Sept. 17, 2011
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Site: West Point, N.Y. (Michie Stadium)
Score: Army 21, Northwestern 14
Records: NU (2-1), Army (1-2)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Oct. 1 at Illinois Champaign, Ill. 11 a.m. CT (TV TBA)
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Siemian came on to engineer a game-tying touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter, but Army got a late score to earn a 21-14 victory and hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
Army looked poised to go ahead by two scores midway through the fourth quarter, putting together a 14-play, 81-yard drive down to the Northwestern 8-yard line. But Alex Carlton suffered his second missed field goal of the day, leaving the door ajar for the Wildcats.
Siemian took over under center for Northwestern on its ensuing drive and quickly went to work, hitting Drake Dunsmore and Rashad Lawrence on back-to-back plays for a first down. On the next play, Siemian found Jeremy Ebert open over the middle with room to run. Ebert sprinted the rest of the 62 yards to paydirt to tie the score.
However, the Black Knights answered right back as quarterback Trent Steelman capped a quick nine-play drive with a one-yard plunge to post the decisive score with 2:49 remaining.
NU had an opportunity to tie the game as it started its next drive at its own 40 following a kickoff that went out of bounds. The 'Cats got to the Army 33 with just over a minute left, but Siemian's pass on fourth-and-1 was incomplete and the Golden Knights were able to run out the clock.
The loss was just the second for the Wildcats in their last 16 regular-season nonconference games.
After forcing a Northwestern punt on the opening drive of the game, Army began a methodical march down the field that was extended by a fourth-and-6 conversion by the Black Knights. Steelman then broke free for a 17-yard touchdown scamper, capping off an 18-play drive that ate up nearly nine minutes of game time.
Army was on the move again in the second quarter before David Nwabuisi and Damien Proby stuffed a third-down rushing attempt by Steelman, setting up a 47-yard field goal try by the Black Knights that was wide right.
Still trailing by a touchdown in the second, Northwestern forced a key three-and-out on defense capped by a pass breakup by senior Jeravin Matthews from his corner position. Following the Army punt, NU took over one yard shy of midfield and drove it down to the 4-yard line thanks in large part to 29 ground yards.
A holding penalty against NU set the ball at 14, but on the next play, Colter found a streaking Ebert in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown as Ebert managed to leap and get a foot down in spectacular fashion. The play marked Colter's first career touchdown pass and evened things at 7-7 with 5:23 left before halftime.
Army brought the ball back into field goal range on the next drive, but lost its chance at points on an 11-yard sack by Nwabuisi. With only 1:03 to work with, Colter led the `Cats down the field, but a Northwestern field goal attempt from 26 yards was off the mark, sending the game to halftime tied at seven.
After receiving the kickoff to start the second half, Army picked up 33 yards on the first play from scrimmage on a run by Raymond Maples. The Black Knights then punched in their second score of the day on a one-yard Steelman keeper with 10:43 left in the third quarter.
Both offenses sputtered over the remainder of the quarter, combining for five three-and-out possessions in that time.
Siemian sparked the NU offense to life with the game-tying touchdown drive that culminated with 6:03 to go in the fourth quarter, but Army responded with the decisive score of their own just over three minutes later.
Siemian completed 5-of-7 passes for a game- and career-high 105 yards. Ebert had six receptions for 108 yards and two scores. Defensively, four Wildcats posted double-figure tackles as Bryce McNaul (15), Ibraheim Campbell (13), Nwabuisi (12) and Matthews (10) all notched career-high totals in stops.
Northwestern has an open date next Saturday and will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it travels to rival Illinois to do battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. in Champaign.
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