Prediction Saturday – Nevada

It’s Roger Rankin’s birthday, and Northwestern football is back in a few hours! What a day, indeed. Here are our picks for the opening game against Nevada.


It’s opening day and the ‘Cats are ready to roll, as are the West Lot Warriors. After a long summer Northwestern football is finally back and we are jacked up. The ‘Cats open at home against the Nevada Wolfpack, a pretty random team who we paid a hefty chunk of change ($1M +) for the honor to visit Ryan Field. I remember my freshman year in ’07 when the ‘Cats visited Nevada and needed a last minute CJ Bacher drive to claim victory. Let’s hope Fitz and the squad can avoid that kind of drama this time around.

I do hear Colin Kaepernick, former Nevada QB, may show up to the game (jk lol)…I mean he is unemployed right? Can’t imagine he’s got anything better going on this weekend.

Game Prediction:

I’m not going to pretend to know anything about the Wolfpack. From the Google I’ve learned that they’ve got a new coach and are implementing a new Air Raid offense this year – a far cry from the more run-heavy pistol offense they’d run in years past. Avid ‘Cats pessimists will remember a few years back when the Cal Bears and Jared Goff ran an Air Raid offense that gave us fits as Cal threw it all over the Northwestern D. Funny enough, only one of the two QBs from that game is a current starter in the NFL (what up Trev?).

I think the ‘Cats secondary holds up this time around and limits Nevada through the air. I have a hard time thinking that Nevada has gotten this whole Air Raid scheme down pat given they’ve never run it in an actual game and have a brand new coach. They do have a transfer QB from Alabama, but we don’t even know if he’ll be starting – the Wolfpack still have not named a starting QB which strikes me as odd. Sure, there is potential the Wolfpack will be able to use the element of surprise and jump on us early, but I feel pretty good about our offense putting up points on this D.

I see Clayton Thorson starting slowly without his security blanket Austin Carr, but then picking up steam as the game goes on and he gets into a rhythm. JJ will run for 150+ yards – expect a huge day from him on the ground, and hopefully we’ll see Johnny Moten in the second half if we’ve got a big lead. Our D will bend but not break – very curious to see how our linebacker corps hold up without Anthony Walker in the mix.

Game Score:

‘Cats pull it out, 33-14

Player to Watch:

Most people would say Thorson, but I’m going with our new kicker, Charlie “Ice” Kuhbander! Jack Mitchell had his turn in the sun, and while he wasn’t great it doesn’t matter given he made two clutch kicks to beat Notre Dame. But I’m actually excited to have a new kicker to root for – Kuhbander was a highly rated kicker out of OH and I’m expecting some big things. Hoping Kuhbander gets a few attempts on Saturday.

Warrior to Watch:

Andy Day is in town and two for one O Bombs will be flowing in the West Lot. Also, Northwestern has done a nice little local media push this week about their new in-stadium food offerings – a great idea given the amenities in Ryan Field and Welsh Ryan have been pretty poor ever since I’ve been attending games. This year, they’ve got the mecca of food options – Buffalo Joe’s – available in the stadium and close to our seats. A Day, a Buffalo Joe’s connoisseur, is jacked up and ready to grub. My only question is will they have RC Cola?

Other Game to Watch:

The obvious answer is Alabama-FSU, the earliest regular season matchup between top five teams as far as I can remember. But I’m going with Wyoming v. Iowa. Wyoming has a stud QB who is projected to be a first round NFL pick – I watched their bowl game last year and he was legit. Should be a good early season test for the Hawkeyes.



…… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back.

We’ve been on a hiatus since the Warriors (and extended family) somehow managed to avoid getting kicked out of Yankee Stadium while playing the team from “the shit city” of Pittsburgh. Hack was even half naked for the better part of the game (before disappearing) in sub zero temperatures.

That was a lot of fun. Let’s hope this season provides as much fun.

We’re working with some knowns here (JJ will be great, the O line will be suspect, the secondary should be good…. are you ok, Watkins?), but we’re working with just as many unknowns. Will the receivers fill the Carr void? Will Clayton continue to develop? Will we be able to generate a pass rush?

These questions are not atypical for a college football team in late August. That’s why this is #fun every year.

Game Prediction:

Hell if I know. This is the first game (see questions above).

I also don’t know the first thing about Nevada… though I have been to a casino in Reno. Nice bathroom there. My sources tell me the Wolfpack will be implementing an Air Raid offense. In years past, that has been thoroughly annoying (see Cal 2013 and 14). That said, the ‘Cats secondary should be one of the strengths of the team. I’m also, like Bag, not sold that you’ll see much success in Game 1 with a new coach implementing a new system. Nevada doesn’t have the talent of Alabama. When given options, few would choose to play football for a school in Reno.

I expect the game to be sloppy early. A lot of penalties and punts. The ‘Cats will start to move the ball with some dink and dunk action involving a lot of Macan Wilson. This will help open the run game. ‘Cats lead 13-3 at the half (blocked extra point… don’t blame the kicker though. If he’s lucky, we’ll name our WiFi after him in 4 years time).

Nevada may score some bullshit special teams TD early in the 2nd half to close the gap to 3, but I expect the ‘Cats to turn it on from there and pull away thanks in part to some forced turnovers (a pick from Godwin and a devastating QB hit forcing a fumble by Lancaster).

Game Score:

Cats 27

Nevada 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Everyone… it’s week 1. I’ll go with 2 units though: the O line and the D ends. The success of our season is predicated, in large part, on these 2 groups doing their jobs.

Warrior to Watch:

Me (I’m turning 30 on Saturday); however, I won’t be in attendance. So, the honor goes to Andy Day. He’s in town (#loyal) for the opener and he’s beyond elated that Ryan Field has upped their concession game and will be offering Buff Joe’s. Will he come through and get the dish working in Week 1?

Other Game to Watch:

Florida vs. Michigan. This game is intriguing to me because a) half of UF’s team is suspended for illegally selling shit and b) neither team has a viable quarterback. This could be a truly ugly game, but it will set the tone for the rest of the season for whoever wins.



Tis the season. Welcome back everyone. Nothing better than coming back from a sabbatical and going straight into football season.

Sadly I won’t be attending this week’s game, but will be watching from Valencia, Spain, while two Warrior faithful get married. Congrats to Mike & Ana Parrott!!

Game Prediction:

I have no clue. Haven’t been paying any attention to any preseason stuff. NU will look good offensively through the air, but will have a bit of a tough time in the trenches with JJ busting out a few big runs. Defense won’t look too hot and allow a couple of TDs in the 1st and 3rd quarter.

Game Score:

Cats 33

Nevada 17

Player/Unit to Watch:

Mick McCall: Will his play calling look any different than years past?

Warrior to Watch:

Hack. He’s done a lot of the setup work this summer and also failed to paint the van purple so he has a lot to prove. Odds are the grill and speakers will work, but not confident about anything else. This will lead him to drink heavily to compensate.

Other Game to Watch:

Akron @ PSU. Zips are a 30.5 point dog so I’m not expecting a win, but will give us a look into the team we’re playing at homecoming



Why does’t Oedipus curse?

Because he kisses his mother with that mouth.

Game Prediction:

I don’t know Nevada. I don’t know much about this Northwestern team, now that I think about it.

Game Score:

#B1GCats 38

Reno 20

Player/Unit to Watch:

The WR Core. Carr is gone, and Bigsby needs sure hands and good routes.

Warrior to Watch:

It’s Bag. He knew about the Szechuan Sauce coming back before everyone else. WHAT OTHER SECRETS IS HE HIDING.

Other Game to Watch:

Akron @ PSU. Agree with Paul. Every PSU game is the game to watch for me. Still deep in Nittany Lion territory

Thanks, and have a great day



So today I just realized this is going to be my 11th consecutive home opener. Holy shit I’m getting #old. Speaking of 11 years ago, we played Nevada that same season (after beating archrival Northeastern in the opener). We barely squeezed out a win after trailing with less than 2 minutes in the game. Will tomorrow look similar? I hope not… but hey… time for the game prediction.
Game Prediction: Justin Jackson is poised to have a field day. The question is, will the rest of the offense be able to keep (albeit a terrible rush defense) from stacking the box? I think they will stall at times, and will allow for Nevada to hang around. Also, our secondary has the potential to be the best in the nation. But after losing some studs in the front seven, namely Anthony “Cakes” Walker and Ifeadi Odenigbo, one has to wonder if the defense will take a step back this season as a unit. Oh an finally… will we be able to kick a field goal? Survey says…unclear. I think this game looks eerily similar to 2007.
Game Score: NU 36 – Nevada 31
Player to Watch: Offensive Line – can this rag tag bunch give Clayton time to go through his progressions?
Warrior to Watch: Z-Von – his first tailgate as a Kellogg student. Will he try to impress his fellow classmates by shotgunning one too many Miller Lites?
Other Game to Watch: I’m going to say Florida-Michigan. Should get a sense of how strong the Wolverines are going to be.
The ‘Cats are back in black…in purple.  Let’s go.  We have been waiting for this day since that beautifully cold day in the Bronx when the ‘Cats took down Pitt.  As others noted for this game, hopefully the excitement is just as high and the Grayhack is more shirted.  What a game that was.  If Ryan Field sold beer, we’d be in for another treat.  NU comes in with a lotta excitement surrounding the team and that can go only two ways.  Let’s hope it goes positively and is warranted.  With a few returning leaders, there isn’t really an excuse to start the season slowly.
Game Prediction: I think the ‘Cats start slow (because they do every season and even though favored, probably keep it closer than desired early).  There is no excuse to start poorly but it will happen.  The team will rely on a heavy and early dose of Justin Jackson The Ball Carrier.  Clayton throws for about 200 yards but really isn’t needed.  The running game is solid and brings us to the W but doesn’t blow Nevada out of the water early. so it’s a close first half.
Game Score: NU 31, Nevada 14
Player to Watch: Secondary….with injuries, can they play well?
Warrior to Watch: Without Roger, who will stand on the van and yell to the mountain tops?  Who will curse the offense and belittle the defense?  I’m going to say ADay – he’s in from SF, he’s ready to rage, and you know he is going to have a breakout performance.  He’ll be the early season favorite for Warrior of the Year (not even a real thing).
Other Game to Watch: FLorida State and Alabama.  Big match up name-wise.

One thought on “Prediction Saturday – Nevada

  1. Pingback: Prediction Saturday – Duke | West Lot Warriors

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