishing with a one-yard Jason Ford touchdown run, but that would be it for the end zone. The Cats put it away with an 18-yard Eric Peterman catch as part of a run of 11 unanswered points in the final 9:08.
Player of the game: Northwestern DT Kevin Mims made seven tackles, two sacks, and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: Illinois - Passing: Juice Williams, 20-36, 212 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Juice Williams, 25-94. Receiving: Daniel Dufrene, 6-51
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 22-33, 230 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Stephen Simmons, 22-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 8-111, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Nine wins? Northwestern? Give the coaching staff credit for patching things together through major injuries and a loss to Indiana that should’ve set an awful tone for the final stretch. Against Illinois, the offense got hot early and came through with enough points early on to set the tone and make the Illini press. The NU defense took care of things with a great pass rush and a nice day against the run. NU needs Tyrell Sutton back for the bowl, Stephen Simmons is too limited, but there’s no arguing with the overall results. This season showed that Pat Fitzgerald really can coach.

Nov. 15
Northwestern 21 … Michigan 14
In lousy weather conditions that eventually turned into a snowy day, C.J. Bacher connected with Ross Lane for a 17-yard touchdown early in the second half and with Eric Peterman for a 53-yarder just over two minutes later. The Northwestern defense did the rest as Michigan, who outgained NU 264 yards to 257, couldn’t get back on the board after getting a three-yard touchdown run from Nick Sheridan in the first quarter and a three-yard blocked punt for a score from Ricky Ross midway through the second.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher completed 17-of-29 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Michigan - Passing: Nick Sheridan, 8-29, 61 yds
Rushing: Carlos Brown, 23-115. Receiving: Greg Mathews, 5-46
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 17-29, 198 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Stephen Simmons, 22-56, 1 TD. Receiving: Ross Lane, 7-77, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern needed a big win in the Big House. Michigan might be struggling, to put it mildly, but it was coming off a dominant win over Minnesota and was shut down by the Northwestern defense, especially though the air. The Wildcat offense didn’t exactly show up with the running game. Stephen Simmons isn’t the type of back to work around, and to beat Illinois next week, the offense will either need a huge game from C.J. Bacher or the coaching staff will have to get extremely creative.
 

Nov. 8
Ohio State 45 … Northwestern 10
Ohio State got a huge day out of its backfield as Chris Wells ran for a two-yard score and a 55-yard dash in the first half, while QB Terrelle Pryor threw three touchdown passes highlighted by a 34-yarder to Brian Robiskie in the fourth. Northwestern tied it at seven with a one-yard Mike Kafka scoring run, but that would be it outside of a 25-yard field goal.
Player of the game: Ohio State RB Beanie Wells ran 28 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: Mike Kafka, 18-27, 177 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Mike Kafka, 29-83, 1 TD. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 6-78
Ohio State - Passing: Terrelle Pryor, 9-14, 197 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chris Wells, 28-140, 2 TD. Receiving: Brian Robiskie, 3-58, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern likely wouldn’t have had won against Ohio State even if C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton were in the backfield, but the injuries have proven to be too big a problem. Mike Kafka did what he could, but he was a one-man offense with Omar Conteh out. If Northwestern has to win on Kafka’s arm, there will be problems. Now, after the way Michigan played against Minnesota, there has to be a concern that the Wolverine defense could stuff the Wildcat ground game. Kafka will have to start pushing the ball deeper if Bacher isn’t able to go.

Nov. 1
Northwestern 24 … Minnesota 17
Minnesota came into the game as the nation’s leader in turnover margin, but it turned out to be a late interception that lost the game. Tied at 17 and pushing for a possible late game-winning score, Gopher QB Adam Weber’s pass was tipped into the hands of Brendan Smith, who weaved and worked his way 48 yards for the touchdown with 12 seconds to play. That big defensive moment overshadowed the terrific game from Mike Kafka, the Wildcat quarterback who ran for 217 yards and threw a perfectly lofted 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert along with a two-yard touchdown pass to Josh Rooks. Minnesota got a pick six of its own with a perfectly timed play from Traye Simmons, who took a Kafka pass 23 yard for a second quarter score. Neither offense scored in the second half.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB Mike Kafka completed 12-of-16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and he ran 27 times for 217 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 31-51, 327 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 16-53. Receiving: Ben Kuzina, 7-98
Northwestern - Passing: Mike Kafka, 12-16, 143 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Kafka, 27-217. Receiving: Jeremy Ebert, 3-48, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... All of a sudden, Northwestern goes from left-for-dead after a loss to Indiana, and with C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton out, to right in the hunt again for really big things after the stunning win over Minnesota. With seven wins, Northwestern is going to a bowl game for sure; it’s all gravy now. It’s time to get greedy with Ohio State, at Michigan and Illinois to go. Win two of the three and a New Year’s Day Florida bowl is possible. Win all three and (gasp!) an at-large BCS spot is actually in play.

Oct. 25
Indiana 21 … Northwestern 19
Northwestern turned it over five times, lost RB Tyrell Sutton and QB C.J. Bacher to injuries, and couldn’t stop Ben Chappell. Filling in for a banged up Kellen Lewis, Chappell threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Damarlo Belcher in the first quarter, and he ran for a three-yard score. Mitchell Evans threw 28-yard touchdown pass on a trick play to Tandon Doss for a third quarter 21-12 lead and, as it turned out, the win. Sutton ran for a one-yard touchdown, but was lost to a wrist injury, and Bacher ran for a three-yard touchdown, and tried to come out and play, but limped when he was out there.  
Player of the game: Indiana S Austin Thomas made 10 tackles and two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 21-34, 155 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 27-77, 1 TD. Receiving: Ross Lane, 5-31
Indiana - Passing: Ben Chappell, 21-34, 219 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Bryan Payton, 11-42. Receiving: Tandon Doss, 8-107, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... In a disastrous game for Northwestern, the Wildcats lost to Indiana, lost RB Tyrell Sutton to a wrist injury, and for a time, QB C.J. Bacher to a hamstring problem. At six wins, the Wildcats are bowl eligible, but they were eligible last year, too. They need a seventh win to be assured of a bowl game, and it’s not going to be easy with at Minnesota, Ohio State, at Michigan and Illinois to close out. On the plus side, the pass rush was excellent with Corey Wootton remaining unblockable. However, the D didn’t force any turnovers to offset the five the O gave up.

Oct. 18
Northwestern 48 … Purdue 26
Purdue led 6-0 after the first quarter on two Carson Wiggs field goals, and then the Northwestern offense went nuts. Eric Peterman caught a 45-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring, and then he hit Sidney Stewart on a 30-yard scoring pass. C.J. Bacher ended up with three touchdown passes and a touchdown run as the Wildcats went on a 48-13 run broken up by a 32-yard Greg Orton touchdown catch and a two-yard Kory Sheets run. Sheets added a 76-yard touchdown dash when the game was well out of reach. Purdue turned it over five times.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher completed 20-of-33 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 15 times for 41 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Purdue - Passing: Curtis Painter, 26-41, 273 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Kory Sheets, 17-168, 2 TD. Receiving: Desmond Tardy, 8-87 
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 20-33, 230 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 18-96. Receiving: Jeremy Ebert, 4-65
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern can come up with a big exhale after getting over the hump and becoming bowl eligible with a dominant win over Purdue. C.J. Bacher started to look like the C.J. Bacher of last year, while the offense was diverse and creative to blast away on the poor Boilermaker defense. On the down side, losing star LB Malcolm Arrington to an injury will hurt. The defense is playing well and it can’t afford to be without its key run stopper for too long.

Oct. 11
Michigan State 37 … Northwestern 20
MSU jumped out to an early 17-0 lead helped by good field position and Northwestern mistakes. Javon Ringer ran for two touchdowns and Brian Hoyer threw short touchdown passes to Garrett Celek and Andrew Hawken to keep the Spartans comfortably ahead. The Wildcats got the offense moving, outgaining MSU 459 yards to 297, but couldn’t get closer than 10 points after the first quarter. C.J. Bacher threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Rasheed Ward and ran for a four-yard score, but he threw two interceptions.
Player of the game: Michigan State RB Javon Ringer ran 35 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: Brian Hoyer, 14-20, 169 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Javon Ringer, 35-124, 2 TD. Receiving: B.J. Cunningham, 4-44
Michigan State - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 34-61, 283 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 23-139. Receiving: Ross Lane, 9-113
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... As good as the Wildcats have been, they can’t make mistakes and beat a team like Michigan State. The three turnovers, without forcing any, and with few big deep plays, NU never got any hold of the game. C.J. Bacher was throwing, attempting 61 passes, but he wasn’t able to get the ball in a place where his receivers could do anything with it. Even with the passing game the focus, Tyrell Sutton had a fantastic game. Purdue and Indiana are beatable over the next few weeks. The Wildcats can quickly get back on track.

Sept. 27
Northwestern 22 … Iowa 17
Northwestern is off to its best start since 1962 by scoring the final 19 points of the game and holding on a late Hawkeye drive. C.J. Bacher threw three touchdown passes, including two to Eric Peterman in the second half. The defense shut out the Hawkeyes over the final 32 minutes while holding on as Iowa got down to the Wildcat eight in the final few minutes before stalling. Iowa turned the ball over five times, but got out to a bit early lead on an 18-yard Shonn Greene touchdown run and a 45-yard Andy Brodell touchdown catch. But Northwestern was too sharp on both sides of the ball the rest of the way.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher went 28-of-45 for 284 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, while running three times for 15 yards.
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 28-45, 284 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing:
Tyrell Sutton, 24-77. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 10-94, 1 TD
Iowa
- Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 21-30, 238 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Shonn Greene, 21-159, 1 TD. Receiving: Andy Brodell, 8-126, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There are still going to be doubters considering the schedule isn’t all that tough, but the win over Iowa at Iowa should open some eyes. Tyrell Sutton was held in check, but C.J. Bacher stepped up. The defense gave up yards, and got ripped up in the first half, but it started to force turnovers and held firm in the second half. Now it’s time to truly get excited. There’s an off-week before home games against Michigan State and Purdue. With no Penn State or Wisconsin on the schedule, it’s time to start dreaming big.

Sept. 20
Northwestern 16 ... Ohio 8
Amado Villarreal hit three first half field goals and Omar Conteh ran for a one-yard score as Northwestern beat Ohio to get out to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1962. Ohio was able to get a 12-yard Andrew Mooney touchdown catch in the third quarter, but it had two field goal attempts blocked in the second half. The Wildcats held Ohio to just four yards rushing helped by five sacks, but QB C.J. Bacher threw four interceptions. Malcolm Arrington made 11 tackles, a sack, and three tackles for loss with a forced fumble for the Wildcats.
Player of the game: Northwestern DE Vince Brown had seven tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick.
Stat Leaders: Ohio
- Passing: Boo Jackson, 27-42, 228 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Rushing: Donte Harden, 9-19. Receiving: LaVon Brazill, 9-79
Northwestern
- Passing: C.J. Bacher, 18-35, 133 yds, 4 INTs
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 9-76. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 7-61

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense has played better than it has in years. The test will come against Iowa next week, but the Wildcats stuffed the Ohio running game with a tremendous game from the defensive line. Ohio had to worry about Corey Wootton, and Vince Brown came up big making big play after big play, while Malcolm Arrington was all over the place. However, the offense struggled as C.J. Bacher still has yet to find his groove this year. Four interceptions and only 133 yards on 18-of-35 passes aren't going to get it done in the Big Ten.

Sept. 13
Northwestern 33 ... Southern Illinois 7
Amado Villarreal hit four field goals and Tyrell Sutton scored on touchdown runs from 44 and 15 yards out in an easy win. The Wildcats held the Salukis to a 19-yard Larry Warner touchdown run and 263 yards of total offense, but SIU hurt itself with ten penalties for 105 yards. Northwestern came up with six sacks to SIU's 0.
Player of the game: Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton ran 17 times for 101 yards and three touchdowns, and caught five passes for 16 yards.
Stat Leaders: Southern Illinois
- Passing: Chris Dieker, 14-22, 115 yds
Rushing: Larry Warner, 16-58, 1 TD. Receiving: Bryce Morris, 4-32
Northwestern
- Passing: C.J. Bacher, 21-29, 184 yds
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 17-101, 3 TDs. Receiving: Ross Lane, 5-49

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... That's what you're supposed to do to an inferior team. Northwestern had few problems with Southern Illinois with a balanced offense and a great day from the defense. 3-0 is 3-0, even though the schedule hasn't been that great and Ohio is up next. At some point, the team will need C.J. Bacher to revert to his 2007 form. He was fine against SIU, completing 21-of-29 passes, but he hasn't been the playmaker he was last season despite having more experienced talent around him.

Sept. 6
Northwestern 24 … Duke 20
Northwestern got a two-yard touchdown run from Omar Conteh with just over nine minutes to play to take the lead, and then the defense held on with two big stops late in the game. Duke had its chances, but it failed to capitalize with a penalty and a few misfires ending deep drives. Tyrell Sutton ran for two Wildcat touchdowns in the first half, but Duke hung in with two Nick Maggio field goals and a 16-yard Thaddeus Lewis scoring run. Duke outgained Northwestern 472 yards to 328.
Player of the game:
 Northwestern S Brendan Smith made 11 tackles
Stat Leaders: Duke - Passing: Thaddeus Lewis, 24-42, 256 yds
Rushing: Clifford Harris, 18-86, 1 TD Receiving: Johnny Williams, 11-135
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 14-31, 226 yds
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 16-66, 2 TD. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 5-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern is learning how to win. This is a good team with plenty of veteran talent, but it was in for a dogfight against Duke. The Wildcat offense wasn’t humming. C.J. Bacher wasn’t on, the running game was held to 77 yards, and the defense couldn’t get off the field, but still the team came up with the victory in a charged up environment, at least for Duke. 2-0 is 2-0, and while the Cats still have yet to be tested by a mid-level team, as long as they improve each week, they’ll be a player in the Big Ten race.

Aug. 30
Northwestern 30 ... Syracuse 10
Syracuse held a 10-9 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to a 36-yard Patrick Shadle field goal and a two-yard touchdown run from Curtis Brinkley, and then Northwestern took over with 21 unanswered points on a 12-yard Tyrell Sutton touchdown catch, a 26-yard interception return for a score from Brendan Smith, and a two-yard Josh Rooks scoring grab. In all, C.J. Bacher threw three touchdown passes for the Wildcats, but it was Sutton and a running game that rumbled for 269 yards and controlled the game.
Player of the game: Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton ran 21 times for 144 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Syracuse - Passing: Andrew Robinson, 14-28, 103 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Brinkley, 9-49, 1 TD. Receiving: Donte Davis, 4-38
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 23-35, 215 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 21-144, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Brewer, 6-48
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Wildcats needed a little while to warm up against Syracuse, and then the offensive line took over and Tyrell Sutton looked like the Tyrell Sutton of old. The defense did a fantastic job of swarming around the Syracuse ground game and didn't allow Andrew Robinson to do much deep with the passing game. Offensively, C.J. Bacher was fine in the new up-tempo passing offense, but he could stand to be a bit more accurate. Give him another week or so and the offense should start humming, but as this game showed, as long as Sutton and Omar Conteh are running well, all will be fine.

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: While Northwestern can't take anyone lightly, the team has enough returning talent to demand a winning season with a non-conference schedule against Syracuse, at Duke, Southern Illinois and Ohio. There's no Wisconsin or Penn State, and two of three of the Big Ten road games are at Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota. QB C.J. Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton lead what should be one of the Big Ten's best offenses, while the defense should be solid even with some key losses.  
Why to be grouchy: Will the offensive line be able to reload? The Wildcats were tenth in the league in sacks allowed and the running game wasn't always there, but the O line was full of decent players from C Trevor Rees to OG Adam Crum and OT Dylan Thiry on the left side. The secondary struggled last year, and now it has to try to improve without CB Deante Battle and FS Reggie McPherson.
The number one thing to work on is: More production from the lines. The O line should've been far, far better last year, while the D line was a disappointment. 6-7, 280-pound junior-to-be DE Corey Wootton has NFL potential, and now he has to start playing like it. There was no pass rush, no push into the backfield, and not enough plays made against offenses on a roll.
Biggest offensive loss: C Trevor Rees
Biggest defensive loss: LB Adam Kadela
Best returning offensive player: RB Tyrell Sutton, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: CB
Sherrick McManis, Jr.

2007 Recap
2007 Recap: The Wildcats made progress in Pat Fitzgerald’s second year at his alma mater, but not quite enough to earn an invitation to a bowl game.  The C.J. Bacher-led passing attack kept Northwestern in most games, often having to overcome the shortcomings of a defense that was No. 10 in the Big Ten in almost every statistical benchmark.  The unit’s performance cost sixth-year defensive coordinator Greg Colby his job, creating the first big hire Fitzgerald must make as he tries to get the Cats back on the other side of .500.    

Offensive Player of the Year: QB C.J. Bacher

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Adam Kadela

Biggest Surprise: Beating Michigan State Oct. 6 in a 48-41, overtime thriller.  Bacher threw for a school-record 520 yards and five touchdown passes, avenging a brutal loss to the Spartans in 2006, and starting a three-game winning streak in October.

Biggest Disappointment: Losing to Duke on Sept. 15, becoming the first team to do so in two years.  The 20-14 home loss to a program riding a 22-game skid would haunt Northwestern, which fell one win shy of dramatically improving its postseason resume.

Look Ahead: If the defense makes strides, a likelihood, there’s enough skill position talent for the Wildcats to be back in the bowl hunt next November.  Although Bacher can be brilliant at times, he’s also thrown 27 picks in the last 18 games, something that must be addressed in the offseason.    

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Quentin Williams TE 6-3 235 Pittsburgh, PA
Williams may be the best receiving tight end in the state. He is a mismatch against a linebacker. He gets good separation and stretches the middle of the field. He has outstanding ball skills. He is dangerous in the red zone and will always find the holes in a zone coverage scheme. He needs to fill out physically and he'll become a more skilled blocker.
... Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22" honoree ... First-team all-state selection ... Played tight end, defensive end and wide receiver for the Vikings, who captured the Pennsylvania AAAA state title in 2007 ... Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" ... 2007-08 AP State Player of the Year ... Three-time All-Foothills Conference (WPIAL) ... Also a member of the Vikings' 2004-05 state championship team ... Both clubs went a perfect 16-0 ... Team won two WPIAL titles (2004 and 2007) ... Selected to play in the Big 33 Football Classic: Pennsylvania all-stars vs. Ohio all-stars ... Competed in "THE GAME," against Gateway High in the WPIAL Championship in the acclaimed best championship game ever played ... PCC won in overtime, 35-34 ... Also a standout baseball player, lettering every year as an outfielder and pitcher

Potential Instant Impact Players

Brett Nagel LB 6-4 225 Lemont, IL
SuperPrep All-American (as an athlete) ... Rivals.com All-Region and PrepStar All-Midwest Region honoree (as a linebacker) ...17th-best prospect in the Midwest (six states) by SuperPrep and the 16th-best player (third among linebackers) by PrepStar in Illinois player ranking ... Ranked the 134th-best outside linebacker nationally by ESPN/Scouts, Inc. ... Tremendous athlete who was primarily a quarterback and defensive back for Lemont ... IHSA Class 6A and Champaign News-Gazette All-State selection ... Three-time All-South Suburban Conference (Blue) honoree (2005-06-07) ... Tom Lemming's All-Area team (as a junior and senior) ... Second-team all-state selection by Chicago Tribune ... Joliet Herald, Southtown Star and Lemont Report All-Area teams ... Indians' two-time team Offensive MVP ... Four times named the Channel 6 Game MVP ... As a senior, rushed for 1,496 yards on 205 carries (7.3 ypc) and 21 TD's ... Also threw for 730 yards and 9 TD's ... As a junior, accounted for 19 TD's (13 rushing, 6 passing) and had four interceptions as a safety ... Invited to play in the Offense-Defense Bowl ... Helped lead the Indians to a three-year record of 29-8 (10-2, 8-3 and 11-3), with trips to the state playoffs each year ... Best finish came in 2007, when he directed Lemont to the state 6A title game for the first time in school history ... In a 2007 first-round win over Highland Park, rushed for 247 yards and three scores ... Finished 2007 as the state runners-up, falling to Joliet Catholic ... High Honor Roll each semester ... Illinois State Scholar ... Wendy's High School Heisman candidate ... Two-time academic all-state honoree

David Nwabuisi ATH 6-1 230 Bellaire, TX
Earned All-Southwest Prepatory College honors as a running back and linebacker at Episcopal High School ... Totaled 51 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble his senior season ... As a running back, gained 1,400 yards on 213 carries (6.6 ypc) and had 14 receptions for 300 yards ... Scored 20 TD's in 2007 ... Set school marks for career rushing and scoring, as well as single-season scoring and total offense ... Two-time all-conference track and field selection ... Holds the Knights' shot put record ... Also captained that squad, as well as the Knights' basketball team ... Playing in Houston's All-Star Classic game

Rest of the Class

Nick Adamle OL 6-5 298 Wheaton, IL
Brian Arnfelt DE 6-4 243 Stillwater, MN
Hunter Bates DB 5-9 159 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Martin Bayless WR 6-2 200 Missouri City, TX
Jared Carpenter DB 5-10 186 Bowling Green, KY
Alex Daniel RB 5-11 191 Roswell, GA
Neal Deiters OL 6-9 342 Elmhurst, IL
Demetrius Dugar DB 5-11 175 Aldine, TX
Jeremy Ebert ATH 6-0 178 Hilliard, OH
Demetrius Fields WR 6-0 192 Dallas, TX
Caleb Harper DB 5-11 175 Murfreesboro, TN
Evan Luxenburg DT 6-3 280 Beachwood, OH
Jeravin Matthews WR 5-9 170 Canonsburg, PA
Brian Mulroe OL 6-6 263 Wilmette, IL
Stone Pinckney LB 5-11 202 Columbia, SC
Chuck Porcelli OL 6-8 285 Lombard, IL
Jeff Radek OL 6-6 277 Naperville, IL


 

2008 Northwestern Wildcats

Dec. 29
2008 Alamo Bowl
Missouri 30 … Northwestern 23 OT

Missouri overcame a sluggish and sloppy performance to win in overtime on a seven-yard Jeremy Maclin touchdown catch. Northwestern went backwards on its overtime possession, with a fumble forcing a fourth down Hail Mary into the end zone, picked off by William Moore. Mizzou got the spark it needed with a minute left in the first half on a 75-yard Maclin punt return for a score, but the Wildcats answered right away coming out of the locker room on a 46-yard touchdown catch from Ross Lane Northwestern got three touchdown passes from C.J. Bacher including a 35-yarder to Eric Peterman to start the scoring and a 23-yard to Ross Lane to give the Wildcats a 23-20 lead. Jeff Wolfert made three field goals for Missouri, including a 37-yarder to tie it up with just under three minutes to play, but he missed a 44-yarder with no time left on the clock to force overtime.
Player of the Game: Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon made 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, half a sack, broke up a pass, and made two quarterback hurries. 
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 27-43, 304 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 29-114. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 7-101, 1 TD
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 27-44, 200 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Derrick Washington, 15-44. Receiving: Chase Coffman, 7-67
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Alamo Bowl …Third down conversions: NU 11-of-21 – Mizzou 7-of-16 … Sacks: Mizzou 5 for 43 yards – NW 1 for 1 … Total offense: NU 376 – MU 311 … Chase Daniel threw three interceptions and was outpassed by C.J. Bacher 304 yards to 200 … 2nd quarter time of possession: NU 12:24 – Mizzou 2:36.

- 2008 NU Preview 
-
2007 NU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2008 Record: 9-4

Aug. 30 Syracuse W 30-10
Sept. 6 at Duke W 24-20
Sept. 13 Southern Illinois W 33-7
Sept. 20 Ohio W 16-8
Sept. 27 at Iowa W 22-17
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE 
Oct. 11 Michigan State L 37-20
Oct. 18 Purdue W 48-26
Oct. 25 at Indiana L 21-19
Nov. 1 at Minnesota W 24-17
Nov. 8 Ohio State L 45-10
Nov. 15 at Michigan W 21-14
Nov. 22 Illinois W 27-10
Alamo Bowl
Dec. 29 Missouri L 30-23 OT

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2007 Record:
6-6

Sept. 1 Northeastern W 27-0
Sept.8 Nevada W 36-31
Sept. 15 Duke L 20-14
Sept. 22 at Ohio State L 58-7
Sept. 29 Michigan L 28-16
Oct. 6 at Mich St W 48-41 OT
Oct. 13
Minn. W 49-48 2OT
Oct. 20 Eastern Mich W 26-14
Oct. 27 at Purdue L 35-17
Nov. 3 Iowa L 28-17
Nov. 10
Indiana W 31-28
Nov. 17 at Illinois L 41-22

Nov. 22
Northwestern 27 … Illinois 10
Northwestern took a 13-0 lead into halftime as Stephen Simmons ran for a one-yard score and Ross Lane caught a 14-yard touchdown pass for all the points the team would need. Illinois came out of the locker room and put together its best drive of the day, finishing with a one-yard Jason Ford touchdown run, but that would be it for the end zone. The Cats put it away with an 18-yard Eric Peterman catch as part of a run of 11 unanswered points in the final 9:08.
Player of the game: Northwestern DT Kevin Mims made seven tackles, two sacks, and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: Illinois - Passing: Juice Williams, 20-36, 212 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Juice Williams, 25-94. Receiving: Daniel Dufrene, 6-51
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 22-33, 230 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Stephen Simmons, 22-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 8-111, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Nine wins? Northwestern? Give the coaching staff credit for patching things together through major injuries and a loss to Indiana that should’ve set an awful tone for the final stretch. Against Illinois, the offense got hot early and came through with enough points early on to set the tone and make the Illini press. The NU defense took care of things with a great pass rush and a nice day against the run. NU needs Tyrell Sutton back for the bowl, Stephen Simmons is too limited, but there’s no arguing with the overall results. This season showed that Pat Fitzgerald really can coach.

Nov. 15
Northwestern 21 … Michigan 14
In lousy weather conditions that eventually turned into a snowy day, C.J. Bacher connected with Ross Lane for a 17-yard touchdown early in the second half and with Eric Peterman for a 53-yarder just over two minutes later. The Northwestern defense did the rest as Michigan, who outgained NU 264 yards to 257, couldn’t get back on the board after getting a three-yard touchdown run from Nick Sheridan in the first quarter and a three-yard blocked punt for a score from Ricky Ross midway through the second.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher completed 17-of-29 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Michigan - Passing: Nick Sheridan, 8-29, 61 yds
Rushing: Carlos Brown, 23-115. Receiving: Greg Mathews, 5-46
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 17-29, 198 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Stephen Simmons, 22-56, 1 TD. Receiving: Ross Lane, 7-77, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern needed a big win in the Big House. Michigan might be struggling, to put it mildly, but it was coming off a dominant win over Minnesota and was shut down by the Northwestern defense, especially though the air. The Wildcat offense didn’t exactly show up with the running game. Stephen Simmons isn’t the type of back to work around, and to beat Illinois next week, the offense will either need a huge game from C.J. Bacher or the coaching staff will have to get extremely creative.
 

Nov. 8
Ohio State 45 … Northwestern 10
Ohio State got a huge day out of its backfield as Chris Wells ran for a two-yard score and a 55-yard dash in the first half, while QB Terrelle Pryor threw three touchdown passes highlighted by a 34-yarder to Brian Robiskie in the fourth. Northwestern tied it at seven with a one-yard Mike Kafka scoring run, but that would be it outside of a 25-yard field goal.
Player of the game: Ohio State RB Beanie Wells ran 28 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: Mike Kafka, 18-27, 177 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Mike Kafka, 29-83, 1 TD. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 6-78
Ohio State - Passing: Terrelle Pryor, 9-14, 197 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chris Wells, 28-140, 2 TD. Receiving: Brian Robiskie, 3-58, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern likely wouldn’t have had won against Ohio State even if C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton were in the backfield, but the injuries have proven to be too big a problem. Mike Kafka did what he could, but he was a one-man offense with Omar Conteh out. If Northwestern has to win on Kafka’s arm, there will be problems. Now, after the way Michigan played against Minnesota, there has to be a concern that the Wolverine defense could stuff the Wildcat ground game. Kafka will have to start pushing the ball deeper if Bacher isn’t able to go.

Nov. 1
Northwestern 24 … Minnesota 17
Minnesota came into the game as the nation’s leader in turnover margin, but it turned out to be a late interception that lost the game. Tied at 17 and pushing for a possible late game-winning score, Gopher QB Adam Weber’s pass was tipped into the hands of Brendan Smith, who weaved and worked his way 48 yards for the touchdown with 12 seconds to play. That big defensive moment overshadowed the terrific game from Mike Kafka, the Wildcat quarterback who ran for 217 yards and threw a perfectly lofted 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert along with a two-yard touchdown pass to Josh Rooks. Minnesota got a pick six of its own with a perfectly timed play from Traye Simmons, who took a Kafka pass 23 yard for a second quarter score. Neither offense scored in the second half.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB Mike Kafka completed 12-of-16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and he ran 27 times for 217 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 31-51, 327 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 16-53. Receiving: Ben Kuzina, 7-98
Northwestern - Passing: Mike Kafka, 12-16, 143 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Kafka, 27-217. Receiving: Jeremy Ebert, 3-48, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... All of a sudden, Northwestern goes from left-for-dead after a loss to Indiana, and with C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton out, to right in the hunt again for really big things after the stunning win over Minnesota. With seven wins, Northwestern is going to a bowl game for sure; it’s all gravy now. It’s time to get greedy with Ohio State, at Michigan and Illinois to go. Win two of the three and a New Year’s Day Florida bowl is possible. Win all three and (gasp!) an at-large BCS spot is actually in play.

Oct. 25
Indiana 21 … Northwestern 19
Northwestern turned it over five times, lost RB Tyrell Sutton and QB C.J. Bacher to injuries, and couldn’t stop Ben Chappell. Filling in for a banged up Kellen Lewis, Chappell threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Damarlo Belcher in the first quarter, and he ran for a three-yard score. Mitchell Evans threw 28-yard touchdown pass on a trick play to Tandon Doss for a third quarter 21-12 lead and, as it turned out, the win. Sutton ran for a one-yard touchdown, but was lost to a wrist injury, and Bacher ran for a three-yard touchdown, and tried to come out and play, but limped when he was out there.  
Player of the game: Indiana S Austin Thomas made 10 tackles and two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 21-34, 155 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 27-77, 1 TD. Receiving: Ross Lane, 5-31
Indiana - Passing: Ben Chappell, 21-34, 219 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Bryan Payton, 11-42. Receiving: Tandon Doss, 8-107, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... In a disastrous game for Northwestern, the Wildcats lost to Indiana, lost RB Tyrell Sutton to a wrist injury, and for a time, QB C.J. Bacher to a hamstring problem. At six wins, the Wildcats are bowl eligible, but they were eligible last year, too. They need a seventh win to be assured of a bowl game, and it’s not going to be easy with at Minnesota, Ohio State, at Michigan and Illinois to close out. On the plus side, the pass rush was excellent with Corey Wootton remaining unblockable. However, the D didn’t force any turnovers to offset the five the O gave up.

Oct. 18
Northwestern 48 … Purdue 26
Purdue led 6-0 after the first quarter on two Carson Wiggs field goals, and then the Northwestern offense went nuts. Eric Peterman caught a 45-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring, and then he hit Sidney Stewart on a 30-yard scoring pass. C.J. Bacher ended up with three touchdown passes and a touchdown run as the Wildcats went on a 48-13 run broken up by a 32-yard Greg Orton touchdown catch and a two-yard Kory Sheets run. Sheets added a 76-yard touchdown dash when the game was well out of reach. Purdue turned it over five times.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher completed 20-of-33 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 15 times for 41 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Purdue - Passing: Curtis Painter, 26-41, 273 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Kory Sheets, 17-168, 2 TD. Receiving: Desmond Tardy, 8-87 
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 20-33, 230 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 18-96. Receiving: Jeremy Ebert, 4-65
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern can come up with a big exhale after getting over the hump and becoming bowl eligible with a dominant win over Purdue. C.J. Bacher started to look like the C.J. Bacher of last year, while the offense was diverse and creative to blast away on the poor Boilermaker defense. On the down side, losing star LB Malcolm Arrington to an injury will hurt. The defense is playing well and it can’t afford to be without its key run stopper for too long.

Oct. 11
Michigan State 37 … Northwestern 20
MSU jumped out to an early 17-0 lead helped by good field position and Northwestern mistakes. Javon Ringer ran for two touchdowns and Brian Hoyer threw short touchdown passes to Garrett Celek and Andrew Hawken to keep the Spartans comfortably ahead. The Wildcats got the offense moving, outgaining MSU 459 yards to 297, but couldn’t get closer than 10 points after the first quarter. C.J. Bacher threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Rasheed Ward and ran for a four-yard score, but he threw two interceptions.
Player of the game: Michigan State RB Javon Ringer ran 35 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: Brian Hoyer, 14-20, 169 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Javon Ringer, 35-124, 2 TD. Receiving: B.J. Cunningham, 4-44
Michigan State - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 34-61, 283 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 23-139. Receiving: Ross Lane, 9-113
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... As good as the Wildcats have been, they can’t make mistakes and beat a team like Michigan State. The three turnovers, without forcing any, and with few big deep plays, NU never got any hold of the game. C.J. Bacher was throwing, attempting 61 passes, but he wasn’t able to get the ball in a place where his receivers could do anything with it. Even with the passing game the focus, Tyrell Sutton had a fantastic game. Purdue and Indiana are beatable over the next few weeks. The Wildcats can quickly get back on track.

Sept. 27
Northwestern 22 … Iowa 17
Northwestern is off to its best start since 1962 by scoring the final 19 points of the game and holding on a late Hawkeye drive. C.J. Bacher threw three touchdown passes, including two to Eric Peterman in the second half. The defense shut out the Hawkeyes over the final 32 minutes while holding on as Iowa got down to the Wildcat eight in the final few minutes before stalling. Iowa turned the ball over five times, but got out to a bit early lead on an 18-yard Shonn Greene touchdown run and a 45-yard Andy Brodell touchdown catch. But Northwestern was too sharp on both sides of the ball the rest of the way.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher went 28-of-45 for 284 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, while running three times for 15 yards.
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 28-45, 284 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing:
Tyrell Sutton, 24-77. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 10-94, 1 TD
Iowa
- Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 21-30, 238 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Shonn Greene, 21-159, 1 TD. Receiving: Andy Brodell, 8-126, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There are still going to be doubters considering the schedule isn’t all that tough, but the win over Iowa at Iowa should open some eyes. Tyrell Sutton was held in check, but C.J. Bacher stepped up. The defense gave up yards, and got ripped up in the first half, but it started to force turnovers and held firm in the second half. Now it’s time to truly get excited. There’s an off-week before home games against Michigan State and Purdue. With no Penn State or Wisconsin on the schedule, it’s time to start dreaming big.

Sept. 20
Northwestern 16 ... Ohio 8
Amado Villarreal hit three first half field goals and Omar Conteh ran for a one-yard score as Northwestern beat Ohio to get out to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1962. Ohio was able to get a 12-yard Andrew Mooney touchdown catch in the third quarter, but it had two field goal attempts blocked in the second half. The Wildcats held Ohio to just four yards rushing helped by five sacks, but QB C.J. Bacher threw four interceptions. Malcolm Arrington made 11 tackles, a sack, and three tackles for loss with a forced fumble for the Wildcats.
Player of the game: Northwestern DE Vince Brown had seven tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick.
Stat Leaders: Ohio
- Passing: Boo Jackson, 27-42, 228 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Rushing: Donte Harden, 9-19. Receiving: LaVon Brazill, 9-79
Northwestern
- Passing: C.J. Bacher, 18-35, 133 yds, 4 INTs
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 9-76. Receiving: Eric Peterman, 7-61

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense has played better than it has in years. The test will come against Iowa next week, but the Wildcats stuffed the Ohio running game with a tremendous game from the defensive line. Ohio had to worry about Corey Wootton, and Vince Brown came up big making big play after big play, while Malcolm Arrington was all over the place. However, the offense struggled as C.J. Bacher still has yet to find his groove this year. Four interceptions and only 133 yards on 18-of-35 passes aren't going to get it done in the Big Ten.

Sept. 13
Northwestern 33 ... Southern Illinois 7
Amado Villarreal hit four field goals and Tyrell Sutton scored on touchdown runs from 44 and 15 yards out in an easy win. The Wildcats held the Salukis to a 19-yard Larry Warner touchdown run and 263 yards of total offense, but SIU hurt itself with ten penalties for 105 yards. Northwestern came up with six sacks to SIU's 0.
Player of the game: Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton ran 17 times for 101 yards and three touchdowns, and caught five passes for 16 yards.
Stat Leaders: Southern Illinois
- Passing: Chris Dieker, 14-22, 115 yds
Rushing: Larry Warner, 16-58, 1 TD. Receiving: Bryce Morris, 4-32
Northwestern
- Passing: C.J. Bacher, 21-29, 184 yds
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 17-101, 3 TDs. Receiving: Ross Lane, 5-49

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... That's what you're supposed to do to an inferior team. Northwestern had few problems with Southern Illinois with a balanced offense and a great day from the defense. 3-0 is 3-0, even though the schedule hasn't been that great and Ohio is up next. At some point, the team will need C.J. Bacher to revert to his 2007 form. He was fine against SIU, completing 21-of-29 passes, but he hasn't been the playmaker he was last season despite having more experienced talent around him.

Sept. 6
Northwestern 24 … Duke 20
Northwestern got a two-yard touchdown run from Omar Conteh with just over nine minutes to play to take the lead, and then the defense held on with two big stops late in the game. Duke had its chances, but it failed to capitalize with a penalty and a few misfires ending deep drives. Tyrell Sutton ran for two Wildcat touchdowns in the first half, but Duke hung in with two Nick Maggio field goals and a 16-yard Thaddeus Lewis scoring run. Duke outgained Northwestern 472 yards to 328.
Player of the game:
 Northwestern S Brendan Smith made 11 tackles
Stat Leaders: Duke - Passing: Thaddeus Lewis, 24-42, 256 yds
Rushing: Clifford Harris, 18-86, 1 TD Receiving: Johnny Williams, 11-135
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 14-31, 226 yds
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 16-66, 2 TD. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 5-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Northwestern is learning how to win. This is a good team with plenty of veteran talent, but it was in for a dogfight against Duke. The Wildcat offense wasn’t humming. C.J. Bacher wasn’t on, the running game was held to 77 yards, and the defense couldn’t get off the field, but still the team came up with the victory in a charged up environment, at least for Duke. 2-0 is 2-0, and while the Cats still have yet to be tested by a mid-level team, as long as they improve each week, they’ll be a player in the Big Ten race.

Aug. 30
Northwestern 30 ... Syracuse 10
Syracuse held a 10-9 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to a 36-yard Patrick Shadle field goal and a two-yard touchdown run from Curtis Brinkley, and then Northwestern took over with 21 unanswered points on a 12-yard Tyrell Sutton touchdown catch, a 26-yard interception return for a score from Brendan Smith, and a two-yard Josh Rooks scoring grab. In all, C.J. Bacher threw three touchdown passes for the Wildcats, but it was Sutton and a running game that rumbled for 269 yards and controlled the game.
Player of the game: Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton ran 21 times for 144 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Syracuse - Passing: Andrew Robinson, 14-28, 103 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Brinkley, 9-49, 1 TD. Receiving: Donte Davis, 4-38
Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 23-35, 215 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 21-144, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Brewer, 6-48
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Wildcats needed a little while to warm up against Syracuse, and then the offensive line took over and Tyrell Sutton looked like the Tyrell Sutton of old. The defense did a fantastic job of swarming around the Syracuse ground game and didn't allow Andrew Robinson to do much deep with the passing game. Offensively, C.J. Bacher was fine in the new up-tempo passing offense, but he could stand to be a bit more accurate. Give him another week or so and the offense should start humming, but as this game showed, as long as Sutton and Omar Conteh are running well, all will be fine.

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: While Northwestern can't take anyone lightly, the team has enough returning talent to demand a winning season with a non-conference schedule against Syracuse, at Duke, Southern Illinois and Ohio. There's no Wisconsin or Penn State, and two of three of the Big Ten road games are at Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota. QB C.J. Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton lead what should be one of the Big Ten's best offenses, while the defense should be solid even with some key losses.  
Why to be grouchy: Will the offensive line be able to reload? The Wildcats were tenth in the league in sacks allowed and the running game wasn't always there, but the O line was full of decent players from C Trevor Rees to OG Adam Crum and OT Dylan Thiry on the left side. The secondary struggled last year, and now it has to try to improve without CB Deante Battle and FS Reggie McPherson.
The number one thing to work on is: More production from the lines. The O line should've been far, far better last year, while the D line was a disappointment. 6-7, 280-pound junior-to-be DE Corey Wootton has NFL potential, and now he has to start playing like it. There was no pass rush, no push into the backfield, and not enough plays made against offenses on a roll.
Biggest offensive loss: C Trevor Rees
Biggest defensive loss: LB Adam Kadela
Best returning offensive player: RB Tyrell Sutton, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: CB
Sherrick McManis, Jr.

2007 Recap
2007 Recap: The Wildcats made progress in Pat Fitzgerald’s second year at his alma mater, but not quite enough to earn an invitation to a bowl game.  The C.J. Bacher-led passing attack kept Northwestern in most games, often having to overcome the shortcomings of a defense that was No. 10 in the Big Ten in almost every statistical benchmark.  The unit’s performance cost sixth-year defensive coordinator Greg Colby his job, creating the first big hire Fitzgerald must make as he tries to get the Cats back on the other side of .500.    

Offensive Player of the Year: QB C.J. Bacher

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Adam Kadela

Biggest Surprise: Beating Michigan State Oct. 6 in a 48-41, overtime thriller.  Bacher threw for a school-record 520 yards and five touchdown passes, avenging a brutal loss to the Spartans in 2006, and starting a three-game winning streak in October.

Biggest Disappointment: Losing to Duke on Sept. 15, becoming the first team to do so in two years.  The 20-14 home loss to a program riding a 22-game skid would haunt Northwestern, which fell one win shy of dramatically improving its postseason resume.

Look Ahead: If the defense makes strides, a likelihood, there’s enough skill position talent for the Wildcats to be back in the bowl hunt next November.  Although Bacher can be brilliant at times, he’s also thrown 27 picks in the last 18 games, something that must be addressed in the offseason.    

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Quentin Williams TE 6-3 235 Pittsburgh, PA
Williams may be the best receiving tight end in the state. He is a mismatch against a linebacker. He gets good separation and stretches the middle of the field. He has outstanding ball skills. He is dangerous in the red zone and will always find the holes in a zone coverage scheme. He needs to fill out physically and he'll become a more skilled blocker.
... Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22" honoree ... First-team all-state selection ... Played tight end, defensive end and wide receiver for the Vikings, who captured the Pennsylvania AAAA state title in 2007 ... Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" ... 2007-08 AP State Player of the Year ... Three-time All-Foothills Conference (WPIAL) ... Also a member of the Vikings' 2004-05 state championship team ... Both clubs went a perfect 16-0 ... Team won two WPIAL titles (2004 and 2007) ... Selected to play in the Big 33 Football Classic: Pennsylvania all-stars vs. Ohio all-stars ... Competed in "THE GAME," against Gateway High in the WPIAL Championship in the acclaimed best championship game ever played ... PCC won in overtime, 35-34 ... Also a standout baseball player, lettering every year as an outfielder and pitcher

Potential Instant Impact Players

Brett Nagel LB 6-4 225 Lemont, IL
SuperPrep All-American (as an athlete) ... Rivals.com All-Region and PrepStar All-Midwest Region honoree (as a linebacker) ...17th-best prospect in the Midwest (six states) by SuperPrep and the 16th-best player (third among linebackers) by PrepStar in Illinois player ranking ... Ranked the 134th-best outside linebacker nationally by ESPN/Scouts, Inc. ... Tremendous athlete who was primarily a quarterback and defensive back for Lemont ... IHSA Class 6A and Champaign News-Gazette All-State selection ... Three-time All-South Suburban Conference (Blue) honoree (2005-06-07) ... Tom Lemming's All-Area team (as a junior and senior) ... Second-team all-state selection by Chicago Tribune ... Joliet Herald, Southtown Star and Lemont Report All-Area teams ... Indians' two-time team Offensive MVP ... Four times named the Channel 6 Game MVP ... As a senior, rushed for 1,496 yards on 205 carries (7.3 ypc) and 21 TD's ... Also threw for 730 yards and 9 TD's ... As a junior, accounted for 19 TD's (13 rushing, 6 passing) and had four interceptions as a safety ... Invited to play in the Offense-Defense Bowl ... Helped lead the Indians to a three-year record of 29-8 (10-2, 8-3 and 11-3), with trips to the state playoffs each year ... Best finish came in 2007, when he directed Lemont to the state 6A title game for the first time in school history ... In a 2007 first-round win over Highland Park, rushed for 247 yards and three scores ... Finished 2007 as the state runners-up, falling to Joliet Catholic ... High Honor Roll each semester ... Illinois State Scholar ... Wendy's High School Heisman candidate ... Two-time academic all-state honoree

David Nwabuisi ATH 6-1 230 Bellaire, TX
Earned All-Southwest Prepatory College honors as a running back and linebacker at Episcopal High School ... Totaled 51 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble his senior season ... As a running back, gained 1,400 yards on 213 carries (6.6 ypc) and had 14 receptions for 300 yards ... Scored 20 TD's in 2007 ... Set school marks for career rushing and scoring, as well as single-season scoring and total offense ... Two-time all-conference track and field selection ... Holds the Knights' shot put record ... Also captained that squad, as well as the Knights' basketball team ... Playing in Houston's All-Star Classic game

Rest of the Class

Nick Adamle OL 6-5 298 Wheaton, IL
Brian Arnfelt DE 6-4 243 Stillwater, MN
Hunter Bates DB 5-9 159 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Martin Bayless WR 6-2 200 Missouri City, TX
Jared Carpenter DB 5-10 186 Bowling Green, KY
Alex Daniel RB 5-11 191 Roswell, GA
Neal Deiters OL 6-9 342 Elmhurst, IL
Demetrius Dugar DB 5-11 175 Aldine, TX
Jeremy Ebert ATH 6-0 178 Hilliard, OH
Demetrius Fields WR 6-0 192 Dallas, TX
Caleb Harper DB 5-11 175 Murfreesboro, TN
Evan Luxenburg DT 6-3 280 Beachwood, OH
Jeravin Matthews WR 5-9 170 Canonsburg, PA
Brian Mulroe OL 6-6 263 Wilmette, IL
Stone Pinckney LB 5-11 202 Columbia, SC
Chuck Porcelli OL 6-8 285 Lombard, IL
Jeff Radek OL 6-6 277 Naperville, IL


 

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