Sept. 11, 2013
Weekly News Conference Free Preview | The Skip Report: For High-Flying 'Cats, Business As Usual
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 17/16 Northwestern has ridden a pair of 500-plus yard offensive outbursts to consecutive wins over BCS conference opponents to begin 2013, and Saturday the Wildcats will try to continue their ascent up the national rankings when they host Western Michigan at 8 p.m. CT.
To catch the 'Cats in action, tune your TV dial to Big Ten Network or enjoy the radio broadcast on WMVP-ESPN1000 in Chicago. Follow live tweets on @NU_SportsLIVE and share your photos and excitment from the game by using the hashtag #B1GCats to join the conversation.
The home-opener vs. Syracuse was a night to remember for all Wildcats fans in attendance at Ryan Field. Check out the video below for a recap of the Sights and Sounds of the Game presented by Cricket Wireless:
Northwestern Football would like to invite all healthcare employees, as well as their families and friends, to Ryan Field this fall to experience the best gameday experience in Chicago. Discount tickets can be purchased IN ADVANCE of game day when purchased online using a special promotion code. CLICK HERE for event information and ordering instructions.
Irish Heritage Night: Northwestern would like to invite fans to Ryan Field for a celebration of Irish heritage and an evening with culture, tradition and football. Event highlights to include a special keepsake gift and cultural performances in Wildcat Alley. Discount tickets can be purchased IN ADVANCE of game day when purchased online using a special promotion code. CLICK HERE for event information and ordering instructions.
Wildcat Alley Fan Fest Presented by Cricket Wireless:
Wildcat Alley is the FREE pregame fan fest area located only 100 yards northeast of Ryan Field. Wildcat Alley opens three hours before kickoff at each home game. Wildcat Alley is fun for guests of all ages and features interactive games, face painting, giveaways, Willie the Wildcat, cheerleaders, a performance by the Northwestern marching band and much more. For more information on Wildcat Alley or the new Wildcat Alley Tailgate Garden, CLICK HERE.
Fans are reminded that parking in the lots on the east and west sides of Ryan Field is restricted only to season ticket holders who are in possession of a season-long parking pass. If you do not have a parking pass, please head directly to the FREE lots on campus to park. Please be advised that due to ongoing construction on Northwestern's lakefront campus -- specifically at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center -- parking will be limited this fall. All free lots on campus are available on a first-come, first-earned basis, and tailgating IS permitted in these lots. Free shuttles run between campus and Ryan Field before, during and after games.
Additionally, Ryan Field is conveniently located less than three blocks away from both the CTA Purple Line (Central Street station) and the Metra (Central Street/Evanston Station). Visit transitchicago.com or metrarail.com for gameday transit schedules.
Northwestern Game Notes
Offensive coordinator and QB coach Mick McCall once again employed his two-quarterback system to near-perfection against Syracuse Saturday, and QBs Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian were on top of their games. The two combined to throw for 375 yards on 30-of-37 passing -- including 22-of-24 in the first half--with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It marked only the fourth time since 2000 that a Big Ten team finished a game with a passing completion percentage of at least 80.0 while completing at least 30 passes. Ironically, the brief list of those occasions now includes two performances by Northwestern against Syracuse:
||Passing (Comp. %)
|1. Northwestern vs. Syracuse ||9/19/09 ||36-of-43 (83.7)||2. Northwestern vs. Syracuse ||9/7/13 ||30-of-37 (81.1)
|| Illinois vs. Charleston Southern|| 9/15/12 ||30-of-37 (81.1)
||4. Michigan State (vs. Indiana) ||10/4/03 ||33-of-41 (80.5)
Northwestern is accustomed to compiling high completion percentages under McCall, who is in his sixth season in Evanston. NU ranked fifth nationally in the stat in both 2010 (68.3) and 2011 (71.0) as Dan Persa was on his way to graduating as the NCAA's all-time leader in completion percentage (72.7, 460-of-633).
Both Colter and Siemian consistently targeted wideout Tony Jones last week, allowing the junior from Flint, Mich., to set career bests with nine receptions and 185 yards through the air. The speedster hauled in long catches of 32 and 43 yards in addition to his 47-yard touchdown grab, contributing to Jones collecting the most receiving yards in a game by a Wildcat since Jeremy Ebert notched 208 against Rice in 2011.
On the other side of the ball, Northwestern has made a habit of terrorizing opposing quarterbacks of late. With four more interceptions against Syracuse last week, the Wildcats now have 16 picks in the last five games they have played dating to last season, and in two of the last three (vs. Syracuse, vs. Mississippi State) have received at least one pick from all three levels of the defense (defensive line, linebackers, secondary). NU, whose seven interceptions this season rank the 'Cats in a tie with Tennessee for best in the nation, also notched seven pass breakups against Syracuse, including three by tackle Chance Carter.
Senior place-kicker Jeff Budzien has picked up in 2013 right where he left off a year ago when he was named the 2012 Bakken-Andersen Co-Big Ten Kicker of the Year. The Lou Groza Award candidate is off to a 5-for-5 start on field goals this year and has extended his string of consecutive made extra point attempts to 112, a streak which ranks among the longest in Big Ten history. Last week against Syracuse, Budzien became the seventh NU player to reach 200 career points, now standing sixth all-time with 202. He also stands No. 1 in the Big Ten, among all players, with 26 points through two games.
With the victory over Syracuse, Northwestern improved to 15-4 in the last 19 regular-season games it has played dating to Oct. 29, 2011.
Northwestern and Western Michigan hook up on the gridiron for the first time in their respective histories on Saturday.
The Wildcats last faced a Mid-American Conference opponent on Sept. 25, 2010, when they defeated Central Michigan, 30-25, at Ryan Field. Northwestern is 16-8-1 all-time versus MAC foes, having won nine straight against the league.
Western Michigan's linebackers are coached by former Wildcat great Tim McGarigle, a 2006 Northwestern alum and the NCAA's all-time leader in career tackles (545). McGarigle, who played under Pat Fitzgerald during Fitz' days as NU's linebackers coach, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Northwestern in 2011 before moving to a full-time role in Kalamazoo.
Relive last week's win over Syracuse through the eyes of the 'Cats by watching episode 4 of Northwestern's season-long behind-the-scenes series, "The Hunt":
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