Prediction Friday – Nebraska

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Homecoming is here! The Nebraska Cornhuskers come into Evanston to take on the ‘Cats, after Northwestern pulled out a big road win in East Lansing last week. Even though the Huskers are 0-5, the Warriors are wary of a close game this week and split on the outcome.

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
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While some of the Warriors had a rough night at the Mark II Lounge last night in honor of Homecoming, the group will be ready to go bright and early for the game tomorrow. If the ‘Cats win, rumor has it a repeat trip to the Deuce may be in order.  Doc Roche did not submit a prediction this week, so instead his selection this week is brought to you by our favorite bar. On to the picks…

ROGER

Game Summary:

Apathy went from a 10 a few weeks ago to a 6 last week and now it’s actually rather low. I’d give it a 3.5 at the moment. As Bag alluded to, the ‘Cats still technically control their own destiny in an awful division and there’s reason to believe the season isn’t entirely shot after the last 2 weeks. That warrants a 3.5.

I don’t know what to make of last week. Mark Dantonio is consistent. That’s why his teams have been pretty good for the past decade. But, that’s a double edged sword for him. With his consistency comes consistent losing to the ‘Cats. I foreshadowed the victory in a post that didn’t see the light of day (thanks, Paul) and I figured it would be the result of an MSU team unwilling to deviate from their pro style offense and run stuffing defense. That’s exactly what happened. NU lives for that shit. It means MSU levels the playing field and doesn’t require us to ever make an adjustment. That’s great because we probably wouldn’t make the necessary adjustments.

I think Nebraska is likely to be predictable as hell this week too. There’s only one problem there. Nebraska’s predictability doesn’t play into our hands the way MSU’s pro style garbage does. Their predictability means they’ll have a QB running wild every other play. When he’s not doing that by design, he’ll be heaving shit downfield to receivers running verticals and deep posts. We suck at defending that. I don’t see any reason why we won’t suck at defending that on Saturday. The Corn People will make plenty of mistakes and get called for plenty of penalties (they love the yellow flag), but they are also going to score points on NU’s defense.

So…. we turn to the offensive side of the ball. Nebraska’s defense sucks. There’s no way around that. They are unbelievably bad against the run. That said, it doesn’t appear as though we can run the ball…. regardless of the opponent. There’s no way around that either. So, Clay Dog’s going to be airing it out again this week if Mick has any sense. I expect that to work for the most part. The real question here is how much is “the most part”. That comes down to 2 things which will decide the game:

  1. Does Mick actually have any sense?Per the above, if we can’t run the ball then we should abandon the run immediately. Who gives a shit how we get yards. Passing on first, second and third down last week was a hell of a lot more effective than throwing an incomplete pass on first down, trying to run on second down and losing three yards and then getting behind the chains for third and eternity. Simply put, don’t run the ball if you can’t. The Air Raid is a thing and it can work.
  2. Will Mick roll the pocket?Clayton will make plays and we’ll get yards even if we play this game straight up with the conventional philosophy of trying to create a viable pocket. Having said that, the pocket will routinely break down and stall drives. We’ve seen this time and time again already this year. Last week, our good friend Mick made his first in game adjustment in 23 months and actually rolled the pocket to buy Clayton some more time and open up the field. It worked pretty damn well. If the pocket is breaking down early in this one, Mick better look to roll (preferably right more often than left).

Here we are again. The game comes down to Mick. These aren’t big asks. He successfully accomplished both feats last week. I’m cautiously optimistic he’ll do the same again this week.

Don’t let me down, Mick.

Game Score: ‘Cats 37 – Huskers 31

Play of the Game: After a miserable three and out to start the game that includes a sack due to a collapsed pocket, a run for -3 yards and a screen pass for 4 yards, Mick rolls the pocket on the first play of the next drive and Clayton hits Nagel for a 64 yard TD. Nagel’s first score of the year.

Player to Watch: Joe Gaziano. Nebraska’s QB (another Martinez) will get plenty of yards with his feet in this game. The ‘Cats need to get pressure and a few sacks to create some long down and distance plays.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. It has to be Paul this week. The guy lives for Homecoming.

Other Game to Watch: Wisconsin @ Michigan. Will Wisconsin lose a few conference games and finally make the B1G West interesting.

 

TRENT

Game Summary:

Kudos to the three Warriors who rightly sniffed out a fraudulent MSU last week and picked the ‘Cats to win – in a blog post that, like many of our posts, never saw the light of day. You’ll have to take my word for it.

The ‘Cats played their best game of the season on defense and actually scored in the second half for once. This season is starting to feel a lot like 2016 – two years ago we started out 1-3 with an atrocious loss at home (losing to Illinois State in 2016, and Akron this year) and then started out 2-1 in conference play with the second win coming on the road in East Lansing. All of a sudden, we went from a completely throw-away year to having irrational thoughts about competing for a B1G championship, and doing some monkey math to project out where the other B1G West teams could pick up losses. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m such a sucker. But, hope springs eternal in the fall.

Setting aside the games down the road and the path ahead of us, let’s look at this week. I’m scared shitless. Nebraska is 0-5 and coming into Evanston on Homecoming. Scott Frost, the foretold savior of the Huskers, is now on the verge of coaching Nebraska to their first ever 0-6 start. Meanwhile, the UCF team he left down in Orlando (shout out Winter Park, FL where I’m from originally) is 5-0 and looking like they could go undefeated for a second straight year. Nebraska has already lost at home to Troy, and narrowly avoided defeat at home to Akron (just like the ‘Cats) after the game was cancelled. So…there should be nothing for us to worry about, right?

Wrong. All the factors are lined up for an absolutely backbreaking loss. This is an absolute must win game for the Huskers and for Scott Frost – he simply cannot go 0-6 to start off his Nebraska coaching career. For some reason I’ve watched a lot of Huskers football this year, and they’re not as bad as their record indicates. They have a talented freshman QB who makes stupid mistakes but is an athlete and has speed. They can move the ball on offense, but they just make absolutely horrible mistakes at the worst times – whether it’s a crucial turnover or a bad holding call. They should have beaten Colorado in week two – a Buffaloes team which is now 5-0 and ranked in the top 25.

I think the Huskers are going to move the ball on the ‘Cats, and their QB Martinez will pick up several conversions on third down with his legs. Please, please put Paddy Fisher on the QB as a spy. I beg you. The weakest spot for Nebraska is their run defense – a weakness that the ‘Cats undermanned RB squad may not be able to exploit. I see a high scoring game that goes back and forth, with neither team ever taking control. The ‘Cats have a shot to tie late with a FG…but it’s no good. The Huskers ruin the ‘Cats on Homecoming – hope I’m wrong.

Game Score: ‘Cats 27 – Huskers 30

Play of the Game: Bowser finally gets some PT and busts a big run up the middle. The West Lot rejoices.

Player to Watch: Isaiah Bowser. If there was ever a game to let loose the bruising freshman RB, it’s this one. Nebraska’s interior run defense is atrocious.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. It’s homecoming and the Pike alumni will be out. ‘Nuff said.

Other Game to Watch: Chiefs @ Pats on Sunday Night Football. The first ever matchup of the two best QBs of all time.

 

HACK

Game Summary: No one has ever called East Lansing the land of dreams, but last Saturday the Cats awoke from a season-long nightmare to defeat Felton Davis and his merry band of mediocre football players. The Victorious Cats return home to face the defeated Nebraska Cornhuskers, but this isn’t the cakewalk people are predicting. While Nebraska has yet to win a game, they have talent, so unlike next week vs Rutgers, the Cats will actually have to show up and win the battle on the line of scrimmage. This game will be won in the trenches and the Cats should actually dominate here. Expect a heavy dose of Solomon Vault and John Mooooten as Nebraska’s defense is shredded like pulled chicken. Nebraska will move the ball, but their mistake-prone offense will shoot itself too many times in the foot to actually make this a game. Cats win big.

Game Score: ‘Cats 49 – Huskers 21

Play of the Game: Flynn Nagel completes a quarterback throwback to Clayton Thorson for a 47-yard touchdown. JK its goes to Kyric Mc(Donalds)Gowan and let me just say I’m loving it.

Player to Watch: Earnest Brown 4.0 – I saw some nice plays from him last week. Time to take the next step

Warrior to Watch: Paul – His girlfriend is in town on homecoming… How will he split his time between the Alumni and her?

Other Game to Watch: Bears vs Dolphins – The will Ryan Tannehill be able to walk after game

 

PAUL

Game Summary: This one is always a big game for me because I was raised a Husker fan (the cornhead will NOT be coming out this year). My dad, a born and bred Nebraskan will be in attendance for the tailgate and game and he desperately wants a win. Going to be tense in the stands. I also see this as a make or break game for the Cats and one that will help boost ND ticket prices and fan interest for what will surely be the best home game in years. Hopefully last week wasn’t a fluke and the Cats got their shit together.

NU will have to neutralize Martinez and force turnovers which have been the Huskers’ Achilles heel this season. I’m hoping for a lot of offense here as NU figures out their run game against a terrible Nebraska ground defense and Clayton “Bigbsy” Thorson keeps threading the needle on passes like we saw last week in East Lansing. Nebraska will stay in it the entire game and there will be 6 lead changes so prepare to get on the Cardiac Cats Express. Luckily, a busted coverage pass to Flynn Nagel seals the deal in Q4.

Game Score: ‘Cats 38 – Cornhuskers 35

Play of the Game: Thorson places a perfect 44 yard pass to Flynn Nagel for his first TD of the season.

Player to Watch: O-Line. Going to need to protect Bigsby in this one if we can’t get the run game going.

Warrior to Watch: ZVon. Seems like the time is right for the purple suit to come out.

Other Game to Watch: Wisco / Michigan. Who’s going to come out on top of this marquee West vs. East matchup? My money is on Wisco.

 

A DAY

Game Summary: I’ve been doing some mental reflection. Do we think we turn things around in October in recent years because we start slow and make adjustments …. or is it that the Big Ten West is just that bad? I’m aware MSU is not in the West, but our upcoming slate seems….manageable despite the fact that… ya know… we lost to Akron. Speaking of bad, Nebraska is bad. They will score points on us. It should be an entertaining game to watch. I think the ‘Cats squeak out another to get back to .500.

Game Score: ‘Cats 28 – Cornhuskers 27

Play of the Game: Trick play! Something fun happens.

Player to Watch: Defense in general. We haven’t been forcing any turnovers to switch the field and flip the momentum.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. He loves homecoming. All of his Pike buddies will be there.

Other Game to Watch: LSU vs Georgia

 

ZVON

‘Cats lose.

 

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Football Week: ‘Cats 2018 Season Outlook

fitzgerald
This is the best week of the year. The start of the football season is something that brings the Warriors a lot of joy. Summer brings along a high with the beautiful weather, but a low in terms of sports watchability. Fall is our last gasp at warmth outside but our intro into the meat of the sports calendar. I’ve been thinking about the start of NU’s season since early Spring, dreaming of the day when it would be appropriate for me to write this post. So, here goes.

Northwestern football has experienced a golden era in the past 10 years. Golden for us is a few 10 win seasons and mid level bowl victories, sprinkled in with some 5-7 down years. But, with amazing new facilities there is forward momentum and a palpable excitement around the program. The 2018 schedule is fantastic, especially at home. It’s also brutally difficult. We may be better than last year but still end up with a much worse record. The ‘Cats will be underdogs in at least half of our games, but we do typically perform better in that role.

I could see this season going one of two ways, and it all comes down to our early season games to set the tone:

Path one: We lose to Purdue and Duke early, implode against Wisco and Michigan and miss out on a bowl at 4-8 or 5-7.

Path two: We come up clutch against Purdue and Duke, get into a groove and compete with the big dogs at home throughout the season, stealing one or two games and finishing at 7-5 or 8-4.

I’m leaning towards the latter because I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I also think our team will be better than last year…if Clayton Thorson is healthy and able to play. Early signs from training camp are pointing to him being ready for Purdue, but we still don’t have the full picture.

I have my doubts. When Persa had been injured in the offseason we heard a similar hype train leading into September (#PersaStrong) but he wasn’t able to play for the first few games of the year. We’ll wait and see – if we do want to compete with the Badgers and Wolverines of the world we’ll need Thorson to be healthy.

Thorson aside, the pieces are there for the rest of the offense to be decent. I actually think our O line will be pretty good. I weirdly feel great about our running backs, even with the loss of Justin Jackson The Ball Carrier. Jeremy Larkin seems ready to take the reins, and watch out for true freshman Isaiah Bowser. He has a great name and is already one of my favorites. I mean, just check out this photo.

WR will be a wildcard position – I think Skowronek will have a nice year and look out for slot receiver Riley Lees who played sneaky well last year in limited action. Flynn Nagel could also take a step forward.

On the other side of the ball, our defense should be very good. Paddy Fisher is an absolute beast – he broke onto the scene last year and will improve with a year under his belt. Fisher plus a very solid D line has gotten me optimistic about our run defense. That’s going to be critical to our success this year, since none of the QBs we will face are too intimidating (supposedly Michigan’s Shea Patterson is fantastic but I’ll believe it when I see it). If our D line can get to the QB, we may also be able to cover up some holes in the secondary.

All in all, I feel great about our team this year and about the health of this program. I’d much rather have the schedule we do than be playing a cupcake laden lineup. We’re playing 11 Power Five opponents this year when most SEC schools are only playing nine. I’d rather go down fighting in a blaze of glory against Michigan than beat up on Bowling Green. Ryan Field will be hyped up in 2018, and the West Lot will be bumping. Come join us.

Regardless of everything I’ve outlined above, the beauty of this season is that it will be a resounding success if just one thing happens. Beat Notre Dame!

Prediction Saturday – Purdue

 

cakes

The ‘Cats take on Purdue tonight in a cold one. Here are the Warriors’ picks for the game!

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats have won three straight in OT. We’re ranked in the top 25. It’s crazy to believe we’re here now after a 2-3 start to the season.

Purdue is not bad at all. They’re a reinvigorated team under new head coach Jeff Brohm, who has injected creativity and breathed life into the Boilermakers’ offense. This will not be a cakewalk by any means – I’m expecting a tight and low scoring game tonight.

Game Score:

‘Cats 17 – Purdue 14

Player to Watch:

Charlie Kuhbander. It’s going to be around 30 degrees with a slight potential for some rain or snow. Will he have to make a big kick in the elements?

Warrior to Watch:

Grayhack – winter is coming.

Other Game to Watch:

Notre Dame @ Miami. Both of these teams are still in the playoff hunt, but a loss would likely eliminate ND. It’s all about the U.

 

ROCHE

I ran into a grizzly in the forest today.

I tried to play dead, but instead I played dad and now the bear can ride a bike.

‘Cats win (by 14)

 

ZVON

‘Cats by 21

 

HACK

Cats by 21

Prediction Saturday – Iowa

Kain Colter, Micah Hyde

Let’s beat Io_a. Go ‘Cats!

 

ROCHE

Game Overview:

Hey. Hey baby. Hey what? Go Wildcats!

Game Score:

#B1GCats 17 – Hawkeyes 14

Player to Watch:

The O-Line needs to give Bigsby time and need to give JJTBC some room.

Warrior to Watch:

Bag – sources tell us he’s brining a large entourage to the West Lot.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Michigan – Penn State. Can both teams lose???

 

ZVON

Game Overview:

NU and Iowa go together like Lamb and Tuna Fish. They’re always a classic game.  Flashback to 2009 when I attended the game at Iowa and NU stunned a then ranked #4 Iowa. This game seems to be the utter opposite. I think we will be competitive but lose.

Game Score:

Iowa 24, Cats 13

Player to Watch:

JJTBC – how much space will the guy get? This will determine if we win or not.

Warrior to Watch:

Grayhack – how much “paia” will he eat?

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Notre Dame – USC. Because it’s a big game.

 

PAUL

Game Overview:

Cats get a breakout game this week as Mick McCall likely saves his job for another year with his mediocre performance. I think this will be a pretty balanced game on the ground and through the air. JJ will bump up the all time rushing record by another 150 yards while Thorson will see some success through the air with the Iowa secondary breaking down.

Looking for a 1 score lead heading into half time while the defense does a decent job of limiting Iowa’s run game. Also feeling a defensive TD for NU in this game.

Game Score:

‘Cats 35-23

Player to Watch:

Thorson – Going to the air this week. Needs to hit his receivers.

Warrior to Watch:

Hack – I have a feeling this is the tailgate where he reaches peak performance.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Upset in South Bend. USC beats ND by a TD.

 

HACK

Game Overview:

NU Defense vs Iowa Offense: 

I don’t think Iowa is good up front on offense or at QB. The Cats front seven has been pretty good against the run. Advantage Cats 

NU Offense vs Iowa Defense:

Clayton needs to be good Clayton and the Cats should roll. Advantage Cats

Special Teams:

Cats outside of the kicker have sucked. Hunter the Punter prove me wrong. Advantage Iowa

Coaching:

Iowa has an offensive identity and Northwestern doesn’t that starts with the man at the top. Advantage Iowa

Game Score:

‘Cats 27 – Iowa 14

Player to Watch:

Riley Lees – I saw flashes against Maryland. Hope he can build on that.

Opponent to Watch:

Josey Jewell – Overrated or Extremely Overated?

Warrior to Watch:

Honorary Warrior – Mike Parrott – Making paia at a tailgate, that’s some next level shit.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Michigan @ Penn State – Who ya got?

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats beat Maryland last week – the first time that the two teams had ever met. This means that we now own the lifetime series against the Terps at 1-0. May not seem like a big deal, but then you look at the ‘Cats series records against all Big Ten teams over the course of history. The only other Big Ten team we have a winning record against is Indiana at 47-34-1. Beyond that, the only team we’re remotely close to is Illinois, against whom we’re 50-55-1, meaning we’d need to win the next five games to even it up. Just goes to show how futile the ‘Cats were for the majority of their football existence.

Game Overview:

Iowa versus Penn State was my favorite college football game of the year so far – it had some great moments, went back and forth, and the best players rose to the occasion when it mattered most. That includes Saquon Barkley, but also Iowa’s RB Wadley, who has haunted the ‘Cats over the past few years. Iowa went toe-to-toe against PSU in that game – their defense is legit and they play their usual brand of ground and pound offense to shorten games. Think a similar prototype to Wisconsin but just worse. I see Iowa running all over us in this one, and then burning us with some play action passing. The key will be stopping the run and getting some pressure on the QB – the ‘Cats D line did a great job last week getting pressure on Maryland when they dropped back to pass.

I see this as a low scoring game – the over/under is 47 so would throw some sheckles on the under for sure. The ‘Cats kick a FG in the 3rd to take the lead, but Iowa puts together a long drive in the 4th to pull out a W at Ryan Field.

Game Score:

‘Cats 10 – Iowa 14. We’re a basketball school anyhow.

Player to Watch:

Justin Jackson had a great game last week – tearing the Terps apart and becoming the all-time leading rusher at NU. How will he fare against a tough Iowa front?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger Rankin has family in town. Will they bring us some luck?

Other Game(s) to Watch:

My sister goes to USC and will be attending the Notre Dame game. Huge one for both teams to keep their Playoff hopes alive. Fight on.

Michigan @ Penn State should also be interesting. In the NFL, I’m curious to see how Bears-Panthers plays out.

 

ROGER

The ‘Cats are back at it. After a win at Maryland last week, we’re still staring mediocrity in the face.

I’m not sure when we last played a meaningful game deep into October. This year is no different. If you care about the Pinstripe, Popeye’s, Poinsettia or Penis Bowls, then sure…. this game is meaningful But, I don’t (no offense to the Pinstripe Bowl as that provided fantastic entertainment last year).

There’s really no difference in my mind between the ‘Cats going 5-1 or 6-0 down the stretch and going 3-3. We got beat soundly by the two quality teams on our schedule and we don’t play any top tier teams for the rest of the year. So, we’re battling to be Kings of the Mediocre…. as we’ve done for 10 years now.

On to the game….

Game Overview:

Iowa is trying to avoid free fall here. Coming off 2 straight losses and a bye week (the B1G loves pitting NU against opponents coming off bye weeks), will they be able to rebound? I think Iowa’s last second loss to Penn State was demoralizing and I also think they aren’t that good. So, this could make for an interesting game.

Iowa likes to run the ball. Ferentz is Fitz 2.0. He’s boring as hell and his teams are usually tremendously average. Thankfully, our run defense is actually pretty stout. We held the ground games of Wisconsin and Penn State in check, so I’m not sure why we can’t do that here. Look for Iowa to be forced into more of an aerial attack than they’d like (also read: look for some stupid turnovers).

While I think we can have some success defensively, don’t for a second think that our offense will be half as productive as it was last week. Iowa’s defense is not Maryland’s…. don’t you worry about that. I fully expect our O line to be back to their usual ways. 15-20 QB hurries, 6-8 sacks of Thorson and 7+ negative running plays by JJTBC.

If you’re sensing a trend here, well….. so am I. This game could be an ugly affair resembling the infamous MOON game from several years ago.

All in all, I actually think the ‘Cats will be able to pull this one out thanks to some clutch kicking from Chuck-E Kuhbander. After his woeful short miss to start off his career, he has been really solid. He appears to have quite a leg too, so it would be nice if Fitz and Mick used that on 45 – 50 yard field goals rather than running “speed” options to the right for 4 yard losses on 4th and 2.

I don’t know why I think they will do that, but for some reason I’m feeling optimistic.

Game Score:

NU 20 Iowa 17

Player/Unit to Watch:

The O Line… They looked better against Maryland. But, so has every O line Maryland has played this year.

Warrior to Watch:

Rus. Why not? We’ll have a smaller crew than usual this week, but Rus will be there! Also, the Rankin clan will be in attendance. Fun times to be had by all.

Other Game to Watch:

USC @ Notre Dame – USC is a fringe contender at best at this point (though so is ND). They have been thoroughly underwhelming up to this point as has become standard for the past decade. That said, they have a chance to notch an impressive road win against a top caliber team and put themselves right back into the conversation. Sadly (and I only say “sadly” because they are playing Notre Dame) I expect them to lose… convincingly. Sam Darnold may be best served riding pine for the rest of the year if they do lose because his draft stock will continue to take a hit if he keeps throwing the ball to the wrong team. He has been great at that thus far. He’s tied with our boy Clayton Thorson for 4th most picks thrown in the country (9 a piece).

Prediction Friday – Homecoming Edition

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Penn State

The ‘Cats take on #4 Penn State for Homecoming on Saturday, and the West Lot will be hopping. Northwestern’s got an uphill battle in the game, but at least we’ll enjoy each other’s company. Here are the Warriors’ picks for Homecoming.

 

ADAY

It’s time for the return of the gif predictions – Blair Waldorf edition.

Tailgate + Game Summary:

When its 8AM and its still only the Warriors at the tailgate:

When you start getting texts from people you haven’t talked to in 4 years asking where the tailgate is at:

After an awkward conversation with someone I had a class with once freshman year:

When its time to go into the stadium, mostly to get Buffalo Joes:

Watching our offense go 3 and out on our first possession:

After PSU scores, again:

Me looking up at the booth reacting to Mick’s play calling:

Me returning to the Buff Joes window for the 3rd time:

Checking twitter to see if anyone is roasting Mick:

After the game is over, and I get home and realize the season is over:

Game Score:

Penn State 38 – NU 10

Player to Watch:

This will be the O-Line until further notice.

Warrior to Watch:

I’m gonna go Trent. I think he might get hype for this one.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Cubs – Lester is bound to explode in the 1st.

 

TRENT

Pat Fitzgerald is 4-0 head-to-head against James Franklin, going back to Franklin’s Vanderbilt days. Let’s see if Fitz and the ‘Cats can keep the streak alive as Franklin and the #4 ranked Nittany Lions crash Northwestern’s Homecoming in Evanston this weekend.

Penn State has looked impressive to-date, with a high octane offense, a stifling defense, and NFL talent all over the field. They absolutely have the feel of a title contender this year. Each team that is vying for the Playoff (excluding Alabama) has one game each year where they need some luck to play in their favor in order to win a close game on the road. Penn State already survived their scare at Iowa, coming back in an epic game to win with a walk off TD pass. That’s the kind of play that a championship caliber team needs to make in order to stay in the mix – their season already has a very special feel to it, although it’s still early and they haven’t yet played Michigan or OSU.

Saquon Barkley may be the best running back I’ve ever seen. He excels at everything – with his mix of speed, power and vision, he certainly has more tools than any running back I’ve watched. The ‘Cats have issues tackling as it is, and I see Barkley breaking a ton of tackles on Saturday.

At 2-2, the ‘Cats are in a tough spot just four games into the season. We essentially would need Wisconsin to lose three games to have a realistic chance at the B1G West title. It’s probably not in the cards at this point, so really what we’re playing for is to score a big upset and ruin someone’s season. We’ve got a great opportunity to do that this weekend. While on paper Penn State should roll us, I keep coming back to Fitz’s 4-0 record and tend to think there’s something intangible there which will play in our favor.

Game Summary:

Given that Franklin’s never lost to Fitz, he’s going to come out guns blazing. He’s had this game circled on his calendar, and being the huge douche that he is, will try and run up the score here if he can. James Franklin literally iced a kicker in the fourth quarter of a game his team was winning 56-0 earlier this year. That extreme level of hubris is going to backfire at some point, and I’m betting it happens this weekend.

I think Fitz and Hankwitz will be keying in on the run for this game – working to shut down Barkley and making McSorley move the ball through the air. McSorley has some moxie, and one of the best celebrations in college football, but he’s not an extremely accurate passer and likes to take chances. I see the ‘Cats picking McSorley off twice, with one of those turnovers going the other way for a TD. It will be critical for the ‘Cats to finish drives in this game – last week against Wisconsin they squandered too many opportunities, getting only 10 points in the first half off of four turnovers.

I like Fitz to have the team fired up for this one and ready to play. The ‘Cats pull out a squeaker with a game winning FG in OT, ruin Penn State’s season, and the Warriors host the celebration after-party in the West Lot.

Game Score:

‘Cats 24 – Penn State 21

Player to Watch:

Justin Jackson and Jeremy Larkin. Last week JJ did not look like the best RB on the team, as freshman Jeremy Larkin looked like a young LeVeon Bell with great patience running the ball. Who will get the bulk of the load this week? Will they split time?

Warrior to Watch:

Doc Roche. Deep in the heart of Penn State country, we know he’ll still be showing off his Purple Pride on Saturday.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Wisconsin @ Nebraska. Can Wisco keep to their winning ways in Lincoln?

Cubs @ Nationals. A few hours after the ‘Cats finish up, the Cubs take on the Nationals in Washington. TBD if the Warriors will make it back to Wrigleyville in time to catch the game and take some cuts at Sluggers.

 

ROGER

Fitz has never lost to Franklin.

This is arguably the worst team Fitz has ever had in a matchup with Franklin.

This is definitely the best team Franklin has had in a matchup with Fitz.

Game Summary:

If Mick doesn’t roll the pocket and/or really increase the volume of quick throws, this will be the most embarrassing offensive line performance you’ve ever seen. Franklin is a dick, but he’s also not a complete idiot and he’s cutthroat. He knows our line has problems. He’ll bring some exotic blitzes and we better not expect to have any time.

I don’t think Mick will actually do what I mentioned, so I genuinely believed that Thorson will be sacked 15 times in this game. We were sacked 10 times last week. Franklin surely saw the tape.

On defense, we looked better last week, but there’s absolutely zero chance we’ll shut down Barkley. He’s the front runner for the Heisman at the moment and he’s the real deal. Look for 200 yards out of him and an absolute field day for PSU with the vertical attack.

Game Score:

PSU: 45 NU: 10

Player to Watch:

RB du jour, Jeremy Larkin. JJ has been awesome for the ‘Cats throughout his entire career. He has dealt with lousy lines and still churned out almost record numbers. Unfortunately, I think the punishing has taken its toll on him. I think Larkin is the better back at this point and I expect that we’ll continue to see more and more of him as the season progresses and less and less of JJ.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul. He invited the entire class of 2012 to the tailgate. Nice move, Paul!.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Meh… the slate of college football games sucks yet again. This seems to be a trend this season. Though, that’s to be expected when it doesn’t look like anyone has a chance of beating Alabama or Clemson.

We’ll go with the afternoon affair (Game 2) of the Cubs @ Nationals. Jon Lester, MLB’s worst pitcher in the 2nd half of the season, will be taking the mound for the Cubs. Why? Because he still has 3 years left on his contract and nobody has the balls to call a spade a spade and piss him off. Let’s hope the Cubs win Game 1 because Jon will be looking to give up 9 or more runs in the first inning for the 4th time in 4 months. I’m not even sure if anyone gives up 9 runs in the first inning in Williamsport.

 

ZVON

Game Summary:

Joe knew. But PSU will also know how to dominate us.

Game Score:

PSU: 41 NU: 13

Player to Watch:

Clayton Thorson the Ball Passer.  Will he just get brutally dominated all game and worry about trading his banana for a snack pack aka will he be a big part of a lot of sack lunches? Signs point to yes.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul – dude invited the entire Northwestern population. Sad!

Other Game(s) to Watch:

I’m going to go with Bags’ 2nd game of Bags.  He will be nice and warmed up and I think he will pull out the W with whomever his partner is, 21-15.

 

PAUL

Why NU scheduled this game for homecoming is unknown to me. Super early in the season, 11am game, #4 team in the nation that will travel well. Iowa would’ve been better. It’s just annoying. BUT its homecoming so it’s gonna be a grand old time. Maybe even Hack will rush the field painted purple and completely skip his cousin’s wedding?

Game Summary:

NU puts up a decent offensive effort, but can’t stop Saquon who puts up 300 yards on the ground.

Game Score:

‘Cats 14 – Penn State 31

Player to Watch:

Saquon Barkley – if we don’t put up a response to this beast we are done.

Warrior to Watch:

Me. Not sure I’m ready to deal with 70 people from the 5th year reunion. Need to keep the positive vibes going and not freak out.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

MSU @ Michigan. Battle for the mitt.

 

DOC ROCHE

I bought shoes from a drug dealer earlier.

I’m not sure what he laced them with, but I’ve been tripping all day.

Game Summary:

High scoring affair dazzles in Evanston. Can the #B1GCats pull off the upset and upset everybody where I live and work?

Game Score:

‘Cats 41 – Penn State 31

Player to Watch:

Can our front seven make Saquon Barkley look human?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s me, you guys. I’ll be watching with Penn State fans. How drunk will I be by halftime? Sources say delightfully drunk

Other Game(s) to Watch:

WVU @ TCU in a battle of two teams who are apparently are in the Big 12?

Prediction Friday – Wisconsin

northwestern-wisconsin

The ‘Cats are back in action after a bye week, with a huge game against the Badgers up in Madison. A trio of West Lot Warriors are making the trek up to Madtown and trying to bring back that W.

Will they be successful? Only one Warrior thinks so. On to the picks!

 

HACK

Game Summary:

6:30: Wake Up

6:45 Shower

7 Fireball

7:15 Fireball round 2 and Eggs

7:25 Shotgun beers

7:27 Paul pukes, but rallies

7:30 Power hour

8:30 Someone yells “Let the boys play!”, but little do they know the boys have been playing for two damn hours

8:37 White and Purple by Chet Haze is played

8:40 McGuire makes Pancakes

8:45 Meet Mcguire’s girlfriend

8:54 Mo is in the back singing the anthem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3xfSSrUaXk

9:00 Head to the Frat tailgate

9:07 McGuire’s girlfriend decides that she likes us

9:30 Z Von embarrasses a college kid in a shotgun off

9:32 Kyle rolls her eyes at Z Von

9:37 Hack attempts to open a beer with his forehead and fails. Gets laughed at by 19 year old girls

9:43 Someone asks Sample why he’s wearing a Washington jersey

9:45 Yocom arrives with Fire

9:47 Parrott arrives gives Purple drink to all

9:50 Anna becomes an American with her first beer bong

9:53 Packer’s fan talks shit to Mcguire assuming he is Mike Glennon

9:55 Sample superman keg stand

9:56 Sample ends his superman keg stand -86 seconds later

9:57 Yocom loudly screams in his Yocom voice, most likely is blacked out

10:03 Paul pukes again, rallies then pukes a third time

10:09 Z wins a fraticide second for Hack Yocom fails to finish

10:13 See Amery Stafford, Lament Trent not being there

10:15 Leave the fraternity, find Paul in some bushes. He rallies

10:20 Arrive at bars by the stadium

10:23 Fire buys a round of Fireball

10:25 Wisconsin fan attempts to talk shit, is distracted by cheese

10:27 The Bears still suck is played in the bar. Bears fans join in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avRHH9uAL4Q

10:31 Milwaukee Brewers spotted in attendance. They might have a game that day, but it doesn’t matter because their season is OVA

10:36 Blacked out Sample steals a small child’s balloon

10:38 Mcguire’s girlfriend decides she was wrong about liking us

10:43 A blacked out Pfeffer facetimes the group, what is said only God knows…

10:50 Get to the Seats

10:54 Hack takes off shirt to rally the boys

10:55 Usher tells hack to calm down

10:56 Paul is asleep in the stands and may have wet himself

11 Kickoff- Hello Darkness My old Friend

Game Score:

Badgers 42 – Cats 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

Justin Jackson – Is he healthy?

Warrior to Watch:

Paul: Is this real life or is this fantasy? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality.

Other Game to Watch:

Colts vs Seahawks: Jk why is this the Sunday night game? Clemson vs Va Tech – Is VT for real?

 

TRENT

When I was a young whippersnapper playing tennis and cruising the USTA U-14 Midwest circuit, I would enter a tournament, maybe win a couple rounds and then inevitably run into a higher seeded opponent who I knew was going to kick my ass. At that point, I would savor all the time I could between my last match and the next where I knew I would go down. I’d go out for long lunch runs, let other opponents take precedence ahead of me to play their matches, basically anything it took to delay the next match. I was able to hold onto that winning feeling for only so long before my name finally got called and I had to go out, shake my opponent’s hand, and then get shit on two ways from Sunday.

I savored that time between matches, after a win, and that’s exactly how I’ve felt with the ‘Cats the past two weeks. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the bye week, and being able to hold onto that winning feeling that carried over from Bowling Green for an extra seven days. It was pretty nice waking up last Saturday not having to be stressed about the day of college football, knowing the ‘Cats had nothing at stake and being able to just sit back and enjoy the other games. Well, that all comes to an end this week as we’re back in action up in Madison. I’m not guaranteeing we’ll lose but let’s just say this feels like when I ran into that top seeded player in a tournament and dreaded the moment I had to take the court.

Game Summary:

I thought Wisconsin would have a down year in 2017, but they are proving me wrong. They look every bit as good as last year, and maybe even better with their improved play at QB. Granted, they haven’t played much of anyone yet. The ‘Cats always seem to have something over Wisconsin – we used to alternate winning at home every year, a streak that got broken when the Badgers shellacked us at Ryan Field in 2016.

As you may be able to tell from the intro, I’m not optimistic about our chances this week. Wisconsin just seems better than us at every phase of the game. I do think our D is better against the run than the pass, but Wisconsin, typically a run-heavy team, is doing both well. QB Alex Hornibrook has been beyond efficient this year, completing 70% of his passes and currently ranked among the top 15 in the nation in QBR.

My fear in this game is that we’ll try and give the ball to JJ early, have him get stuffed a couple times, and then totally abandon the running game. I think that’s a mistake that Mick McCall made against Duke, and I bet it happens again here. Jackson is our best player, and you have to keep trying to give him the ball to have some balance on offense. Watching Penn State play Iowa last week, I was impressed at how the Nittany Lions made a concerted effort to get Saquon Barkley the ball at all times. They almost used short little pass plays as pseudo-runs, with McSorley dumping it off to Barkley, giving him a chance to operate in space and giving the defense different looks. Would love to see the ‘Cats employ this tactic.

Alas I see the ‘Cats getting down early, abandoning the run for the pass, and then Wisco forcing a few turnovers to make this a laugher by the end. Hope I’m wrong.

Game Score:

Wisco 33 – Cats 13

Player/Unit to Watch:

Can I say our whole defense? I’m concerned about Wisco running all over us, and then play action pass-ing all over us.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul, Hack and Zvon are all making the trek up to Madison to enjoy some cheese curds at Chasers, followed by some Spotted Cow at the KK.

Let’s hope it goes better than the last time the Warriors visited the area.

Other Game to Watch:

Clemson at VT. I love the Hokies this year and wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled the upset here at home.

 

ROGER

I have very little confidence that we will make the game remotely competitive this week. We’ve had a good amount of success against Wisconsin for the better part of two decades now, but that has largely been driven by their conservative style and our ability to compete at the point of attack on both lines.

Could this game be close? Sure. Any given Saturday. But you can’t offer up a legitimate reason as to why it should be other than “any given Saturday“.

We are very, very, very bad on both lines. Wisconsin’s offensive line is one of the best in the country. They’ll average at least 6 yards per carry in this game. Our offensive line is one of the worst in Power 5 football. We’ll average less than 3 yards per carry. Clayton will have to play like John Elway to keep this remotely competitive.

Enough said. On to the summary.

Game Summary:

We’ll win the toss and defer to the second half. Because, why the hell not? Fitz has done that 87 times as a head coach (I just made that number up, but it sounds about right). Wisconsin will return the kick to about the 25. They’ll run 6 straight running plays for a total of 50 yards taking it down to our 25. Then, finally, a play action pass for a TD to exploit the fact that we have to stack the box to have any prayer of stopping them on the ground. It’s a good thing we don’t have 17 injured corners, right? Yea… this will be a catastrophic problem all day. Run to set up the pass against a depleted secondary.

7-0 Badgers.

We’ll run a jet sweep on our first offensive play of the game. We’ve done that 3 straight games on our first offensive snap. It has worked, for the most part, and it certainly won’t occur to Mickey that I know that, you know that and the Wisconsin Badgers know that. 5 yard loss. 3 and out.

Punt. 6 runs. TD.

14-0 Badgers.

So on and so on…..

Game Score:

Badgers 41 – Cats 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Both lines. Can they win at the point of the attack 25% of the time?

Warrior to Watch:

Gotta be the group making the trip: Paul, Hack and Zvon. The Dane County public officials are not nice to visiting fans. How will the group fare? We didn’t fare well (on the field or the streets) in 2013.

Other Game to Watch:

Maryland @ Minnesota. Sadly, Maryland is on to their third string QB due to some unfortunate season ending injuries. What looked like a promising campaign after a Texas ass kicking is now looking not so promising. Can they right the ship and score some points this week? They looked like hell against UCF last week.

NFL Game to Watch:

Jags @ Jets. The Jags are a road favorite this week. Why is that significant? They haven’t been a road favorite in 6 years. 6 years!!! That’s insane. The defense is legit. The offense is fine minus the QB. That’s generally a problem in the NFL. Will Bortles stay out of his own way and allow the team to fulfill Vegas’s expectations? I think so.

 

PAUL

Game Summary:

This one ain’t gonna be pretty. Plane and simple Wisco has a much better team than we xpected. Our D-line isn’t going to stand a chance tomorrow and it’s going to come down to the defense making some HUGE game changing plays and force some turnovers if they want to here the cheers of the NU crowd at Camp Randall. NU will get a couple FGs in the 1H and a garbage time TD, but this game is gonna be a brutal one to sit thru.

Game Score:

Badgers 41 – Cats 13

Player/Unit to Watch:

Hunter Niswander. Enough said.

Warrior to Watch:

The entire crew of 18 going up, but specifically Zvon. His gf is a badger and will be in attendance. How will he react if things get out of hand? Will the house divided come out united?!

Other Game to Watch:

Nebraska @ Illinois. Key Friday matchup. Storied program like Nebraska playing on a Friday is absurd. Will the B1G finally get the picture that Friday games are stoopid?! Any readers looking to catch the game can get in the door for <$10.

 

ZVON

Game Summary:

Could get ugly.  Will get ugly.  ‘Cats muster a first half TD to somehow stay “close” but we still are down 20-7 at the break. Wisco scores a couple more in half two.  They have run up the score on us in the past but I think it will be somewhat reasonable (they won’t go for 50…).

Game Score:

Badgers 37 – Cats 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Offensive Line.  Can we move the ball at all?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s Hack…will his red hair make Wisco fans confuse him for one of their own?  We’ll see.  Let’s just hope he keeps his shirt on as we’ve seen him disrobe in colder temps.

Other Game to Watch:

Northwestern vs. Wisconsin.  There is no other game besides this one in the eyes of Coach Fitz.  One game at a time.

 

DOC ROCHE

These two guys got really mad at me yesterday after I referred to them as “hipsters.”

I guess the term they prefer is “conjoined twins.”

Game Summary:

I dunno you guys. I’m daring to be different here. #B1GCats pull one out of nowhere after somehow staying close all game

Game Score:

#B1GCats 24 – Badgers 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

D-Line. Pressure in the backfield plz

Warrior to Watch:

Paul, Hack, and Z. Looking forward to the snapchats, you guys.

Other Game to Watch:

Penn State – Indiana. Will there be a let down game after pulling one out in Iowa City?

Thanks, and have a great day

 

 

ADAY

numberFire has BGSU ranked 126 out of 129… we still suck guys: https://www.numberfire.com/ncaaf/teams/power-rankings

’nuff said

Prediction Saturday – Duke

Justin+Jackson+Northwestern+v+Duke+nX0qWqIm3bGl

The ‘Cats are 1-0, with a trip down to Durham on the docket for week two. Most of the Warriors think this will be a close one, and all but one agree on the final outcome. Here are the Warriors’ picks for NU-Duke.

 

ROGER

Last week was interesting, though not altogether unexpected for a week 1 game.

Positive thinking would have me believe that the 2nd half performance is more true to form for the ‘Cats. Thorson looked like the real deal, our receiving corps made plays and our defense stiffened up when necessary. That said, there were still major issues on both lines. We never did open up any lanes for JJ against a team that had one of the worst rushing defenses in FBS last year. We also rarely (if ever) pressured the Nevada QB. That has to change this week if we want to win. Duke may not be Alabama, but I have to imagine they are going to be better than Nevada this year.

Game Prediction:

Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball. Is Fitz going to be aggressive? Is McCall going to call plays rationally? If yes to both of those, then I would expect a HEAVY aerial assault early in this game with the occasional wide running play to neutralize the inside blocking issues we’re still sorting out. Duke’s defense is young. They don’t have the same caliber of player on the perimeter that they have had in prior years (think 2015) and we have a QB who can clearly sling it.

Sadly, Fitz and McCall rarely do what we want them to do early in games. So, I expect plenty of inside running plays on first and second down to put us in precarious third down spots. If that plays out, we’re going to need to be on our game defensively to not put ourselves in the same hole we did last week.

On defense, the ‘Cats need to be better than they were last week. Plain and simple. Duke’s offense may be a bit more predictable than Nevada, but they have better players. Duke’s QB, Daniel Jones, is certainly respectable. He’s poised for a bit of a breakout year. He’ll throw the ball downfield, but he’s also mobile and more than willing to run away from trouble. It’s absolutely imperative that we establish some pressure on the ends and keep him contained in the pocket. If we can do that, our linebackers will need to look like they are actually on the field this week so Danny Boy doesn’t go scampering for first downs left and right.

How is the game going to play out? Well, I think you’re going to see the conservative ‘Cats for the first quarter and a half. We’ll struggle to sustain drives due to poor play calling on first and second down. I fully expect that to put is in a hole. I’m thinking we’ll be down something like 10-0 or 14-3 in the middle of the second quarter when Fitz realizes once and for all what he’s working with: an NFL caliber QB and one of the best backs in space the program has ever had. The bullshit will end. The offense will light it up. The ‘Cats will take the lead just before the half and it will be off to the races in the 2nd half.

Game Score:

‘Cats 38 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

The D ends. Can we put some pressure on Daniel Jones? Can we at least contain him to the pocket? I’m not so sure. I wasn’t pleased with what I saw last week, but who knows. This unit is going to be key here.

Warrior to Watch:

Gotta be Andy Day again, right? With an early kickoff, how is Andy going to fare now that he’s back on the west coast? 9am football is certainly not ideal, but I bet the Jager will be flowing.

Other Game to Watch:

Lots of good football this weekend. OU @ OSU would be the obvious choice here, but I think both of those teams are pretenders. So, I’m going to go with Auburn @ Clemson. I think both of those teams are contenders (even with Clemson’s loss of Watson). Should be a dandy.

 

HACK

After missing last weeks predictions due to a Bachelor party, I’m back. With only one regrettable tweet at the NU football account, (apologies to Ben Skowronek, who actually played well) I’d say I had a similar beginning to the season as the Cats.

Game Prediction:

They can’t stop us, the question is can we stop them. I’d say a strong maybe because we have the best player on the field in our secondary, Moe Asamani(lol jk but what a story). Justin Jackson and clayton combine for 600 yards of O in this one as the Cats roll baby.

Game Score:

‘Cats 45 – Duke 35

Player/Unit To Watch:

O Line, are they men or merely large boys?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger, will he be the drunkest person in the bar? Signs point to yes…

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU

 

ZVON

This will be a big game, going to need to win.  That’s all.  If you wanna be the best, you don’t lose to the worst.

Game Prediction:

Defense suspect, offense solid.  Thorson runs for one, throws one, hands off for one.  I’m not convinced we’ll score much more.  It will be a close one.

Game Score:

‘Cats 27 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

Justin Jackson the ball carrier.  Guy will get some yards.  One TD on a long one – 50+ yards.

Warrior to Watch:

Roger – he’s Roger.  Missed game one in person so he’ll need to make up for the beers lost.

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU – why not?

Warrior of the Week:

Andy Day.  He made the trip out for the last game and did a lot of the setup so you all could enjoy Rose.  Big round o’ applause!

 

DOC ROCHE

I had a nightmare last night that I was abducted by a gang of mimes.

They did unspeakable things to me.

Game Prediction:

While I think the #B1GCats are much better than Duke, I think this game will be close. I think Bigsby will have another statistically great game, but It’ll come down to the fourth quarter.

Game Score:

#B1GCats 28 – Duke 24

Player/Unit to Watch:

JFC can the D-line get any pressure?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger is angry at how poorly the USMNT have played in the CONCACAF qualifying. Will he try to drown his anger in alcohol. Yes. Yes he will

Other Game to Watch:

Penn State – Pitt. Ain’t no way PSU is gonna let Pitt embarrass them this year. Especially not in State College. Got a bunch of friends going to this game. Last thing I want is for PSU to have a humbling loss before they play the #B1GCats.

 

ADAY

Well guys, I turns out the pessimist in me was pretty spot on last week. Looks like the pessimistic predictions shall continue.

Game Prediction:

Dook has success downfield against our depleted secondary as we continue to fail to pressure the QB. Our O-Line prevents our run game from living up to the hype yet again, and while we do score, we don’t score enough. Also our lack of ability to make (or even attempt at this point) 30-40 yard field goals is the deciding factor. It will be a little higher scoring, but all in all it will feel a lot like this game.

Game Score:

Dook 24 – NU 20 (Missed XP)

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Marcus McShepard or whoever plays in his place. He got toasted on a few plays by Nevadas wideouts. Will this be a trend?

Warrior to Watch:

I’m gonna say Roger here. If things start spiraling for the ‘Cats this week, his consumption rates are soon to follow.

Other Game to Watch:

OSU vs Oklahoma – I’m curious to see if OSU is actually for real.

 

PAUL

We looked pretty mediocre last week.
As I’m still in Spain going to keep this short and sweet.
Game Overview:
Need the run game to come thru.
Game Score:
NU squeaks one out 23-21.
Warrior to Watch:
Trent is the warrior to watch this week. What will he come up with after bringing the Dons last week??
TRENT

Another year, another game against Duke. Can we find a more interesting non-con opponent? At least we’ve got Notre Dame next year, and Stanford the year after that. But please, no more Duke.

Game Prediction:

I went into the game for the first half last week and we didn’t look great, to put it mildly. We needed to leave at halftime to switch up the juju and watch the second half with our van Rose. Sure enough, the ‘Cats came back from 10 down to win by a not-nearly-as-comfortable-as-it-looks 11 points. My thoughts from the first game were that our lines didn’t look any good – we only hurried Nevada’s QB one time and didn’t get any sacks. Clayton “Bigsby” Thorson looked damn good though – and his WRs looked better than I expected. Skowronek was a huge cog in the offense, and Thorson’s safety net as I mentioned he may be back in this post.

All things considered, I was pretty happy with the end result. Sure we didn’t look good and we struggled – but we ended up winning the game by 11 points. Last year we lost two of those close games in a row to start off the year – getting the W in a similar type early sleepwalk game was huge. And, at the end of the year when the CFP Committee is taking a look at our resume, all they’ll see is that 11 point victory. I kid, I kid (kinda).

I know nothing about Duke except I read they’ve got a mobile QB, which I’m sure will give us fits. I see a close game, where Thorson starts the game strong and JJ finishes as we pass early to set up the run late. Our D will get an opportunistic turnover late in the game to seal a tight win in hot conditions.

Game Score:

‘Cats 24 – Duke 21

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Last week I put our freshman kicker in this slot, and he sure enough was a player to watch as he missed a chip shot FG for a strong start to his career. I’ll give the aptly nicknamed Charlie “Ice” Kuhbander a break this week and slot Flynn Nagel in here. I think Flynn steps up with a big TD this week.

Warrior to Watch:

I’m going to take this opportunity to say we tried the Buffalo Joe’s in the stadium last week, and what a huge plus. Watching live ‘Cats football with Buff Joe’s in hand was phenomenal.

This week my Warrior to Watch is Pat Grayhack. Hack is going hard on Saturday, I can feel it. Given his VCU ties I know he’s a Duke hater.

Other Game to Watch:

I’m going with USC-Stanford. My sis goes to USC so gotta pull for the Trojans. Great slate of football this week btw.