The Northwestern Wildcats most notable storyline of the past couple years has been their want to try and unionize in an attempt to gain compensation for their participation and presumed risk on the field. Over the weekend they made more standard headlines as they defeated the 21st ranked team in the country Stanford at Ryan Field on Saturday Afternoon. The Wildcats ran the ball tremendously and played stout defense winning the turnover battle 2-0 and outrushing Stanford by a total of 225-85.
Northwestern scored the lone touchdown of the game on a 42-yard run by their quarterback Clayton Thorson in the second quarter to make the score 10-3. The game would stay a war in the trenches as the Wildcats would move the ball with ease coming up empty on the score sheet. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan had an extremely tough game as he threw a pick and completed just 20 of his 35 passes for 155 yards. The Stanford rush game was halted all day as their leading rusher had just 66 yards on 12 carries.
The Wildcats on the other hand ran up and down the field all day as they had two rushers that topped Stanford’s lead back. Clayton Thorson has 68 yards on eight carries, and Justin Jackson had a whopper of a game gaining 134 yards on 28 carries for an average of 4.8YPC. The Northwestern defense also played big as they recorded three sacks on the day and a total of eight tackles for loss that added up to a total of 32 negative yards, not to mention the two turnovers.
The future schedule now looks bright for Northwestern as they don’t play another tough game until they open Big 10 play at home against Minnesota on October 3rd. After that it’s anybodies guess as to how they fare. In the post game interview coach Pat Fitzgerald talked about the heat and how practicing in it all last week helped his team to stay energetic for all four quarters. It was a warm day on Saturday and you could tell the ground and pound gameplan of Northwestern wore down Stanford as the day went on. On Saturday it’s Eastern Illinois at home before Northwestern head to Durham to take on Duke in two weeks.
The game was nationally televised on ESPN and the Wildcats covered a double digit spread in the victory. Stanford opens their home schedule next weekend against Central Florida before a very tough test at the Los Angeles Coliseum against #8 USC. That game is slated for ABC in primetime.