Nov. 7, 2011
NU FB Game Notes vs. Rice
Rice (3-6) at Northwestern (4-5)
11 a.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011
Ryan Field (47,130) Evanston, Ill.
Television: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN (720 AM), WNUR (89.3 FM), Sirius (Channel 135), XM (Channel 194)
Internet: WGNradio.com, WNUR.org
In-game Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Coming off a 28-25 upset of ninth-ranked Nebraska, Northwestern returns to the comforts of Ryan Field for the final three games of the regular season beginning with a nonconference tilt against Rice at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The month of November has been kind to Northwestern in recent seasons, with the Wildcats posting an 8-4 mark in the final month of the regular season since the start of 2008. That includes a 5-2 record on the road in November.
NU's road victories at Indiana and Nebraska the last two weeks mark the first time since 2009 the 'Cats have won consecutive Big Ten road contests. NU finished 2011 with a 3-3 road mark, the fourth straight year with a .500 record or better in true road games. The 'Cats are 14-8 in enemy territory since the beginning of 2008, tied for the seventh-most road wins in FBS over that span.
With the victory at Nebraska, head coach Pat Fitzgerald gained sole possession of second place on NU's all-time coaching wins list. Fitzgerald stands at 38 wins, one more than Randy Walker (1999-2005) and 11 behind Lynn Waldorf's (1935-46) school-record of 49.
Northwestern's quarterback platoon of Dan Persa and Kain Colter, which began Persa's return in NU's Big Ten opener at Illinois, has been one of the league's most effective in 2011. In conference-only statistics, the Wildcats lead the Big Ten in passing yards per game with 284.2, more than 50 yards per contest better than second-place Wisconsin. NU also ranks second in Big Ten play in total offense per game (458.7) and second in passing efficiency (162.8).
Against Big Ten opponents, Kain Colter is averaging a combined 136.7 yards per game in rushing, passing and receiving yardage and has accounted for nine touchdowns (four rushing, four passing and one receiving).
Against Nebraska's vaunted rushing attack, NU limited the Huskers to 122 ground yards, nearly 130 below their season average, while RB Rex Burkhead was kept to a season-low 69 yards on 22 carries (3.1 ypr). The Wildcats also forced a Burkhead fumble, breaking his streak of 184 touches without a fumble dating to last season's Holiday Bowl.
A Win Over Rice Would ...
Make NU's current senior class the winningest five-year class in Northwestern school history (currently at 34 victories, tied with the 2009 and 2010 seniors).
Improve Pat Fitzgerald's career record in the month of November to 12-7.
Be Northwestern's third consecutive win in the all-time series with Rice.
Leave NU one victory shy of becoming bowl-eligible for a school-record fifth straight year.
Ticket Information/Next Game
This Saturday's game vs. Rice begins a string of three consecutive home games to wrap up the 2011 regular season. Following Saturday's game, the Wildcats will conclude the Big Ten season with Minnesota (11 a.m., Nov. 19) and Michigan State (time TBA, Nov. 26). Call 1-888-GO-PURPLE to speak to a ticket sales representative.
Minnesota Kickoff Time Announced
Northwestern and Minnesota will kick off at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 19, with the Big Ten Network televising the Wildcats' next-to-last regular season game. WGN 720 AM will have the radio broadcast.
(For complete game notes, download the PDF linked at the top of the page.)
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