2011 Northwestern Wildcats Football
Northwestern Wildcats @ Indiana Hoosiers Football Preview
The good news about this week’s Big Ten game in Bloomington, Indiana, is that it will enable a team to claim its first Big Ten win of the 2011 college football season. The bad news about this game? It will enable a team to claim its first Big Ten win of the 2011 college football season. When October 29 comes across the calendar and the conference win total stands at zero, it’s painfully clear that each off the participating teams are suffering through a very difficult autumnal journey.
The Northwestern Wildcats, at 2-5, will try to keep their fading bowl hopes alive when they visit the 1-7 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday. An air of desperation will define each of these sides as they try to break persistent patterns of losing. In 2007, Indiana made a bowl game, proving that it could be better than its normal reputation as a lower-tier Big Ten program. Over the past half-decade, Northwestern has been a bowl team, rising above decades of mediocrity. Now, however, these two programs have fallen back into a familiar ditch, creating an uneasy atmosphere as they clash on the final weekend of October. The loser of this game will enter November with absolutely nothing of value to cling to. Such a reality makes this game a grim battle for a small bread crumb of respect, and little else.
Northwestern has lost five in a row after a 34-24 loss to Penn State last Saturday night in Evanston, Illinois. Indiana will have a chance to beat an FBS team for the first time this season. The Hoosiers’ only win was against FCS South Carolina State.
Last week, the Hoosiers lost 45-24 at Iowa. After tying the game 14-14 in the second quarter behind freshman quarterback Tre Roberson, Indiana struggled on defense and couldn’t stay in the game, allowing three unanswered touchdowns to fall behind 35-14 at the half. Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt caught three touchdown passes and piled up a career-high 184 yards receiving.
Roberson, the first true freshman ever to start at quarterback for Indiana, completed 16 of 24 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 84 yards. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Indiana’s defense allowed 456 yards to the Hawkeyes.
Northwestern’s loss last week followed a familiar pattern. The Wildcats competed early, and collapsed in the second half. After trailing 27-24 at halftime, Northwestern did not score again. The Wildcats mustered just 125 yards of total offense in the second half.
NU quarterback Dan Persa is still slowed by injuries. Not only is he still recovering from the Achilles tendon injury suffered last season, but he injured a toe on his healthy foot last week and is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game, although he says he will play. If Persa is unavailable, Kain Colter will start for the Wildcats. Last week, Colter caught a touchdown pass from Persa, and ran for another score.
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