Sept. 14, 2013
Box Score |
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Using 24 second-quarter points to overcome a scoreless first period, No. 17/16 Northwestern improved to 3-0 on the young season by defeating Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan, 38-17. The 'Cats did the brunt of their offensive damage on the ground, pounding out 332 yards, and junior tailback Treyvon Green notched a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.
Senior quarterback Kain Colter also surpassed the 100-yard mark on the ground (106), giving Northwestern two 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time since Oct. 27, 2012 vs. Iowa.
The victory extended Northwestern's home winning streak in nonconference action to 15 in a row.
Northwestern received a boost on the opening kickoff by true freshman Matthew Harris, who broke loose for 47 yards on his first career kickoff return. Western Michigan responded, however, by intercepting Colter's first pass attempt as Colter sought out Dan Vitale down the left sideline.
The Wildcats defense forced consecutive three-and-outs on Western Michigan's first two drives, and the game remained scoreless when NU's Jeff Budzien missed just left on a 42-yard field goal attempt that snapped a string of 13 made field goals dating to last season. The Broncos then got on the board first in the game by completing a 15-play drive with a 37-yard field goal by J. Schroeder with 2:37 left in the first period.
With Western Michigan driving once again and facing a third-and-3 scenario, redshirt freshmen defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo provided a rush on WMU quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen that resulted in a rushed throw and an acrobatic interception by safety Ibraheim Campbell near midfield. The pick was Campbell's third of the year and extended his streak of consecutive games with an interception to five dating to last season, breaking the Northwestern record of four straight games with an INT previously held by Brett Whitley (1985).
With Colter under center, the Northwestern offense seized on that momentum and marched down the field in seven plays, the last of which was a four-yard scoring rush by Colter that put NU in front, 7-3. On the ensuing play from scrimmage, however, Western Michigan's Corey Davis got behind the Northwestern secondary and broke a tackle for a 75-yard scoring strike, returning the lead to the Broncos.
The Northwestern offense continued to come alive in the remainder of the second quarter, with Colter conducting another touchdown drive that ended with a 6-yard pass from Colter to Christian Jones. After a three-and-out by the visiting offense, Northwestern regained possession and ran the ball seven of the next eight plays on another trip to the end zone, this time by senior tailback Mike Trumpy.
Fitzgerald's bunch was not done scoring in the first half, with Trevor Siemian coming under center with 51 ticks left in the second quarter. Siemian completed three passes to move the Wildcats to the 18-yard line, where Budzien got back on track with a 35-yard field goal that put NU ahead, 24-10, entering the locker room.
The Wildcats forced a punt on the opening possession of the second half and began their drive at their own 13-yard line, going back to the ground and moving out near midfield on a 24-yard rush by Green. Eight plays later the 'Cats found themselves on WMU's 1-yard line, where Green did the rest to increase the Northwestern advantage to 31-10.
After a Northwestern fumble later in the quarter, Western Michigan punched in a touchdown on a 25-yard pass to Josh Schaffer. But on the ensuing NU drive, Green took a handoff on second-and-6 and broke off a 42-yard rush for his second touchdown of the evening and his sixth of the young season.
Defensively, junior linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo paced the Wildcats with 7.0 tackles. Northwestern pressured WMU's Van Tubbergen in the backfield to the tune of eight QB hurries.
The Wildcats wrap up nonconference play next Saturday at Ryan Field when they host FCS opponent Maine. Gametime is set for 2:30 p.m. CT with the Big Ten Network set to provide the live broadcast from Evanston. For tickets, call the Northwestern Athletics Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE.
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