NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL POSTGAME NOTES
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012
at Syracuse (Carrier Dome)
Northwestern improved to 7-0 all-time in season-openers under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. The Wildcats have won their last eight season-openers overall.
The victory allowed NU to even its all-time series with Syracuse, 5-5. It was the Wildcats' first victory in the Carrier Dome after the orange had won the first three meetings.
Today's game marked the first time that both Northwestern and opponent scored at least 40 points since a 49-48 double-overtime home win over Minnesota on oct. 13, 2007. It was the first time it happened in a regulation game since a 51-48 home win over Wisconsin on oct. 8, 2005.
NU opens its home season next Saturday as it takes on Vanderbilt (0-1) at Ryan Field in Evanston.
Sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian came off the bench to engineer Northwestern's game-winning drive. He hooked up with senior Demetrius Fields on 9-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds remaining that tied the game before an extra point by Jeff Budzien put the Wildcats in front for good.
SIEMIAN completed six of seven passes for 63 yards on the game-winning drive.
FIELDS also had a game-winning touchdown reception with 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter as a sophomore in a 21-17 win over Iowa on Nov. 13, 2010.
FIELDS posted career highs with eight receptions and 83 receiving yards in today's contest. His previous highs were seven receptions and 73 yards, both against Texas A&M in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on Dec. 31, 2011.
Junior Venric Mark returned a punt 82 yards with 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter for Northwestern's first touchdown of the 2012 season. It was the Wildcats first punt return for a TD since Sept. 10, 2005 (Marquice Cole vs. Northern Illinois).
The return was Northwestern's first kick return for a TD since Nov. 27, 2010 at Wisconsin, also accomplished by MARK.
MARK'S 134 punt return yards in the contest are a Northwestern single-game record, surpassing the mark of 121 yards set by Lee Gissendaner against Stanford in 1992.
MARK also made his first career start at running back and totaled 82 yards (32-yard long) on 14 carries. He finished the contest with 281 all-purpose yards, tying his career-best mark also achieved at Wisconsin on Nov. 27, 2010.
Junior Kain Colter made his fourth career start at quarterback, but his second straight in a Wildcats' season-opener.
CoLTER connected with MARK for his first TD pass of the campaign with 6:53 remaining in the second quarter, a 21-yard strike.
CoLTER linked up with sophomore Christian Jones with 3:49 remaining in the first half for a TD, JoNES' first career collegiate TD.
CoLTER punched the ball in from the 1-yard line with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter for his first rushing TD of the season.
Sophomore Kyle Prater and true freshman Dan Vitale each recorded the first reception of their Northwestern careers. Prater finished with two receptions for 11 yards, while Vitale had one catch for seven yards.
Sophomore Chi Chi Ariguzo notched the Wildcats first interception of the year in the second quarter, returning it 49 yards to the Syracuse 21.
ARIGUZo recorded the first TD of his collegiate career on a 37-yard fumble return in the third quarter.
Junior Tyler Scott registered the Wildcats' first sack of the season in the third quarter.