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    Northwestern Back Home to Face FCS Power Southern Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Rasheed Ward was tabbed the offensive player of the game vs. Duke.
    Rasheed Ward was tabbed the offensive player of the game vs. Duke.

    Sept. 8, 2008

    Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

    Monday Press Conference Video
    Watch full press conference archive
    Coach Fitzgerald's opening statement
    Fitzgerald on facing Southern Illinois
    Fitzgerald on improving each week
    Fitzgerald on the play of Jordan Mabin
    Fitzgerald on the play of Corey Wootton
    Bachér on third down execution
    Bachér on offensive improvement
    Bachér talks about SIU's defense
    Wootton on his sack total

    For Openers
    • Northwestern has started 2-0 for a second consecutive year after posting a 24-20 come-from-behind win at Duke University this past Saturday. Running back Omar Conteh scored on a 2-yard run with 9:04 to play before NU's defense posted two critical fourth-down stops in the game's final minutes for the victory.

    • NU's first two wins of the year have come against BCS schools. The Wildcats are the only Big Ten program to post wins over BCS programs in the season's first two weeks.

    • After recording a four-point win against the Blue Devils last week, Northwestern improved to 15-3 in its last 18 games that have been decided by seven points or less.

    • The Wildcats turned in a turnover-free performance against Duke. It was the first time since Oct. 6, 2007 (48-41 OT win vs. Michigan State) that NU committed no turnovers in a game.

    • Senior running back Tyrell Sutton scored the Wildcats' first two touchdowns, both on the ground, for his seventh career multiple-TD game.

    • Coming off a 12-2 season that included an NCAA national semifinal appearance, Southern Illinois is seeking its sixth straight FCS postseason berth in 2008. The Salukis own the second-longest streak of NCAA appearances among FCS schools (only Montana has a longer streak).

    • SIU won a combined 50 games from 2003 through 2007, or an average of 10 wins per year. That ranks as the ninth highest total among all NCAA Division I schools during that period.

    • Southern Illinois opened its 2008 season this past Saturday with a 37-31 victory over Hampton. The Salukis were led by running back Larry Warner, who totaled 353 all-purpose yards: 151 rushing, 39 receiving, 20 punt return and 143 kickoff return. One of his kick returns went 95 yards for a TD.

    • SIU is returning four All-Americans (third team or honorable mention selections) in 2008. Third-team All-America linebacker Chauncey Mixon recorded five tackles and a pass breakup in the win over Hampton while honorable mention All-America linebacker Brandin Jordan totaled eight tackles.

    • NU's players of the game against Duke were: Sherrick McManis (defense), Rasheed Ward (offense), Brian Peters (special teams), Jordan Mabin (defensive big play) and C.J. Bachér (offensive big play).

    Gameday Promotions/Info
    •Tickets for Saturday's game ($35 reserved/$25 end zone) can be purchased by calling 847-491-CATS or visiting

    • Saturday is Take a Kid to the Game Day (two children, eighth grade and under, are admitted free with each adult ticket purchased at regular price and this offer is valid only on day of the game and not valid with any other offer), WGN Day, Heroes' Day (all identified armed service and public safety officials and their families are admitted free, and the offer is good only on game day), and Band Day.

    • Fans can stop by the Brookfield Zoo booth in Wildcat Alley and Walker Terrace to receive zoo giveaways and information, participate in child activities and pose for pictures with the zoo's mascot, BZ Bear.

    The Broadcasts
    Radio -- WGN (720 AM) will carry the game live with its pregame show starting at 10:30 a.m. The radio broadcast can also be heard live via the internet at Dave Eanet (play-by-play) and Ted Albrecht (analyst) call the action. WNUR (89.3), NU's student radio station, also will carry the game live. The contest is also available on the XM Satellite Radio network. (Channels 196-199).

    Television -- The Big Ten Network is televising the game, with the broadcast available nationally on Direct TV and Dish Network. Mark Neely (play-by-play), Glen Mason (analyst) and Tony McGee (sideline) call the action.

    (For a complete set of game notes, download the PDF above.)