We have no idea what this team will be. Will this offense be able to score points? Will this be 2019 all over again? We’re praying that this season is closer to 2018 or 2020. These lyrics pretty clearly summarize what the scene will be at the Warrior tailgate on Friday evening:
As we get closer and closer to gameday, we are ramping up our posting for the 2016 season. Our excitement is growing, and I’m sure yours is too, so in order to feed the excitement we are going through the top 5 non-traditional “Go U Northwestern” renditions. Hope you enjoy! Go ‘Cats!
#5 – Dell Lampe
Pretty neat piece of history, here. Also has a “forgotten” intro which is pretty cool.
#4 – Casablanca Overdub
So the actual rendition here is pretty bad, but the video and setup is amazing.
#3 – The Remix
Shoutout to P-Holla. Super hot remix, but the intro is a little long IMHO which is what kept this one from creeping higher on this list.
#2 – 8-Bit Version
Created for the centennial of the fight song itself, this version has won the hearts of all NES/SNES gamers.
#1 – Piano Cover
Just a super awesome transcription by one of our favorite readers, Marcel. Thanks for reading!
A few days ago we found this gem on the ESPN.com Game HQ for the showdown in Ann Arbor this weekend:
Unfortunately our friend Babs has been getting some heat for her enthusiasm for the Wildcats. See below:
Dave sends a mean message, but Barb puts him in his place… similar to what she thinks the ‘Cats will do to Michigan this weekend:
Get ’em Babs. Next we get more playful banter from Tracy:
I think if Babs could, she would. But instead she drops this heat:
Next we a top-tier Michigan homer who thinks he knows everything about Michigan football. Someone clearly has never talked smack in their life:
Babs makes our friend Josh over here look like a fool:
Here comes Dan, trying to make things personal:
Sticks and stones may break Babs’ bones, but words can never hurt her. Hopefully the same is for you Dan, cause you just got torched:
Our friend Dave from earlier decides to return to the ring and try and defend his honor:
Babs is having none of it:
God, I love the internet. Keep on keepin’ on Babs. Hopefully we both get to rub this win in Dave Roth’s stupid face. #B1GCats
Lots of things to say here.
First off – I find it a little odd that Fitz decided to announce a starter before 9/4. Fitzy loves his little “competitive advantage” tactics by forcing coaches to scout multiple players and have multiple game plans. He also is almost obnoxiously reserved about disclosing information about the team (such as listing injuries as “lower body injuries” or this whole fiasco). The fact that he gives Stanford a clearer picture of what the offense will look like (honestly not all that clear regardless) seems out of place. Is he going to trot Snacks Oliver or Matt Alviti on the field for some strange two QB system? Only time will tell.
Next – this is exciting. He seems to be the future of program and came in highly touted. Roger was quick to point out that he was the #2 recruit in the state of Illinois and the #6 ranked dual threat QB nationally. He definitely seems to have the highest upside and fits the mold of QBs who were successful under Mick McCall.
Finally – what does this mean in terms of our strength at the QB position? He beat out two options who didn’t seem especially strong. Can we expect a return to the good ole days of Persa and Kafka or will we struggle again like we did in years past? My instinct is that he will struggle in year one but this could be a great learning year and a sign of good things to come.
I’ll leave you with some high school highlights:
Maybe Pat Fitzgerald was right to be insulted by Teddy Greenstein’s question asking if this team was good enough to win a B1G game. Clearly they did just that, and did so in dominant fashion. Having never seen NU dominate a conference game like that in recent memory (I believe the last I saw was NU vs Illinois in 2000, where oddly enough we also missed a PAT), my initial reaction was, “Holy crap! We’re really good!” After cooling off and reflecting on the game, I think that statement is half right. Some parts of our team are great, and others are not. Penn state still has some major issues, and despite starting out the year 4-0, their opponents (excluding us) are a combined 7-10. Let’s take a look at some lessons learned from Penn State.
Our defense is legit.
I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the season. Our defense is the best it has been since Fitz was wearing number 51, and it finally showed this Saturday. Sure, PSU’s O-Line (and offense in general) have major issues, the way our defense held them without a touchdown for 60 minutes was unreal. So many players were able to step up and make plays and keep PSU out of the endzone. Our run defense was incredible, keeping Penn State to only 50 yards on the ground on 25 carries. Given that our next opponent (Wisconsin) has major issues at QB, this certainly gives reason to be confident on Saturday.
Our offense is not.
Sure, our team totaled 361 yards and scored 3 touchdowns against a solid PSU defense, but lets take a look at our drives from the game.
Of our 4 scoring drives and 1 “scoring drive” (we reached the 1 yard line before running a failed fake FG play) 4 of those started within the Penn State 31 yard line. Yes, the ‘Cats did a great job of winning the field position battle, but the fact that we could only reach the endzone on 1 drive that didn’t start in Nittany Lion territory (which started at our 40 yard line, mind you) is scary. After a fast start in the first quarter, NU had 7 straight drives (ignoring the drive at the end of the first half) where we didn’t score any points. Four of those drives were 3-and-outs, and on the only one where we finally got the ball moving, Trevor threw an INT. Long story short, we still have major question marks on offense.
The play calling was very uninspired and again left more to be desired from Mick McCall. Also many drives stalled out because of miscues from Trevor, which leads me to my next point…
Trevor is not great.
I was a huge Trevor proponent at the beginning of the year. I thought he was going to really excel and finally take control of the offense. Anything but has happened.
There are miscues everywhere, he is over/underthrowing open receivers, and often struggles with his progression. He has an arm, but is often to inconsistent to make good use of it. He also is pretty immobile, which doesn’t favor NU’s style of offense. I don’t know if we have a better option below him, but I don’t think our boy Trevor is the answer. I’m not saying he’s bad, I just don’t think he’s good enough to enable our great receivers to march the ball down the field. Snax looked pretty good against NIU, didn’t he?
Our coaches are, for lack of a better word, idiots.
Anthony Walker. Until Saturday, no one knew who the hell this kid was. Now, I’m wondering if Collin Ellis is still listed as an inside linebacker on the depth chart (Update: Not only is Collin still listed as a MLB, he is starting). There is no way that this kid didn’t stand out in practice. Collin has been struggling to adjust to his new position, and frankly, does not look to be on the same planet as Walker. Yet, for some reason, we only got to see Walker play because Ellis was hurt. Does this mean that if Collin never missed a game this year, we would have never gotten Cakes Walker (short for Pancakes, which is derived from Walker Brothers in Wilmette, IL) on the field? The scary thing is, I think the answer is yes.
Fitz is too loyal (which is why perhaps we still have certain coaches on the staff?) and believes too much in seniority. Fitz’s logic is that Collin Ellis is a Senior and a Captain, and therefore he should start. This is just crazy, and makes you wonder how many other players are hiding in the wings that haven’t gotten to touch the field because there is someone older than them on the roster. Is there a QB that could explode onto the scene? Is this the reason Odenigbo is only playing on 3rd downs? We know that our recruiting has brought in better and better talent, so why not let that talent help us win?
Our kicking game is a hot mess.
1/2 FG, 2/4 PAT. Enough said. Can we figure this out please?
Xavier Washington is a great dancer.
Long story short, I think we’re better than we thought we were, but we still have issues of our own. Looking forward to seeing what improvements the coaches make going into next week. Go ‘Cats!
First off, Mark should have made 1st team in at least one (coaches or media). He’s the best RB in the B1G in my opinion. Sorry Montee Ball, plowing behind 330lb first round offensive linemen your whole career doesn’t impress me and it doesn’t impress anyone outside the B1G. You’d never see the field at NU with that style. Also, how the hell did Budzien only make 1st team in one? The dude missed one fg and no extra points. The fg he missed was from 53 yards and he missed it by a foot.
Mulroe got a 2nd team shoutout in media (well deserved) but didn’t even get an honorable mention in coaches. Campbell got an HM in Coaches and Chi Chi and HM in Media. (ED Note: I misread that… there are more HM’s than I noted. Hard to read the way they showed it. Nonetheless, we still got the shaft.)
Northwestern romped Illinois yesterday, and Wildcat nation has been flying high since. For the second time this season, the ‘Cats are ranked in the BCS. The other time the ‘Cats cracked the BCS top 25 was week 11. They promptly dropped out after losing 38-31 at Michigan in overtime.
As I mentioned on twitter, the ‘Cats should crack the Top 20 of the BCS after Championship Week. Kent State and Northern Illinois play Friday night. Kansas State plays Texas. UCLA plays Stanford (again) this weekend. With a little help from our friends, not only will the ‘Cats stay ranked for two consecutive (!!!!!!!) weeks, but they’ll jump a few in the process.
In terms of bowl projections, it looks like not much has changed since last week. However, some interesting comments from the Capital One Bowl twitter today has me thinking that Orlando isn’t as out of the picture as I originally thought. We’ll have to keep an eye on that as the week rolls on. If I had to guess at this point, though, I’d say Northwestern ends up in Tampa playing the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.
-Congratulations to That School In South Bend, who guaranteed a spot in the BCS Title Game with a win at USC. They’ll play the winner of the SEC Title Game (Alabama or Georgia), with the loser going to the Capital One Bowl, probably. My brother graduated from TSISB in 2006, and he bought tickets last week to the game for $800, assuming they’d beat USC. The cheapest tickets on stubhub.com are now $1,600. Holy hell. I feel safe in assuming Gator/Outback/CapOne tickets will be less than 10% of that. At least I hope they’re under $160.
-Roger just pointed out that Syracuse is still in the running for the Big East title and an automatic BCS bowl bid. That Syracuse, of 42-41 Week One fame (I love me some hyperlinks today). Just sit back and imagine if that happens.
-Vandy finished 8-4 (5-3 SEC). It’s pretty clear that the Week One 17-9 loss to South Carolina (healthy Lattimore) was not fluke. They’re a program on the up, and it’s too bad they canceled the series.
Cue the Staples ‘That Was Easy’ button. 50-14. Northwestern finishes the season 9-3 and 10-1 ATS. It didn’t always look like it was going to be a walk in the park, as the ‘D’ sleepwalked through the first 20 minutes of the game, which resulted in 14 early Illinois points. On to the highlights and lowlights.
Kain Colter’s Throwing – Kain Colter is an incredible athlete, and more often than not he makes plays with his legs. Today he showed he can get the job done with his arm. His final passing stats were: 9/11, 102 yards, three touchdowns. Raise your hand if you thought Colter would have a three TD game this year. /crickets/. Exactly. Great growth to see Kain having the confidence to let is fly.
Offensive Line – Well over 300 yards rushing. The ‘Cats were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted to do, except a Bo Cisek touchdown. They controlled the line of scrimmage and smacked around an Illinois team desperate for a conference victory.
Keeping Up With The Jones – Northwestern was thisclose to having all three Jones – Christian (who stepped out two yards short), Tony and Tyrus – score a touchdown today. Tyrus had a 15 yards screen pass TD to go along with 45 yards rushing and some impressive returns, while Tony hauled in a nine-yarder from Colter
The Last 40 Minutes Of Defense – I’m gonna go ahead and pay myself on the back by calling the three INT’s #shamelessplug. The defense was much improved after seemingly washing their hands in crisco before the game (see below in ‘lowlights’). Illinois simply couldn’t get going after the first 14 points. Good defenses can get beat, but they won’t get beat the same way over an over again. Great job adjusting and making That Team Downstate earn every yard they could. Also – Safeties are awesome. Thank you for that, Max Chapman.
Venric Mark – During the game, Lake The Posts tweeted a ‘thank you’ to Venric Mark for being him. For turning a weakness in recent years (rushing) to the strength of this offense. Every Northwestern fan echoes this sentiment (though I think NotSoutheastern’s sentiment might be more PG13). He consistently turns 2/3 yard gains into 6/7 yard gains. He shows patience and explosiveness that we haven’t seen in years. He finished with 18 rushes for 127 yards and 1 TD. Great to see him back on the field after getting hurt last week. The ‘Cats need him healthy.
Jeff Budzien – A Groza award semifinalist, Jeff Budzien knocked in 36 and 44 yard field goals today. His total this year is 17/18, with his only miss being the 53 yarder against NEB. That kick missed by a hair.
4th Down Attempts – Fitz went for it on 4th down. In the red zone. In the 4th. Up 34 points. I know Fitz wanted to play as many seniors as possible (Hello, Bo Cisek), but I also like to think this was a middle finger to Illinois. Probably not, considering that’s very un-Fitz-like. I love the killer instinct.
Not Punting – That’s all. Northwestern didn’t have to punt all game.
The First 20 Minutes Of Defense – They just sleepwalked through Illinois’s first few drives. Couldn’t tackle anything. All of a sudden the ‘Cats are down 7-0 in the middle of the first quarter.
Trevor Siemian – He wasn’t used much, but he seemed a little off he overthrew his receivers pretty terribly right before halftime. He may have been just throwing it away. I don’t know, guys. I’m reaching for negatives in this game.
Wait and see. The ‘Cats finish 9-3 (5-3). Good for most since 2008, when Northwestern lost to Missouri in the Alamo Bowl. Possible destinations are Orlando for the Capital One Bowl (unlikely, given Michigan being available), Tampa for the Outback Bowl and Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. My initial impressions have the latter two as equally likely, but we’ll do a post this week detailing the possible bowl destinations and odds.
The win also have Pat Fitzgerald 49 career wins at Northwestern. That ties him for most all-time in Evanston with Lynn ‘Pappy’ Waldorf. It’s a testament to how important Fitz is to this program. Great job, Coach.
It’s already the last game of the regular season for the ‘Cats (!), and Illinois comes limping in to Ryan Field looking to hold on to the Land Of Lincoln Trophy for another year.
Andy and Roger are rolling in the West Lot right now. Stop by the tailgate with the earth flag (blue background) and say hi. I am in Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I’ll be posting up at the BWW in West Chester, PA to watch the game. I’ll be adding some commentary as the game gets going. Go ‘Cats!
Get that DeLorean to 88, Marty, we’re taking a look back at the recent history between Northwestern and Illinois.
2011: In Which the ‘Cats Squander an 18 Point Second Half Lead
I wanted the 2011 game in Champaign badly after the debacle at Wrigley Field in 2010 (we’ll get there). Dan Persa was making his debut after his Achilles injury. Though the Illini were ranked at the time, the ‘Cats (led by #7), jumped out to
an insurmountable a 28-10 lead in the second half. Eighteen points evaporated quickly as Scheelhaase-to-Jenkins somehow turned itself to Montana-to-Rice. The Illini signal caller threw for 393 yards and three TD’s (all to Jenkins). A.J. Jenkins torched the Northwestern secondary for 268 (WTF?) yards and three touchdowns.
I still hold to this day that this performance singlehandedly got Jenkins drafted; it constituted 23% of his entire yardage haul last year. 23%?!
/Double-checks his math
/Steps away from computer
Ok, I’m back. Persa finished 10/14 with 4 TD and 123 yards before removing himself due to injury. If you want to relive the horror, here’s the game recap.
2010: Wrigley Field
Let’s start with the positives, shall we? College Gameday was there. The atmosphere was electric. They painted the marquee purple! This was a big deal. A lot of buzz for the Northwestern football program. Also it was my senior year. Senior year was a good year for Roche.
But then the game started. Dan Persa’s Junior season had ended the week before against Iowa with an Achilles injury. Mike Trumpy broke his hand during the game. Evan Watkins wasn’t yet taking his talents to the superback position. Mikel Leshoure happened. 33 carries, 330 yards (speaking of games that get players singlehandedly drafted). I’m going to stop doing this to myself. 48-27, Illini win. For the masochists out there, here’s the game recap.
2009: In Which Northwestern Almost Squanders an 18 Point 4th Quarter Lead
The week before the Wisconsin win that sent us to the Outback Bowl and the week after handing jIowa its first loss in Iowa City, the ‘Cats went south. Illinois was having a rough go of things, and Northwestern was surging after suffering early season losses against Syracuse and Minnesota. Here’s what I remember mostly about this game: it wasn’t on TV. I had to watch it on ESPN3. Back in 2009, the program wasn’t close to what it was now. It was choppy. I can’t imagine this game not being televised on at least BTN ever again. So dry your years, 2009 Roche, HD will be forever in your future. Mike Kafka (new Steelers backup?) threw for 307/1 TD, and both he and Arby Fields (throwback!) rushed for a touchdown as well. After opening up
an insurmountable a 21-3 lead in the 4th, the #B1GCats saw the lead evaporate before intercepting the Illini late in the 4th to seal the victory. Game Recap? Game Recap
2008: In Which the ‘Cats Doesn’t Squander a 17 Point 4th Quarter Lead
The last time the ‘Cats got to 9 wins was the 2008 season. CJ Bacher led Northwestern to a 27-10 win on Senior Day. He threw for 230 yards and 2 TD, Stephen Simmons added another on the ground and Amado Villarreal contributed two FG’s. The Illini came in at 5-6 and were a far cry from the team that made it to the Rose Bowl the year before. Not having Rashard Mendenhall will do that to you. Illinois pulled within 6 points on a 4th quarter Matt Eller FG, but the ‘Cats answered immediately, and the game was pretty much over after that Eric Peterman TD. Game recap is here.