Prediction Friday – Ohio State

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The ‘Cats take on Ohio State in Evanston on a … FRIDAY NIGHT? Too bad the Keg of Evanston is closed, RIP. Luckily, it did not go gentle into that good night.

The Warriors’ contingent may be small for this game, but boy is it mighty. We’re going to need it as the Buckeyes come to town in what should be an overwhelming contingent of red. Let’s check out our predictions for the game.

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
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TRENT

Game Summary: I got a feeling. Just got a feeling. The ‘Cats are 1-4, morale is quite bad, and the fan base is calling for McCall’s head. We are 25+ point underdogs on Friday at home against a top three Ohio State team, who you could argue has looked the best of any team in the country to-date. It’s the largest spread against us since Notre Dame in ’95. We all know what happened then.

No one thinks we will be remotely competitive in this game. Our defense is great, our offense is atrocious. How will we score any points against OSU? Even if we can hold their offense in check, we still need to outscore them (that’s typically how you win a football game). How in the world will that happen?

The past two years, OSU has had a weird conference loss on the road. Two years ago, they lost 55-24 at Iowa. Last year, they got blown out 49-20 at Purdue. The ‘Cats ain’t putting up 50 points in this one, I can tell you that. But, this has a similar feel in that it’s a weird conference game on the road.

It’s a Friday night game coming after a bye – I haven’t done any research but not sure we’ve ever played a game on a Friday before. It’s a weird situation. Ohio State will be looking ahead as they play a top 10 Wisconsin team next week.

Nothing against Ryan Day, who seems so far like he’s a great coach, but he simply isn’t Urban Meyer. He hasn’t been in a close game yet – neither has Justin Fields at OSU. It’s not the easiest thing for a team that’s been on cruise control the whole year to all of a sudden be thrown into a pressure packed situation in what should be a raucous Ryan Field atmosphere. Raucous for which team, I know not (if I had to guess it’ll be 60-70% OSU fans), but raucous nonetheless. If this game is somehow close after three quarters those Buckeyes’ butt cheeks will tighten. You bet that Fitz has had this game circled since last year – not just because it’s Ohio State, but also because they beat us in the B1G title game. He wants revenge (we’ve never beaten OSU with Fitz as head coach).

I subscribe to the George Costanza theory that if nothing is working for you, try doing the opposite. The best thing for those who care about the long term health of the ‘Cats this year is for us to get our doors blown off and then have a poor rest of the year, which should then lead to some coaching changes (cough McCall cough). If you look at it that way, it’s not necessarily a great thing for us to beat OSU, as that will give more reason for Fitz to not make any changes. As ‘Cats fans we can never have nice things, and it feels like we’ll be unsatisfied after this year – one way or another. We’re engrained as a fanbase to expect the ‘Cats to do something stupid and screw it up – the short term gain from beating OSU here would actually likely work against us in the long run.

Continuing down the opposite track – the ‘Cats are just a weird team and tend to do the opposite of what we expect. Every year it seems like we have a very bad loss – whether it’s Illinois State or Akron (I wonder if this is something in our DNA dating back to the loss against Miami of Ohio in ’95). Then we’ll typically beat a ranked team we shouldn’t. We zig when people think we’re going to zag.

Well this feels like a zig-zag game to me. There is no rational reason for this pick other than the fact that there’s no rational reason for this pick. Does that make any sense?

I got a feeling. Go ‘Cats.

Game Score: NU 24 – OSU 21

Play of the Game: ‘Cats get a defensive TD as Travis Whillock scoops and scores a fumble. Northwestern must score either on defense or special teams to be competitive in this game.

Player to Watch: I’ve got a feeling…that Hunter will start.

Warrior to Watch: Paul is in town for his first tailgate of the season.

Other Game to Watch: During the course of our tailgate on Friday, we’ll have a few appetizer games – Marshall @ FAU on CBSSN (5:30pm kick) and Pitt @ Cuse on ESPN (6:00pm kick). I’m not 100% sure we get CBSSN but we will find out. These will quite literally be the other games we’ll watch as we drink beer amongst a sea of red.

I’ll also go to the NFL, where it’ll be Pats @ Jets on Monday night. Fellow Patriots fans…beware…

 

ROGER

The Cats didn’t win last week, but they didn’t lose.

Unfortunately, the team actually has to play this week. Against Ohio State no less.

The Buckeyes have looked like one of the best teams in the country thus far. For whatever reason, they seem to have cleaned up the mental lapses that were all too common under Urban Meyer. So, I don’t expect them to not show up this week or any week down the stretch.

Game Summary: I think NU’s defense will put up a respectable fight. We’re going to get burned on the perimeter and we’re probably going to have issues setting the edge, but pretty much everyone does against Ohio State.

Sadly, a “respectable fight” for NU’s defense is going to look a lot worse in the box score. Why? Well, Ohio State is probably going to have an average starting field position somewhere around midfield. The Chicago Bears defense would struggle in that situation.

I don’t expect the offense to get 10 first downs in this game. We’ll score a garbage touchdown late to avoid getting shutout.

Move on to next week. Then, move on to next year.

Game Score: Ohio State 45 – NU 7

Play of the Game: Gaziano blindsides Smith and forces a fumble. This provides the Cats with their best field position of the game (Aidan throws a pick 2 plays later).

Player to Watch: Aidan… I assume Hunter won’t play because there’s no point in killing his confidence even more. If it’s Aidan, he should just go out there and sling it.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Welcome back to Evanston, Paul. Too bad most of the crew is MIA this weekend.

Other Game to Watch: Not sure… is there anything good this weekend?

 

A DAY

Game Summary: It will look respectable in the first quarter. Maybe 7-0 OSU. But then things are gonna get out of hand. Fast. The defense will basically spend the entire game on the field, and eventually are going to get beat. Should be safe to turn off at half.

Game Score: OSU 45 – NU 3

Play of the Game: The lone field goal. Huzzah!

Player to Watch: Fire Mick McCall (dot) com

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Hands down. He’s from Ohio. He’s at the game. He’s gonna have a few cold ones. Let the boys play.

Other Game to Watch: Let’s say Michigan vs Penn State, because I love watching Michigan lose.

 

DOC ROCHE

Game Summary: Lolololololol

Game Score: OSU 40 – NU 6

Play of the Game: The Van starts!

Player to Watch: Aidan Smith. F*ck it, I’m going deep.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. I hear he’s gonna try to set the West Lot record for White Claw consumption.

Other Game to Watch: Let’s say Michigan vs Penn State, because I love watching Penn State lose.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: Hopefully some stellar D from the Cats. Hopefully improving to below average for the offense and Mick McCall. Cats keep it close, but can’t pull it off.

Game Score: OSU 23 – NU 13

Play of the Game: Strip sack in the first half in OSU territory by Paddy Fisher.

Player to Watch: Paddy Fisher

Warrior to Watch: Am I allowed to say me? Because I’m gonna say me. You can find me with the White Claw wizard staff.

Other Game to Watch: It’s Friday night, so I guess the Yankees Astros??

 

Z VON

Cats lose 42-8

 

HACK

Cats win 6-4

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Prediction Caturday – Bye Week

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A close loss last Saturday against Nebraska sets up a tough game this week as the ‘Cats take on a Bye. While not known to put up points, Bye has a very stout defense, giving up zero touchdowns on the year. Let’s see how some of the Warriors see this one playing out.

 

ROGER

Last week was one of the ugliest displays of offensive football that you’ll ever see. Both teams were responsible for that. Nebraska is as far from “back” as NU is from the Rose Bowl.

Frankly, as dependent as Nebraska’s entire team is on Adrian Martinez, there was absolutely no excuse for the Cats to lose the game once Martinez got knocked with the score tied.

But….. Mick.

That brings us to this week’s matchup. Bye.

If history means anything, then the Cats should take care of business this week. Bye has never defeated the ‘Cats. It’s usually the week after Bye where Fitz’s boys struggle. One can only surmise that Bye’s physicality wears us down for the following week.

Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that Bye isn’t going down so easily this week. Defensively, we should be stout as always. It’s hard to see Bye scoring on us. But, I’m not sure where we’re going to find any points either. This game could go on for days…

Game Summary: RRPP. That’s run, run, pass, punt for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation. Mick loves the RRPP. Sources say that the ‘Cats offense has even mastered the RRPP against air. Knowing that, I don’t expect any movement on offense here because Bye’s defense is basically air.

Game Score: Bye 0 – NU 0

Play of the Game: After the ‘Cats complete their 27th series of RRPP against air, the officials decide to call this game the first tie since 1996. They can’t watch anymore. Neither can we.

Player to Watch: The QB… all 3 (including TJ) have been effective with the RRPP this year. Who is it going to be for this one?

Warrior to Watch: Z Von – put him in at QB. He tried it at halftime a few years ago.

Other Game to Watch: Florida at LSU…. Florida has looked absolutely terrible at times this year. Yet, they are undefeated with a recent win over Auburn. They still have a daunting stretch here with LSU and UGA, but I’m starting to worry about the Gators contending.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: Smoke meats. Drink beer. Be glad NU isn’t playing.

Game Score: N – 0 – 0 – N

Play of the Game: The brisket is perfect

Player to Watch: Pfeffer. The smokemaster.

Warrior to Watch: Day. He has some new art to enjoy this week.

Other Game to Watch: Penn State @ Iowa. Go Hawkeyes!!

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats are off this week – will be good to rest up before what should be a lovely home visit from Ohio State next week. I find a bye week as a nice time for reflection, soul searching and grumbling about McCall. It’s time to get nice and drunk and forget about our hapless offense. Enjoy the time off until the Buckeyes beat our brains in next Friday.

Game Summary: The ‘Cats get into some good clean American fun this weekend. So much fun, that the bye sneaks up on us and wins a close one. While our defense holds tough and holds Bye to just 1 point somehow, McCall McCall McCall and we score 0 points. It’s a cold and windy weekend, causing Kuhbander to miss a chip shot and do us in.

Game Score: NU 0 – Bye 1

Play of the Game: Bye finds a way to score 1 point.

Player to Watch: Bowser. He’s got the weekend off and will be gallivanting with Princess Peach to another castle.

Warrior to Watch: Hack. Big weekend in store.

Other Game to Watch: USC – Notre Dame. Fight on!

Prediction Friday – Nebraska

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The ‘Cats lost a closer-than-expected battle in Wisconsin last week, but looked better…at least on defense. The offense, not so much.

Next up is a trip to Lincoln to take on Nebraska in another road B1G West matchup. The Huskers are sitting at 3-2, fresh off a beating at the hands of Ohio State. The Warriors are a bit split on who will take this contest, as well as which QB we’ll see in the game for the ‘Cats. On to the picks…

 

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
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ROGER:

I said something last week about NU’s speed option on 4th and goal at the 1 being one of Mickey’s finest hours.

Then Saturday occurred. He and Fitz likely had more “finest hours” in that game than we’ll ever see again.

Our offense is historically bad. You think that’s an overstatement? What if I told you we were on pace to have the third worst passing efficiency in the 21st century…. and 2017 Army was one of the two teams that were worse? What if I told you that our total offensive efficiency is 129th out of 130 FBS teams? What if I told you that Hunter Johnson has the worst QBR in FBS? Sadly, I can tell you all of that. Because it’s all true at the moment.

Game Summary: Thankfully we aren’t playing either the Wisconsin or Michigan State defense this week. That said, Nebraska’s defense is actually much improved despite getting mauled by Ohio State last week (don’t worry… we get to do the same thing in a few weeks). Their offense has, surprisingly, been a bit of an issue. The Corn people are chalking this up to a young offensive line that can’t get out of its own way. Sound familiar?

Given all of that, I expect NU’s defense to keep the Cats in this one despite the complete lack of offense we’ll see. Unfortunately, Nebraska’s offense is likely to be more dangerous against our defense than Wisconsin’s. At the end of the day, they have a dynamic QB and that generally hurts us.

This one will be a slug fest until Nebraska finds a rhythm. Then, it’s over because we can’t score.

Game Score: Nebraska 24 – NU 13

Play of the Game: I’m going to go with Aidan “Atkinson” Smith taking the first offensive snap and completing a pass for positive yards (Mick threw it on first down?!?!?!).

Player to Watch: Paddy Fisher. He needs to contain Martinez.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Why not?

Other Game to Watch: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech. Has anyone seen OK State’s running back, Chuba Hubbard? He has 900 yards in 4 games against FBS competition (that’s not counting OK State’s game against McNeese State). He ran for a smooth 296 last week against a ranked K State team. Big12 defenses or not… this kid deserves some attention. Look for him to tack on 250+ in this one.

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats played a better game last week against Wisconsin in Madison, but still came away with a L. It’s becoming abundantly clear that our defense is good and our offense is bad. Our defense only gave up 10 points to the Badgers, whereas our offense gave up 14 and only scored 15.

Fitz and McCall made some very strange two point conversion calls which had me going apoplectic during the game, and even upon further explanation really just don’t make sense. I think it’s funny that Fitz is always touting that ‘stats are for losers’ but then said after the game that he could ‘teach a class on analytics’. Can’t have it both ways, bro.

Our offense is putrid, bad, stinky, horrible. Aidan “Atkinson” Smith came in and looked better than Hunter Johnson. The fan base has about had it with McCall, and good riddance. If someone at my office repeatedly turns in poor performance for 10+ years straight, do you know what happens? They don’t stick around. It’s absurd that a D1 football program (in an industry where job security is much lower than an average job) won’t subscribe to this same philosophy, but instead stubbornly leans on ‘loyalty’ and an F you attitude towards the fan base as rationale for not making changes. These guys are getting paid a lot of money. There have to be consequences for not performing, just as there are on the field when Hunter was benched for Aidan against MSU. You have to hold your coaching staff to the same standards that you hold your players.

Game Summary: Rant just about over, let’s focus on the game this week. I’ve had this game circled all offseason as a loss – Nebraska just seems like a horrible matchup for us. We typically perform poorly against mobile QBs. Not that Nebraska is good or anything – they were severely overrated going into the year. However, I think they’ll score just enough points in this game, and our offense, well, McCall. Enough said.

Game Score: NU 21 – Nebraska 24

Play of the Game: Aidan “Atkinson” Smith throws a screen pass to Drake Anderson for a TD.

Player to Watch: Bowser. Is he healthy?

Warrior to Watch: Paul, he’s got some Husker in his blood.

Other Game to Watch: Iowa – Michigan. Should be a good one.

 

DOC ROCHE

Game Summary: Defense good. Offense bad.

Game Score: NU 13 – Nebraska 27

Play of the Game: Chuck kicks an extra point!

Player to Watch: Whoever the h*ck is at QB, in perpetuity

Warrior to Watch: Our resident Cornhusker, Huettner

Other Game to Watch: Ohio State – Michigan State. It’ll be interesting for a quarter before Ohio State pulls away.

 

A DAY

I think InsideNU described our passing attack perfectly, “Not Great, Bob!”. That said, our defense is pretty, pretty, pretty good. Nebraska was ranked to start the season. So were we (at least in one poll). Both teams have been exposed as frauds. Who will prove to the the worse team? I’m going ‘Cats. Big Red, or perhaps ‘Lil Red, will be able to score just enough (which still isn’t that much) to pull out the win. Both fanbases will want to pull their eyes out by the end of the game.

Game Score: Nebraska 20 – NU 17

Play of the Game: We finally get a defensive score. Pick 6 from Paddington “Bear” Fisher.

Player to Watch: Bente Baekers from NU Field Hockey. She’s got 16 goals on the season for a top 5 program. She’s scored 1/2 as many points as our offense has against teams not named UNLV.

Warrior to Watch: Let’s go Hack. 3PM start, how will he respond? Will he be 4 ‘Claws deep by kickoff?

Other Game to Watch: Friday Night special UCF @ Cincy. Let’s go [Bear]cats!

 

ZVON

Game Summary: Cats win a weird one. Aidan SMITTY Smith smiths a winner out of these cats.

Game Score: Cats 25 – Nebraska 23

Warrior to Watch: Sources say Hack may not even be awake for a 3pm kick.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: Nebraska is trash. So is our offense. Battle of the Defenses commence. I likely won’t even be watching this game as I’ll be playing NYC tour guide for my wonderful mother this Saturday.

Game Score: NU 14 – NEB (NOT NU) 10

Play of the Game: 50 yard screen pass TD to Bowser (is he still injured? idk) due to a missed tackle.

Player to Watch: Paddington “Bear” Fisher. I’m with Andy on this. Should be ripe for a nice INT this game.

Warrior to Watch: HACK. Raab’s in town so bound to go wild.

Other Game to Watch: Browns on are MNF this week (2nd time this year already!) Let the winning streak continue!

 

HACK:

Game Score: Nebraska 24 – NU 10

Play of the Game: 74 yard run for a guy by the name of Anderson – deja vu for the fan base.

Player to Watch: Hunter “Killer” Johnson – Can he make Mick look smart?

Warrior to Watch: Trent – T Bag is a movement

Other Game to Watch: Iowa v Michigan – I don’t think either of these teams will be ranked by season’s end.

 

Prediction Caturday – Wisconsin

FISHER

The ‘Cats had a major setback last week in a home drubbing against Michigan State, but that didn’t preclude the Warriors from having a good time and getting after it in the West Lot. They say you’ve got to laugh to keep from crying, and plenty of laughs were had.

This week Northwestern faces a daunting test on the road in Madison against a top 10 Badger team. Wisconsin is a huge favorite in this one after rolling Michigan last week. Let’s see how the Warriors think this one will play out.

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

TRENT

Game Summary: Yikes. The ‘Cats looked awful last week in a loss to Michigan State. The offense had no creativity and it seemed like a miracle every time we got a first down. Hunter got benched. It’s almost refreshing that the ‘Cats are back to being bad again – for you youngsters out there it’s a good reminder that the last four years of ‘Cats football has not been the norm. Clayton Thorson ain’t looking so bad now, eh? We miss his leadership.

This season has gone downhill quickly – the question is, can we rebound? We’ve got an absolutely brutal slate coming up these next few games. Badgers and Huskers and Buckeyes (oh my!). If we lose all three of these games we’re likely not making a bowl this year.

I simply don’t see it this week against the Badgers. MSU could have beaten us by even more last week if they’d continued to run the ball – they did so with such success that I was puzzled every time they threw it. Without looking at any stats, I’m sure the Badgers have one of the best running offenses in the country, and Jonathan Taylor is a beast and Heisman hopeful. The ‘Cats are going to get run all over in this game – while we have good D ends, the middle of our D line is suspect and Wisco’s O line will push us around.

This is the largest spread against us (+24) that I can remember in the past five years, and for good reason. We’re going to get shellacked. The only silver lining I can find is that I don’t need to stress about the outcome of this game! Time to get nice and toasted on Saturday. I don’t think we’re going to score.

Game Score: NU 0 – Wisconsin 35

Play of the Game: The ‘Cats make it to Madison (one of my favorite cities in America) and show up for the game.

Player to Watch: Alex Miller. Can he help plug the middle against Taylor?

Warrior to Watch: Z Von. Will he join the Warriors this week to watch?

Other Game to Watch: Minnesota at Purdue. Why not?

 

ROGER

I’ve seen a lot of poor play calls over the past decade. But, I’m not sure that anything tops the 4th and goal speed option call this past Saturday. That may have been Mickey’s finest hour.

Our offense is objectively terrible and Mickey and friends aren’t doing anything to help the cause with the aforementioned shit. Our defense isn’t terrible, but nobody seems particularly interested in tackling.

So, why would we expect anything different this weekend? Wisconsin looks pretty damn good, right?

………..

Wisconsin is good. But, I’m not ready to anoint them after the garbage offense they trotted out on the field every week last season. I need to see a few more ass kickings before I do that. They have the same personnel at every key position. This team – led by the same Jack Coan and Jonathan Taylor – couldn’t get out of their own way against NU last season. They looked like a JV bunch. You could have had Grayhack out there playing Mike and he would have blown up that offense.

Clearly, Wisconsin is improved and they are humming right now. Their improvement on the defensive side of the ball may be the bigger difference in their success though. That spells trouble for Mickey’s offense.

We won’t move the ball at all. But, this one will be closer than you think.

Game Summary: If Taylor is ripping off 10 yard runs like there’s nothing to it, then you can ignore everything above. I don’t think he will initially, though. Wisconsin will have to throw it every so often and I’m looking for some suspect accuracy from Jack. Look for some air mails and a pick or two in the first half. That will keep this one closer than it should be when our offense has less than 60 yards at halftime.

Eventually, Wisconsin will find some success on the ground. They’ll get a comfortable 20 – 0 lead and NU will score a garbage TD to keep the score respectable.

Game Score: NU 7 – Wisconsin 20

Play of the Game: Paddy Fisher picks off Jack Coan in the first quarter.

Player to Watch: Offensive Line. Can they do anything to open a hole and/or give Hunter some time?

Warrior to Watch: Paul. What’s he doing for the game?

Other Game to Watch: Ohio State at Nebraska. I was going to say “None. The contenders have no chance of losing again this week”, but then I remembered that Ohio State got ambushed against a very mediocre Purdue team last year in a night game. They need to avoid losing to trash teams (Purdue last year and Iowa the year before) if they want to get back into the playoff. I suspect they will, but you never know how prepared they’ll be with a bunch of guys that didn’t come to play school.

 

DOC ROCHE

It’s been, what, seven years since Northwestern’s had a competent offense? Kain platooning with Trevor, handing off to Ricky Football?

The offense is horrible, and Fitz is getting all defensive when a reporter asked a routine football question.

EVERYTHING IS FINE NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

At least the Northwestern’s uninspired performance helped me stop caring about the parking situation.

Game Summary: The game’s already over.

Game Score: NU 6 – Wisconsin 33

Play of the Game: Jump Around

Player to Watch: Hunter.

Warrior to Watch: ZVon. He’s back in town for the game!

Other Game to Watch: Ohio State at Nebraska. Northwestern’s next two opponents square off.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: This is going to be ugly and I probably will turn this game off after the 1st quarter.

Game Score: NU 6 – Wisconsin 45

Play of the Game: The Wisco kneel down to end the game, putting us all out of our misery.

Player to Watch: Who knows.

Warrior to Watch: ZVon. I heard he may be hosting the watch party and his roommate is a big Badger fan & alum.

Other Game to Watch: OSU at NEB. Will be hilarious how GameDay is here and my Huskers will get blown out.

 

HACK

Game Summary: The Cats are 10-8 under Pat Fitgerald when they are over double-digit dogs, not against the spread, straight up. There is no other reason for this pick, other than Michigan sucks.

Game Score: NU 28 – Wisconsin 24

Play of the Game: One of the pick-sixes by the brothers Miller. Yes, two defensive linemen will score touchdowns.

Player to Watch: Mick McCall – There’s a rumor going around on the Twitter that Mick installs plays that he can personally execute. This would explain the precipitous decline in Northwestern’s O as he enters his mid sixties…

Warrior to Watch: Roger, he’s leaving the house!

Other Game to Watch: Bears- Vikings : Matchup of the two most mediocre qbs in the NFL and two of its top 5 defenses! Bet the over!

 

Z VON

Wisco 31 – NU 6

 

ANDY DAY

Game Summary: We might score. I think 2 field goals sounds about right. Both in the second half, naturally. If we do win this, I wouldn’t be blown away, because this is looking like a season where we suck but pull one completely out of our asses. However, I don’t think that will be this game. I think offensive struggles continue and a balanced Wisconsin attack gets to the endzone early and often.

Game Score: Wisconsin 35 – NU 6

Play of the Game: Whichever FG is longer.

Player to Watch: Mick McCall. Forever and always.

Warrior to Watch: Trent “I’m down to get v drunk” Stafford

Other Game to Watch: Lets say USC vs UW for all my west-coasters out there.

Prediction Friday – Michigan State

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The ‘Cats take on MSU this week in our first B1G matchup of the year. It’s a big one and NU has taken down Sparty the last three times the teams have met. Are the Warriors expecting a fourth straight victory this week?

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

 

 

TRENT

Game Summary: So the ‘Cats took care of business at home against a lackluster UNLV team. Hunter Johnson showed signs of life and made some nice deep throws, though his WRs let him down a few times with drops. He still looked uncomfortable but seemed to get his legs under him as the game went on, and threw his first TD pass as a Wildcat to an open JJ Jefferson.

 

Unfortunately this week is a much tougher test. Comparing UNLV’s defense to Michigan State’s is like comparing a sand castle to a medieval castle. We will struggle to move the ball, and I guarantee they’ll sell out to stop the run and force us to pass. Is Hunter ready to take the reins in a B1G game? I’m not so sure.

 

The good news is I believe the coaching staff sat Bowser last week to heal up and get ready for a bruising B1G schedule. While Drake Anderson looked nice and shifty last week, he won’t be able to have that same level of success against a B1G defense. This is the time for Bowser Ball and I expect him to get 25+ carries in this game. If he can give us a semblance of a running game against Sparty, we’ll have a shot. If he can’t, and Hunter needs to carry us through the air, I fear we’re in trouble.

 

It’s a bummer that MSU lost last week to ASU. Not only do they lose their ranking (I like it when we play ranked teams), but the heartbreaking manner in which they lost will make them even more motivated to come out swinging this week. MSU is favored by 10 and the over under is a measly 40 points…yet I still think that’s far too high. We’ll keep it close and this will be a typical low scoring B1G game. We’ve beaten Sparty three times in a row, but I just can’t see us getting to four.
 

 

Game Score: NU 10 – MSU 13

 

Play of the Game: Bowser takes it in for a 5 yard score

 

Player to Watch: Bowser – will he be healthy enough to shoulder a big load? Hunter – can he play competent football against a B1G defense?

 

Warrior to Watch: Rankin. Feel like he’s got it in for MSU.

 

Other Game to Watch: Michigan @ Wisco. Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 110-0 in the first two games…let’s see how they handle their first real test in the Wolverines.

 

DOC ROCHE

 

I always respect the amount of time/thought that Trent puts into his posts. Dear readers, have faith that I will do no such thing.

 

GET EXCITED FOR A BATTLE OF TWO UNINSPIRING TEAMS. BIG TEN FOOTBALL AT ITS FINEST.

 

Game Score: ‘Cats 17 – MSU 14

 

Play of the Game: Hunter throws a touchdown!

 

Player to Watch: It’s the ‘ol HJ until proven otherwise

 

Warrior to Watch: West Coast Warrior Andy Day making his first West Lot appearance!

 

Other Game to Watch: Agree with Bag here. Michigan/Wisconsin.

 

ANDY DAY

 

Game Summary:  Clearly going to be a high scoring affair… not. This game will be decided by the kickers, and luckily MSUs didn’t look so hot last week against ASU. I see a singular TD in the future for the ‘Cats, and it’s going to be a defensive one. Hopefully our bend-but-don’t-break defense can keep us in this one.
 
 
Game Score: ‘Cats 13 – MSU 9

 

Play of the Game: Pick 6 for Paddington “Bear” Fischer

 

Player to Watch: Mick McCall. Again. Always.

 

Warrior to Watch: Going to say Roger but only because it’d be weird to pick myself. He’s my co-captain for setup this week.

 

Other Game to Watch: Lot of good ones this week, but to add some flavor I’ll go with a sneaky one – Cal @ Ole Miss. Should be a close one.

 

ROGER

 

Wow! Roche and Andy taking the cats to win!

Well… I’m not, Doug. As much as I would like to pick us to win, I don’t see enough (read: any) offense here against a top flight defense. It won’t take much, but I don’t think we have much.

 

All of that said, Hunter showed us something last week with his arm and his ability to avoid a sack. He definitely throws an elite ball and has decent pocket presence. Unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make a good quarterback. He struggles with consistent accuracy, he doesn’t have a great grasp of Mick’s fantastic offense yet and his offensive line and receiving corps are suspect.

 

Game Summary: Read above. This game is going to be low scoring. The Cats defense is pretty good. Williams and Newsome took terrible angles on 2 plays and made UNLV look respectable. But, the reality is that the ‘Cats defense will anchor the team all year. They did so against Stanford. They did so against UNLV. They’ll do so in this game as well.

 

We aren’t going to shut out Sparty, though. At the very least, they’ll be able to get some points from the field position battle (though, their kicker doesn’t have a lot of confidence at the moment).

 

The wind is supposed to be strong on Saturday mid-day. The punters will be pivotal in this one. I think the best scoring opportunities will come when each team has the wind at their backs. Look for Sparty to take advantage of a few of those drives via some mild-trickery (end arounds, flea flickers, etc.).

 

The ‘Cats have killed Sparty the last several years with their use of the superback. Unfortunately, we don’t appear to have one of those anymore. So, I’m curious to see what we’ll do against a defense that doesn’t allow anything on the ground. I suspect we won’t mix it up much… hence my score:
 

 

Game Score: MSU 13 – NU 3

 

Play of the Game: Chuck makes a 38 yard field goal to get the ‘Cats on the board in the 3rd quarter.

 

Player to Watch: Offensive line – will they open the occasional hole and provide any sort of protection for Hunter?

 

Warrior to Watch: Andy. It’s his home opener. Something tells me he’s not a fan of the new parking regulations. Could he ignore the rules, head for the corner of Ashland and Isabella and claim “no brake pads, no such thing as last”?

 

Other Game to Watch: None. Our playoff contenders have no chance of losing yet again this week. Yes, I’m dismissing ND’s chances at UGA.

 

ZVON

 

Cats 27, MSU 21

 

HACK

 

Game Summary:

 

Punt, run run run Punt run run pass Punt run run punt… Safety MSU… Cats hit a field goal as time expires.

 

 
Game Score: NU 3 – MSU 2

 

Play of the Game:Gaziano sacks Lewerke for a loss of 23

 

Player to Watch: Drake Anderson – Is he a weapon?

 

Warrior to Watch: Andy Day- He’s a man on a mission to drink some Burgandy’s.

 

Other Game to Watch: ND vs Georgia – GO DAWGS

 

PAUL

 

Game Summary: Cats give up a defensive TD and a long 70 yard run, but otherwise looks solid. Sadly, our offense doesn’t come prepared and the play calling STINKS. Cats never reach the endzone and settle for 3 FGs.

 

Game Score: NU 9 – MSU 17

 

Play of the Game: 45 yard FG to end the half

 

Player to Watch: Mick McCall – how bad will the play calling get against a actual defense this week.

 

Warrior to Watch: Hack – will he make it to the tailgate before 9am??

 

Other Game to Watch: Michigan @ Wisco. Great inter-league B1G matchup here. Rooting for Sconnny.

Thursday Pump Up Jam – Only Time

Who can say when the ‘Cats will score? Only time.

Who can say if Hunter continue to improve, or will he again struggle under pressure from a B1G defense? Only time.

Who can say where the van will end up, given the new lot parking rules? Only time.

Who can say if Hack will get too drunk on Friday and sleep through the tailgate? Only time.

Go ‘Cats!

Prediction Friday – UNLV

Sept18Blog1_NU2

The ‘Cats open at home tomorrow against the UNLV Runnin Rebels, and the Warriors are fired up to take the West Lot by storm and christen another season in Evanston. The weather is going to be beautiful and the beer will be flowing like wine. No surprise who the Warriors are picking in this one, though we’re split on how close the outcome will be.

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo nulogo N/A

 

ROGER

Game Summary: We’ve all seen this shit before (Akron, Illinois State, Western Michigan…. sorry, that team was terrible even if they ran the table in the MAC). I’m not sure why we expect this to be any different. UNLV is obviously terrible, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing.

NU’s offense is 129th out of 130 in adjusted efficiency. Hunter Johnson has the worst passer in FBS. Simply put, our offense was terrible against a VERY average Stanford team who got smoked by a VERY average USC team during our off week. But, that’s par for the course with Mick.
There’s no reason to believe we will blow anyone out. Fitz and Mick aren’t up for that.
I do think we will find a way to win the game, but only because we will avoid giving up 3 defensive tds like we did against Akron last year.

 

Game Score: Cats 20 – UNLV 17

 

Play of the Game: Paddy Fisher annihilates UNLVs qb causing both his helmet and the ball to come loose.

 

Player to Watch: Hunter. He was atrocious 2 weeks ago. Will he be at least marginally better?

 

Warrior to Watch: Me. I’ll be back from my honeymoon on Friday night. Will we have any Supertuscans at the tailgate?

 

Other Game to Watch: None. The past few college football seasons have been painful outside of NU. The trend continues. There are 5 teams vying for 3 playoff spots (Bama, LSU, Oklahoma, UGA and Ohio State). Clemson is already in. Watch out for Syracuse though…. that’s Clemson’s toughest remaining game. They only lost by 43 to Maryland.

 

DOC ROCHE
 

We get it Roger. You’re being all cultured in Italy. I bet the fireball is gonna taste like battery acid when you get back.
 

 

Game Summary: Good lord that Stanford game was a bummer. I do think Northwestern’s run game will have a day against a pretty bad UNLV team. It’ll be an uninspired playbook for Hunter, who looked like a young Evan Watkins out there a few weeks ago.

 

Game Score: Cats 38 – UNLV 14

 

Play of the Game: Hunter Johnson throws a TD to someone.

 

Player to Watch: Ol’ HJ until he proves us otherwise.

 

Warrior to Watch: Rusty. He’s bringing the satellite and the TV.

 

Other Game to Watch: Pitt-Penn State is usually a fun game to watch.

 

TRENT
 
Game Summary: Well the ‘Cats lost game one and didn’t look great. While we held Stanford to 10 points (plus a bogus last second fumble TD), we only scored 7. The game was so bad I can barely remember any specific moments from the action. I do know TJ Green looked the better of the two QBs but got knocked out for the year. Hunter Johnson looked like a first time starter and definitely will be a work in progress.

Good news is we’ve got UNLV this week. They lost their last game to Arkansas State by 34 points and aren’t very good, especially on defense. Hopefully the ‘Cats O can get enough going to put some points on the board and pull this one out. I’m very proud to have coined the term Bowser Ball™ however Bowser isn’t playing in this one :(. However, think the ‘Cats will run a lot this week with HJ using his legs. Beware the ‘Cats at home as a double digit favorite – I can’t remember the last time we covered in this situation. However I think NU will be fired up and Fitz has too much bad Akron taste in his mouth to let the team slip up here.

 

Game Score: NU 38 – UNLV – 17

 

Play of the Game: Hunter throws his first TD pass, a deep post to Riley Lees.
 

 

Player to Watch: Hunter Johnson.

 

Warrior to Watch: Doc Roche. The doctor is back in Chicago and will be ready to roll in the West Lot.

 

Other Game to Watch: ASU @ MSU. Can Sparty stay undefeated before their trip to Evanston next week?

 

ANDY DAY
 

Game Summary: Our offense is bad until proven otherwise. I don’t care how bad UNLV’s defense is supposed to be, our offense is arguably worse (yes, we have the second worse offense in the FBS right now). We will struggle again to score, but so will UNLV. Our defense is still pretty darn good despite some tackling issues in Week 1, and we’ll manage to hold a high scoring offense to only a handful of scores.

 

Game Score: ‘Cats 20 – UNLV 19

 

Play of the Game: Hunter Johnson completes two consecutive passes.

 

Player to Watch: Mick McCall

 

Warrior to Watch: Dr. Michael Roche, MD. Will he lose his keys, only to find them later?

 

Other Game to Watch: LSU vs Northwestern….State.

 

HACK
 

Game Summary: UNLV lost to Arkansas State last week. They aren’t good. Too bad this isn’t a  home and home. I will be eating Paella and enjoying the nice day as the Cats roll.

 

Game Score: ‘Cats 35 – UNLV 3

 

Play of the Game: Hunter Johnson completes a 75-yard pass to Kyric McGowan on the first play from scrimmage

 

Player to Watch: Hunter till he proves otherwise.

 

Warrior to Watch: Dr. Michael Roche has returned praise be to Otto Graham!

 

Other Game to Watch: Stanford vs UCF: Can Stanford make our loss look good?

 

PAUL
 

Game Summary: With no Bowser, Hunter will have to really prove himself. Can he handle the pressure of his first home game in an ideal tailgate timeslot at 2:30?? I’m not convinced yet after that pitiful performance by the O-line and O-coordinator two weeks ago. I have a bad feeling this one is going to be tight with NU needing a late FG to win it.

 

Game Score: ‘Cats 19 – UNLV 17

 

Play of the Game: Winning FG kick with seconds remaining.

 

Player to Watch: Kicker. I sense we’re going to need a game winner in this one.

 

Warrior to Watch: Gotta be Roche. Welcome back to the West Lot!!

 

Other Game to Watch: Iowa v. Iowa State. Going to be as tough a battle as the one over the effectiveness of corn subsidies in Washington DC!