Prediction Friday – Ball State

[Editor’s Note: Paul is submitting just the score under protest as he is the only one doing stuff for the group (including posting this) without a shred of appreciation from the rest of the Warriors. Look for a full out abstention next week!]

Trent’s Duke pick gives Roger the top slot. Andy’s failure to submit a pick last week puts him in dead last.

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
1-1
2-1
3-0
2-1
2-1
2-1
2-1

And now this week’s predictions…

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo

Paul

Game Score: ‘Cats win 24-5

Trent

It’s hard to believe we’re going into this Ball State game at 3-0, and ranked #17 in the polls. At the beginning of the year, I thought we’d be 1-2 at this point, and maybe 2-1 if we were lucky. The ‘Cats may have gotten a bit of luck to-date, but they’re a legit 3-0 and look like they can legitimately compete in the B1G West this year.

I’m pumped for this game, the “Late Night Bowl”. And no, I’m not calling it that just because it’s a night game – it just so happens that former Late Show host David Letterman is an alumnus of Ball State, and his replacement and superior Stephen Colbert is a Northwestern grad. Just as Colbert took the job from Letterman (or Letterman decided to retire, whatever) we’re going to take this one from the Cardinals.

Game Summary: I see the ‘Cats getting out to a slow start in this one, as Ball State keeps it close for the first quarter and a half and keeps our offense at bay (not a very difficult task if they play like they did at Duke last week). An Anthony “Cakes” Walker strip sack changes the momentum of the game midway through the second quarter, as Walker picks up the loose ball and takes it back for a TD. It’s all ‘Cats from there on out, as our defense completely shuts down the Ball State offense, which is led by a freshman QB, and the ‘Cats offense capitalizes off some good field position all day to manufacture some points. This should be a good game to build up Clayton “Bigsby” Thorson’s confidence, and with veteran WR Cam “Bam Bam” Dickerson back on the field, he at least has another capable target.

Game Score: ‘Cats roll, 27-6

Play of the Game: Anthony “Cakes” Walker builds off his national defensive player of the week honors by returning a fumble to the house.

Player to Watch: Justin Jackson/Cam Dickerson: For JJ, I’ll be watching to see how many carries he gets in this game. This “should” be a win for the ‘Cats, so Fitz should definitely spread the carries out and give some more PT to Vault and Long, as JJ is being run into the ground so far this year. For “Bam Bam” Dickerson, I’ll be watching to see if he can get some separation from the coverage. We need another capable WR who can get open and give our young QB some easy, open throws.

Warrior to Watch: Roger Rankin – a newly anointed Kellogg student, will he be able to get out of class in time to make the game? If the ‘Cats win, will he and the rest of the Warriors be dancing in the dark?

Other Game to Watch: BYU at Michigan. This should be a tough one for the Wolverines, with the ranked Mormons coming to town. BYU is a legit squad – they’ve beaten two capable teams in Nebraska and Boise State, and should have pulled the upset last week at UCLA. If Michigan wins this, however, they’ll likely be ranked in a few weeks when the ‘Cats come to the Big House – which would at least give us another ranked team on our schedule to build up that SOS.

ZVON

The ‘Cats are in a good spot.  3-OHHHHHH is better than most people expected for these young felines.  No overlooking this game – and I don’t think the ‘Cats do.  Our D is stout.  Our defense is good.  Our defense is unreal.  Our offense, at the moment, is not.  That’s okay – get some nice Thorson and JJ runs and maybe a touchdown pass or two and we’ll be BALLLLLLIN’ against these Charlie Cardinal’s (we’ve already manhandled one cardinal, let’s do so again) that hail from a the 51st state, Ball.

Game Summary: ‘Cats come out rumblin’, not stumblin’ nor fumblin’, on their first drive and punch it down BSU’s stupid throat.  We take no prisoners.  JJ gets 50 yards at least on the drive (all purpose) and he ends it with a TD of his own.  Ball State receives kickoff.  Ball State runs three plays and punts.  The ‘Cats once again run it down their dumb dumb throats.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  ‘Cats are up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.  21-3 at half.  Then we pump the breaks some but not too much, ‘Cats win 31-9.

Game Score: ‘Cats deflate the Ball, 31-9

Play of the Game: Thorson runs one for 40+ while breaking tackles and then pulling away from the D.

Player to Watch: I too like Cam Dickerson here.  The kid is back, he’s healthy, and he’s ready to play.  He’s made some huge plays in the past, let’s see what he can do.  Fun fact: he once dunked a ball on me in a pickup game.  Can he dunk Ball State?

Warrior to Watch: Paul Huettner – he’s been on edge lately.  Can we get him to relax and have some fun with the kids?  If so, and the ‘Cats do as they should, we’ll be dancing in the moonlight.

HACK

Yeah though I walked through the valley of hottness, I had no fear for Morty was with me. Despite the unbearable heat last week, my merry band of Cat supporters were able to bring home a big W. So, the Cats are now 3 and 0, hit it Nelly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeZZr_p6vB8 . A side note the uniforms that the Cats wore last week were pure fire. Major props to Under Armor.

Game Summary: Ball State is starting a Qb with less experience than Clayton and the CATS defense is BADD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB-awm6vsd0 . After what we saw from Kevin Hogan last weekend compared with how he played against the Cats, I think its safe to assume that Ball State’s Qb1 will not be having a good day. Northwestern’s goal in this game should be to get Clayton back on track with short easy throws that take advantage of his ability to move. With a heavy dose of the run game, the Cats should have a relatively easy Saturday.

Game Score: ‘Cats dominate 42 – 3

Play of the Game: Clayton Thorston gets his swagger back and rushes for a 54 yard td on the first drive.

Player to Watch: Traveon Henry – He had some bone crushing hits last week and some impressive dance moves on the sideline. Can he improve upon both?

Warrior to Watch: Paul Huettner: Not sure what’s been up with Paulie lately, but he seems tense. Is he going to let off a legendary amount steam at the tailgate? Only time will tell…

Other Game to Watch: Alabama vs LA Monroe : We’re not so much watching the game here, but rather watching the interactions between Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban. The internet damn near broke yesterday with Pope watch and the Kiffin rumors.( I would like to apologize to his holiness for including him in a sentence with Lane Kiffin.) Were any of the rumors true? Were they all?

DAY

First off – shouts to InsideNU on this great highlight of why we are in trouble (with a capital T) if the offense (and Mick McCall) don’t get their shit together fast. I don’t think it should be too costly tomorrow should our offense stumble, but its gonna cost us soon.

Game Prediction: Unfortunately, I don’t think this is going to be the knockout win everyone is hoping for. Ball State will put up the highest point total of any Wildcat opponent this season and our offense will still look lost (and maybe at some points completely incompetent). A ‘Cats defensive score and a few defensive breakdowns by Ball State allow NU to sneak out with a win and a 4-0 start, but no one feels good about this one in Evanston (or San Francisco).
Score: 21-17 NU
Play of the Game: Matt Harris pick-6 to put this one away.
Player to Watch: Normally this is reserved for a player you think is going to have a big (or breakout) game. I’m going to say Clayton Thorson here, but not because I’m expecting him to break out. Can this guy prove that he is capable of throwing the ball and running our offense? He looked flat out terrible last week – hoping he can turn it around and give us some signs of hope.
Warrior to Watch: Roger Rankin – a night game, not much drama in the air, lots of other college football on in the West Lot… the conditions are perfect for Uncle Roger to get nice and drunk and end up at Buffalo Joe’s after the game.
Other Game to Watch: Ohio @ Minnesota. Like Trenten, I’ll keep it here in the B1G. Can the Gophers (like us) get their act together on offense? Can a good MAC team in Ohio exploit a stout Minnesota defense? Should be a good barometer for next week.

RANKIN

3 and Ohhhhhhhhhhh. I didn’t see this coming. But, the ‘Cats D has been stout and this team deserves to be 3-0 after some spectacular defensive performances. If the offense figures itself out (even to a degree), we could be in for a fun ride. Side note: could you imagine how good this team would be if we had the ’00 offense or the ’05 offense or the ’08 offense or even the ’12 offense? Talks of making the college football playoff wouldn’t be that absurd in that scenario. It is absurd for now though….

Game Prediction: I really cannot imagine Ball State posing more of a threat than Stanford and/or Duke here. That said, the ‘Cats need to show up and take care of business. We haven’t had to play from behind yet this year (I’m not counting 3-0 and 7-0 in the first half)….. and we won’t have to here either.
Despite the musical chairs being played on the offensive line, the ‘Cats should dominate the line of scrimmage. Look for big days from all 3 running backs (maybe even some Anderson action). I wish we could get Clayton going with some vertical shots, but I really don’t see that here. Fitz will keep everything close to the vest prior to B1G play if he can.
On defense, look for the D line to dominate (thanks to the secondary). The ‘Cats didn’t have a sack last week at Duke, but that’s somewhat misleading. The coverage in the secondary was on point the entire game and Sirk checked down more than any QB I’ve ever seen. I don’t expect this freshman QB for Ball State to do the same. He’s going to throw a few into heavy coverage and he’s also going to be picked up off the Ryan Field grass a half dozen times.
‘Cats pull away in the second half by completing controlling the clock and both lines of scrimmage.
Oh…. and Ball State doesn’t score a point. This D is out to prove something.
Score: 27-0 NU
Play of the Game: Ifeadi Odenigbo absolutely laying the hammer with a blind side sack and forced fumble.
Player to Watch: This is reserved for Clayton “F*cksaw” Thorson until further notice. No need to add any commentary here.
Warrior to Watch: Paul – As others have noted, Paul has been a bit tense recently. With the Warriors now dispersed throughout the country, there’s less operational support in the Chicagoland area prior to Saturdays. Paul, the man in control that he is, has taken on more responsibility than in year’s past. While we’re all appreciative of that, it has led to a few hostile emails recently. I expect Paul to get after it on Saturday night. He’ll be showing everyone some of his night moves.
Other Game to Watch: Georgia Tech (-9) @ Duke – This is pretty obvious. I like Sirk and the Blue Devils in this one. I think they have a good chance of exploiting the GT secondary with vertical shots…. something that wasn’t there last week. If this is the case, NU’s defense will only be further validated and the rest of the B1G should be very scared… because there aren’t any more Kevin Hogan’s or Thomas Sirk’s on our schedule.

ROCHE

Game Prediction: No babies last week, guys. Not one patient delivered during my shift last Saturday. W-T-Heck.

Anywho – ‘Cats. They’ll prolly win. I think their defense is going to do some work on Ball State, and I think Bigsby is going to have a big (if not boring) game.

Score: 37-10 CATS

Play of the Game: “Cakes” Walker with a safety early to set the tone

Player to Watch: Clayton Thorson. Obvs. How will be improve. Also, side note. Are we using Bigsby as a nickname or are we using F*cksaw? I like both

Warrior to Watch: I think Paul needs a big ol’ hug. I’d be happy to give one if I were in town. I’ll designate ZVon to give him one instead. He’s a good hugger.

Other Game to Watch: Who’s Penn State playing this week? San Diego State? That. Watching Penn State not live up to expectations while living in central PA is the definition of schadenfreude. GO AZTECS

 

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