The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-isit the top 20 moments.
|Moment No. 13
|Date||Sept. 1, 2012|
|Location||Carrier Dome | Syracuse, N.Y.|
|Original Story||Northwestern Wins Wild Season-Opener Over Syracuse, 42-41|
|Social Media||@NUFBFamily | Northwestern Football|
|Top 20 Countdown||Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown|
With high expectations for the 2012 season, Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats kicked off the campaign on a steamy day inside the Carrier Dome against Syracuse on Sept. 1. It turned out to be another in a long line of games that have earned NU its moniker of the "Cardiac 'Cats" and one that served as a springboard to one of the best seasons in Northwestern history.
After a slow first quarter, Northwestern got on a roll beginning with Venric Mark's explosive 82-yard punt return for a touchdown and seized its first lead of the game when, following a Chi Chi Ariguzo interception return to the 21-yard line, Kain Colter found Christian Jones for Colter's first touchdown pass of the year.
By the time Ariguzo recovered a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown in the third quarter, Northwestern had amassed a 28-13 advantage. But the Orange began mounting a rally and eventually reclaimed the lead, 41-35, with 2:40 to go.
Enter quarterback Trevor Siemian. The sophomore from Orlando stepped in for Colter and orchestrated a heart-stopping drive, completing 6-of-7 passes along the way and also absorbing a late hit out of bounds -- on a 3rd-and-14 scenario -- to move NU to the 9-yard line. That's when Siemian dropped back and picked out senior wideout Demetrius Fields darting to the corner of the end zone, hitting Fields in stride to level the score at 41 apiece with 44 seconds to play. Jeff Budzien came on to boot the game-winning extra point and, following a defensive stop on the Orange's final drive, Northwestern escaped the Dome with a crucial early-season win.
The victory kept intact Fitzgerald's perfect record in season-openers as head coach of Northwestern, improving to 7-0. Including Syracuse, Northwestern defeated five teams that played in bowl games last season -- along with Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Michigan State and Mississippi State.