Andy and Roger are not confident in House Wildcat this week. The rest of the squad isn’t super confident with the average margin of victory at 5.2 points while the detractors (who will be marched through the town square butt naked if NU wins) have an average margin of defeat at 26.5 points.
Bye week. While it looks like Roche’s prediction of “bedtime” likely won last week as no reports saw any players at the Keg or the Deuce, it was too hard to tell 100% so everyone goes 0-0 last week and we’re right where we were 7 days ago. Sidenote: anyone who would’ve guessed “Halloween Costumes” would’ve gotten the win.
Onto the predictions…
This should be an interesting one ladies and gents. We have two very mediocre football teams coached by a great motivator and a great recruiter. Who will prevail?
Game Summary: Penn State comes out firing and scores 10 quick points. The Cats respond with a lengthy drive that results in a field goal to end the quarter down 10 -3. Christian Hackenberg throws two touchdown passes in the second. Unfortunately for him, one is to Dean Lowry, which makes the half time score 17-10. The second half kickoff is returned to the 13 yard line by Solomon Vault when he stops turns and throws the ball to the other side of the field where Jelani Roberts is waiting. Roberts takes the ball 94 yards to pay dirt. Tie ball game. A defensive struggle consumes the rest of the half, until Hackenberg completes a 60 yard bomb to move up 6 with a minute remaining. Unfortunately, Penn State’s fat kicker misses the extra point. The kicker then compounds his mistake by kicking the subsequent ball out of bounds. From there Thorson engineers a 60 yard drive culminating in a 25 yard screen pass to Justin Jackson, who scampers into the endzone with 4 seconds remaining. Mitchell hits the extra point, ball game.
Score: 24-23 Cats
Play of the Game: Dean Lowry is mistaken for a PSU running back by Hackensack, and returns a swing pass
Player to Watch: Clayton Thorson – How did the bye week help or hurt his development?
Warrior to Watch: Me, I’m going to Bama vs LSU, and I may never leave.
Game to Watch: Bama vs LSU- Look for me in the crowd. Roll Tide
In unprecedented fashion, I am showing some serious loyalty by writing my prediction in flight while on my way back to Chicago for the game tomorrow. I was having a lovely time on my work trip here, and was invited to stay longer for leisure, but the ‘Cats take priority here. As they say in Mexico, c’est la vie!
The West Lot always beats Riviera Maya.
I don’t have a lot of confidence here. In Fitzy-poo’s entire tenure at NU, the ‘Cats have 1 exactly 1 game after a bye week…. and it came against FCS school. Suffice to say, whatever Fitz does to “help the team loosen up and get some rest” doesn’t work a lick.
On a more concerning tactical note, Penn State’s D line is the best in the country by a mile. It’s not even close. They have 3 sure fire first rounders and we have one of the worst O lines in Power 5 football. “Fine, we’ll air it out”, you say. Well…. problem. First, we can’t throw. Second, PSU just doesn’t allow pass yards. They’re #4 in the nation in pass defense (‘Cats come in at #6).
Game Summary: Our D will hold it’s own for a majority of the first half. Penn State’s O line is poor and Hackensack is overrated. I expect each team to be pretty damn vanilla for a quarter and a half before Penn State finds some holes in the middle to exploit us through the air. I’ll start getting really concerned and blowing my vuvuzela at this point, because our offense will b failing miserably at giving our defense a break.
PSU leads 10 – 0 at the half.
I fear the second half will be much like the Iowa game. We still won’t be able to move the ball. Thorson will be getting sacked left and right and the defense is going to run out of gas at some point.
PSU will score 3 TDs in the 2nd half and we’ll get 2 useless field goals.
Score: PSU 31 – ‘Cats 6
Play of the Game: One of the useless field goals noted above.
Player to Watch: Thorson and Mick… per usual. Does Mick have anything creative up his sleeve with a week extra to prepare? Will he get the pocket moving to help Clayton? Doubtful….
Warrior to Watch: Grayhack…. he’s going to Bama – LSU, so that will be wild. Honorary warrior, Shane, is a strong candidate here too as he will be making his annual pilgrimage from Detroit to Evanston for this one.
Game Summary: This one gets ugly early. Penn State’s D-Line dismantles our O-Line and get to Clayton early and often. Three-and-out is the name of the game for the ‘Cats offense, and we give PSU too much of an advantage in field position to keep Hackenberg and co. out of the endzone. When the clock strikes 0, Penn State will have racked up 10 sacks and the ‘Cats will have not reached the endzone. ‘Cats lose big.
Score: PSU 34 – NU 6
Play of the Game: Clayton manages to avoid the heat and scramble for 30 yards or so to set up a field goal.
Player to Watch: While Clayton is the obvious choice, I’ll go with the O-Line. If they can somehow hold their own, we might have a shot.
Warrior to Watch: Roger – fresh of a tequila filled work adventure and accompanied by Shane Patrick O’Connor, this brisk Saturday morning has all of the makings of a wild one. Low attendance, EPL on the TV, and the ‘Cats getting blown out. Watch out NUPD.
Game to Watch: ND @ Pitt – Someone needs to knock the Irish out of the CFP talks. Why not Pitt?
Game Summary: ‘Cats come back big after playing Nebraska. Last year, they all thought we’d get crushed. We were the ones who knocked.
They may have a great D line but Thorson is coming off maybe his best game (albeit against a shitty team but that’s neither here nor there (but it was there – in Lincoln, actually)) (You don’t often see parenthesis (within) the parenthesis like I did in that last sentence – nbd).
Score: NU 24- PSU 16
Play of the Game: Clayton TD pass the play after another 50+ yard run.
Player to Watch: Dean Lowry – can this guy sack the Hack?
Warrior to Watch: Roger – with Shane in attendance, it could be epic. Could easily be Ferrero Rocher – he is in PA so he’ll actually get to root (watch?) for his team playing their team. Could make for some epic baby deliveries, “If we score on this play, you name him ‘Northwestern’?”
Game to Watch: ‘Cats vs PSU
The ‘Cats are 1-4 after byes the last three years. Up until last year, Penn State had owned the ‘Cats during Fitz’s tenure. The ‘Cats don’t have a very good offense – it didn’t look all that great against Nebraska and they have a very shitty D. Penn State has a much better defense, and a much more intimidating offensive line. All in all it doesn’t look great for our Kitties, but we do own the Penn State coach, James Franklin (we’re 3-0 against him lifetime, counting back to his days at Vandy).
Game Summary: The team that jumps out to an early lead will win this game. I think the ‘Cats get an early TD, and make this a game. As I mentioned the Penn State D line is a monster, and I’m sure they’ll get to Bigsby Thorson, but I’m really not sure it matters too much. The kid doesn’t seem to get rattled. In fact, he seems to be better on the plays where things breakdown and he has to use his legs. I think the bigger problem will be with the WR corps – am not sure they’re going to be able to get open. They couldn’t get open against the ‘Huskers secondary, which is among the worst in the B1G.
If the ‘Cats can run the ball, play solid D, and keep this a low scoring game, they’ve got a chance. At the end of the day, I’m going with the ‘Cats because the creator of Game of Thrones will be at the game. That’s got to give us an edge, but hey what do I know. I’m .500 for picks on the year, so people are starting to say, “You know nothing, Greg Bag.”
Game Score: NU 17 – PSU 14
Play of the Game: Willie the Wildcat comes out at halftime and reenacts one of the final scenes from GoT season 1 as he lifts his sword and decapitates that ugly Penn State ragdoll mascot, Ned Stark style.
Player to Watch: Christian Jones – after he turned into Reek down in Lincoln and looked brutal, can he revert back to Theon status on Saturday and catch a ball or three?
Warrior to Watch: Shane O’Connor. Shane and I are big Game of Thrones fans and will be going into the game at halftime to watch the band play the GoT theme. Our main goal is to get George R. R. Martin out to the tailgate, and hold him hostage in our van until he finishes the next book.
Game Summary: It’s finally football weather!! The boys are going to have to adjust to the cold after a whole week of 70 degrees in Chicago. The Warriors will be loading up on fireball and Moscow Mules to compensate. This game is going to be a back and forth fight to the death. The Cats are clearly the Lannisters in this situation while Penn State are the Starks. NU has a shitload of money and a great city in Chicago while PSU is in the middle of nowhere with their little nittany lions for their best friends. In similar fashion to season 1, quarter 1 will result in the Stark/PSU patriarch, Ned Stark/Hackenberg get (spoiler alert) decapitated/sacked into oblivion. NU records 3 sacks in the 1st quarter and gets a scrambling TD from Thorson/Ser Jaime. PSU hits back with an air assault on King’s Landing/Evanston and hits back with a TD. The Cats make a couple predictable plays earning McCall the “Mad King” nickname, but nail a FG to go into the half up 10-7.
The second half is an all out war offensively as both teams go back to back in the TD category giving Penn State their brief and only lead of the game. Dean Lowry/Tyrion is the bane of Hackenberg’s existence with 2 sacks a pass breakup and a huge tip which leads to a Walker Jr./Tommen pick to the NU 15. Thorson finally runs a good option play, pitching it to JJ who runs it into the endzone. Cats go up 10 as the crowd puts their hands up in the air while the Warriors stand in protest/shame….*bell ring*…..shame…*bell ring*…..shame. The team from the north puts through a FG, but is unable to take down the mighty Lannisters as the Cats win 24-17.
Game Score: NU 24 – PSU 17
Play of the Game: Lowry tip to Walker Jr. for the INT. George R.R. Martin pees himself a little in the excitement.
Player to Watch: Dean Lowry. Kids on fire.
Warrior to Watch: Andy Day. Will he make it to the tailgate?! And what condition will he be in when he leaves for the wedding?
Other Game to Watch: Has to be Bama vs LSU in order to see Hack on the big screen. LSU murders the tide (a group of elephants if you didn’t know) and knocks their sorry asses out of playoff contention.
For the first time in weeks, I’ll be able to watch the Cats! Better yet, I’ll be in Mid-Pennsylvania watching the B1GCats take on Penn State. I love how Fitz and Franklin don’t like each other. I love that James Franklin is already using a one hour time change as a preemptive excuse. Britt and I will be watching it at a local watering hole with 99% PSU fans. And I can’t wait.
Game Summary: I think Penn State jumps out to an early lead, and goes into halftime up by a score. Let’s say 13-3. But Fitz wins a halftime locker room pushup contest and inspires Bigsby to light up the scoreboard in the second half. A huge scramble after breaking free on a blitz and a long throw to King Solomon Vault gets NU fans jazzed and gets Mike drinking celebratory Yuenglings. Cats keep the lead the rest of the way, and Penn State fails on a late 4th down try to seal the deal
Score: Cats 27 – Nittany Lions 20
Play of the Game: Fitz doing ‘shups at halftime
Player to Watch: Bigsby. C’mon guys, let’s get some offense going.
Warrior to Watch: Trent. He loves GoT, and since NU alum GRRM will be there, look for Gregory to get wild. Also, will his Indiana over Iowa prediction hold?