Sept. 20, 2000
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL at Wisconsin
DATE/TIME: Sept. 23, 2000/11:00 a.m. CT
SITE: Camp Randall Stadium (Madison, Wis.)
artificial surface/capacity 76,129
TV: ESPN Plus (WBBM-TV, Channel 2 in Chicago)
RADIO: WGN (720 AM)
Northwestern heads into the first Big Ten weekend for the 2000 season with arguably the toughest test of the season -- two-time defending conference champion Wisconsin. In Madison. The Wildcats struggled in their first contest against a ranked team last Saturday, falling to TCU 41-14. The score is not necessarily a good indication of how the game went, however. In fact, with 6:55 to play in the fourth quarter, Northwestern was down just 24-14 and had the ball. However, the one statistic that was a boon for the Wildcats in the first two games -- turnovers -- turned into their bane. A pair of interceptions, sandwiched around a fumble, resulted in 17 TCU points and turned a competitive game into a blowout. Despite the loss, there were many positives. Facing a TCU defense that had allowed just 150 yards combined in its previous six games, Damien Anderson ran for 90. In the process, he surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career (he now has 2,030). He also moved ahead of Stanley Davenport and Mike Adamle into fourth place on the school's all-time rushing list. Next up: Greg Boykin (2,465). Overall, Northwestern ran for 113 yards on the day. TCU also had a lot more trouble getting into the NU backfield -- a week after recording a staggering 15 sacks against Nevada, the Horned Frogs had just three against the Wildcats. On defense, Northwestern welcomed back Salem Simon for his first action of the season. Napoleon Harris had 10 tackles and his second interception in as many games to lead the Wildcats.
RECORD: Wisconsin leads, 53-29-5 (24-14-2 in Madison)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: Wisconsin, 3
MOST RECENT MEETING: Oct. 30, 1999 (Wisconsin, 35-19)
FIRST MEETING: Nov. 26, 1890 (Northwestern, 22-10, in Milwaukee)
LAST NU WIN IN MADISON: Oct. 19, 1996 (34-30)
LAST UW WIN IN MADISON: Sept. 26, 1998 (38-7)
After today, Northwestern and Wisconsin will not meet again until the 2003 season
RUNNING BACK U.? WHO?
Today's game features the only schools in the Big Ten to have had four 1,000-yard rushers in the last five years. Of course, it was done in very different fashions. NU had three different running backs accomplish the feat in that time -- Darnell Autry rushed for 1,785 and 1,452 yards in 1995 and 1996, respectively, in 1997, Adrian Autry amassed 1,049 yards, and last season Damien Anderson accumulated 1,128 rushing yards. Wisconsin has had four straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, but it has been the same player each time (Ron Dayne).
LOOKING BACK AT WEEK 3 (at TCU)
Notes and tidbits from the 41-14 loss in Fort Worth...
* RB Damien Anderson had 90 yards and moved into fourth on the school's all-time list with 2,030 yards. On Saturday, he moved past Stanley Davenport and Mike Adamle.
* Anderson had a 39-yard touchdown run. His five TDs this year have been from an average of almost 35 yards out this year (exact number is 34.4).
* Overall, Northwestern ran for 113 yards against a TCU defense that had allowed just 150 yards rushing combined in its last six games.
* QB Zak Kustok threw his first interceptions of the year Saturday. In fact, before his second-quarter pick, Kustok had thrown 94 passes (completing 54) without an INT dating back through the previous four games to last season.
* WR Kunle Patrick had a career-high four receptions.
* WR Teddy Johnson caught his first TD pass of the year.
* The 73-yard TD from Zak Kustok to Johnson marked the longest career TD hookup for either one.
* One week after getting 15 sacks against Nevade, TCU only had three sacks on Kustok Saturday.
* DE Dwayne Missouri had another tackle-for-loss. He has had one in each game this season and now has 32 for his career. He is fifth on Northwestern's all-time list.
* LB Napoleon Harris had another big day for Northwestern. In addition to having 10 tackles, he also intercepted a pass for the second straight game (returning it 25 yards) and had a pass breakup.
* Unofficially, SS Rashidi Wheeler and LB Billy Silva had 14 tackles apiece.
* The 41 points allowed by NU was the most allowed since 1998 (56-21 loss to Purdue on November 7).
HEAD COACH RANDY WALKER
Randy Walker took over the reins of the Northwestern football program on January 20, 1999, and with Thursday night's win has guided the Wildcats to a 5-9 record during his tenure. Overall, he stands 64-44-5 in his 11th year as a head coach. Walker came to Evanston with an impressive coaching resume already intact. The 46-year-old Walker, who had coached Miami (Ohio) University for nine seasons, departed Oxford as the winningest head coach in school history. His mark at Miami of 59-35-5 (.621) is even more impressive when you consider the coaching greats which Miami had produced: Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler...and the list goes on. Walker graduated from Miami in 1976 with a B.A. in social studies education and earned a master's degree in educational administration from his alma mater in 1981. He starred for MU as a fullback, leading them to three-straight Tangerine Bowl victories. Upon graduation, Walker was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, but returned to Miami to help as a graduate assistant and the next year became a full-time assistant in charge of running backs under Dick Crum. When Coach Crum departed for North Carolina, Walker joined him and spent the next 10 seasons as a Tar Heel. He coached various positions, ending up as the offensive coordinator. From there, he spent two seasons as Northwestern's running backs coach (1988-89) and, in 1990, took over as the head coach at Miami.
TOUGH SCHEDULE AGAIN IN 2000
Northwestern has officially reached the teeth of its schedule -- Wisconsin will mark the second of three straight games against teams ranked in the Associated Press poll. In fact, in its eight remaining games this year, the Wildcats will face five teams that are ranked by the AP this week. Seven of those eight teams had winning records in 1999, and six of them played in postseason bowl games. Only South Carolina (9) and Notre Dame (8) faced more bowl-bound teams than Northwestern (7) in 1999. Sports Illustrated ranked Northwestern's 2000 schedule the seventh toughest in the nation in the preseason.
ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
Five Wildcat players were accorded All-Big Ten honors in 1999, four of whom return for 2000. Defensive end Dwayne Missouri was second-team selection by both the coaches and media. Running back Damien Anderson and linebacker Kevin Bentley both earned second-team accolades from the media and honorable mention status from the league's coaches. Cornerback Harold Blackmon was a consensus honorable mention pick. The only departure is Jay Tant, who was named honorable mention tight end by both groups.
A SORT OF HOMECOMING
Today's game marks a return to the home state for three Wildcats -- freshman defensive end Ray Bogenrief (Cedarburg), freshman wide receiver John Celentani (Wauwatosa) and freshman quarterback Tony Stauss (Racine).
Austin King, who started nine contests in 1999 as a true freshman, snagged second-team All-American honors by Football News. He will anchor a seasoned offensive line this season.
Did you know that of the 44 players on Northwestern's two deep in 1999, an amazing 35 return in 2000?
AND THE FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT
The 2000 edition of Northwestern football figures to remain largely intact when the 2001 season rolls around. Only nine players (5 defense, 3 offense, 1 special teams) on the current roster of 87 are slated to depart Evanston at the end of the season. They are: Harold Blackmon (CB), Javiar Collins (DL), Conrad Emmerich (DL), Jack Harnedy (OL), Teddy Johnson (WR), Tim Long (PK), Dwayne Missouri (DL), Rashad Morton (FS) and Derrick Thompson (WR).
COULDN'T CATCH A BREAK
Injuries plagued the Wildcat wide receivers, tight ends and fullbacks the entire 1999 season. The corps became so depleted that many times a walk-on or third or fourth string player lined up for NU. At wide receiver, Sam Simmons (fractured clavicle) and Jon Schweighardt (fractured elbow) were both lost for the season in the Iowa game. Teddy Johnson, who had a stress fracture in his shin and missed the first two games, played with a viral infection in the Wisconsin game and saw action in only two quarters, then suffered a concussion in the second quarter at Michigan and subsequently missed the Michigan State game. Rob Johnson fractured his left wrist in the Minnesota contest and missed the next four games. Derrick Thompson fractured his rib in the Minnesota contest, but continued to play the remainder of the season. At tight end, John Cerasani played with a chronic ankle sprain for six weeks, Corbett Elsen had a nerve root irritation and missed four games, and Jay Tant played with a hamstring strain all season and suffered a concussion versus Indiana. At fullback, Ian Miller suffered a concussion in the TCU game and missed the next three games. At Michigan, Miller again suffered a concussion and missed the remainder of the season.
D.A. IS ON THE CASE
Damien Anderson is off to another good start this year, with 365 yards in three games (121.7 ypg). Last year, he became the fourth Wildcat running back in the last five years to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season (Darnell Autry did it in 1995 and 1996, while Adrian Autry broke the barrier in 1997). With 1,128 yards -- the fifth-best total in school history -- Anderson became the seventh Wildcat ever to accomplish the feat.
Anderson ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 25th in the country with a 102.5 yards per game average in 1999. In addition, he finished fifth in the conference and 44th nationally in all-purpose yards at 119.3 per game. The media tabbed Anderson second-team All-Big Ten, while the coaches chose him as an honorable mention running back.
Against Duke, Anderson had the seventh 100-yard game of his career with a career-high 187. He also ran for 88 yards against Northern Illinois despite sitting out the second half, and 90 yards against a TCU defense that had allowed 150 yards combined in its previous six games.
A junior eligible, Anderson's career rushing mark of 2,030 yards already ranks him fourth on NU's all-time list. He needs 435 yards to reach third place.
1. Darnell Autry, 1994-96 3,793 yards
2. Bob Christian, 1988-90 2,643
3. Greg Boykin, 1972-76 2,465
4. Damien Anderson, 1998-pres. 2,030
Northwestern believes that its linebacker corps is among the best in the Big Ten, and their performances through three games have done nothing to dissuade the argument. Last weekend, Napoleon Harris had his second interception in as many games, and the trio combined for 35 tackles (Billy Silva 7-7-14, Harris 8-3-11, Kevin Bentley 7-3-10). In the season opener against Northern Illinois, they all figured in a fumble recovery (Silva made the hit to force the fumble deep in NU territory, Harris batted the ball away from NIU players, and Bentley recovered it), and Silva added an interception. Currently, they rank 1-2-3 on the team in tackles (Harris 18-12-30, Silva 16-14-30, Bentley 17-9-26).
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
One of last year's major injuries was Sam Simmons, but the junior has bounced back in a big way in 2000. He kicked off the campaign by being named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 4 after totalling 211 all-purpose yards against Northern Illinois (one reception for 40 yards, four punt returns for 102 yards, and three kickoff returns for 69 yards). Against Duke, he tied for the team lead with four catches for 62 yards -- including a 26-yard TD -- and totaled 65 yards on five returns (4 punt, 1 kickoff). Last weekend at TCU, he had three catches for 23 yards and four kickoff returns (78 yards).
THE SHOW-ME DEFENSIVE END
Defensive end Dwayne Missouri has three tackles-for-loss this season, giving him 32 for his career and putting him fifth on Northwestern's all-time list in that category. Last year, Missouri had 20 TFLs, the second-best mark in school history. If he duplicates that total in 2000, he will finish second on NU's all-time TFL chart behind Casey Dailey, who racked up 53 from 1994-97.
ALL-TIME TFL LEADERS
1. Casey Dailey, 1994-97 53 (28/1st)
2. Matt Rice, 1993-96 42 (12/3rd)
3. Keith Cruise, 1981-84 37 (N/A)
4. Steve Shine, 1990-93 34 (21/2nd)
5. Dwayne Missouri, 1997-pres. 32 (9/6th)
BENTLEY DRIVES THE D
Unofficially, Kevin Bentley ranked fifth in tackles in Division I-A in 1999. His 148 stops were behind Keith Adams of Clemson (176), Jeff Ulbrich of Hawaii (169), Brian Urlacher of New Mexico (154) and Donald McCall of E. Michigan (154).
Bentley's tackle total in 1999 led the Big Ten, as did his per-game average (13.5). For his efforts, the media voted him to the All-Big Ten second team, while the coaches gave him honorable mention status.
Making tackles was not all that Bentley did. He intercepted a Drew Brees pass for a 40-yard touchdown, collected another INT versus Iowa (which eventually led to a TD) and forced a fumble from Ron Dayne which led to a field goal. Bentley had three PBUs, two sacks for 20 yards, 10 TFLs and two fumble recoveries. His best game of the season came against Indiana when he registered a career-high 25 stops, 21 of which were solo efforts.
HARRIS & MORTON GO OVER 100
Linebacker Napoleon Harris and free safety Rashad Morton also went over the century mark in tackles last season. "Napo" tallied 110 total tackles, which was sixth in the Big Ten, and finished third in the conference in tackles per game (11.0). Morton, meanwhile, registered 103 tackles which tied him for eighth in place in the conference standings.
BREAKING UP ISN'T HARD TO DO...
Northwestern has 15 pass breakups through three games in 2000. Last year, Northwestern shattered the team record for pass breakups in a season with 60. That was 16 more than the old record of 44, which was set in 1996.
AND BLACKMON KNOWS BETTER THAN ANYBODY
After assaulting the pass breakup portion of the Northwestern record book in 1999, senior Harold Blackmon has picked up where he left off. He has four PBUs in 2000, giving him 30 for his career which is already the school's all-time record. Last year, Blackmon had 17 PBUs, breaking the single-season record of 13 set by Rodney Ray in 1994. Blackmon, who also has three interceptions already in 2000 to give him eight in his career, earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades from the media and coaches last year.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Northwestern was one of 27 schools to receive honorable mention status from the American Football Coaches Association for having a graduation rate of 70 percent or better. The Wildcats' graduation rate was 91 percent for its 1994-95 freshman class. Syracuse University won the Academic Achievement Award with a graduation rate of 100 percent. Northwestern won the prestigious award in 1998 with a 100 percent graduating percentage.
Northwestern has 23 players on its 2000 roster from the Chicagoland area. They are: Dan Pohlman (Barrington), Harold Blackmon, Jack Harnedy, J.J. Standring (Chicago), Tom Fluegge (Crystal Lake), Doug Szymul (Des Plaines), Napoleon Harris (Dixmoor), Teddy Johnson (Elgin), Derrick Thompson (Harvey), Bob Barz (Lisle), Pete Konopka (Marengo), Don Baskin, Brian Dugal, Ben Kennedy (Naperville), Zak Kustok, Jeff Roehl (Orland Park), Steve Natali (Park Ridge), Torri Stuckey (Robbins), Pat Durr, Gabe Nyenhuis (St. Charles), Brian Huffman (Schaumburg), Matt Ulrich (Streamwood) and Jon Schweighardt (Wheaton).
BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPIONS IN THE 1990s
Northwestern was one of only three schools to win back-to-back Big Ten Championships in the 1990s. Michigan and Wisconsin were the other member institutions to do so. In addition, Northwestern, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin were the only teams to win Big Ten championships outright and only NU, Michigan and Penn State earned rings with perfect 8-0 slates.
Northwestern plays at No. 23 Michigan State next Saturday, Sept. 30, in East Lansing. Kickoff for that game is set for 11 a.m. Central and the game will be broadcast by ESPN Plus. This will be the third of three straight road games against ranked teams for the Wildcats.