After facing a tough test on the west coast last week against the California Golden Bears winning 44-30, 19th ranked Northwestern comes home and faces the Syracuse Orange at Ryan Field Saturday night.
This is the first season for Syracuse in the ACC, as well as the first season under coach Scott Shafer after Doug Marrone went to coach the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The Orange lost their first game to Penn State 23-17.
Pat Fitzgerald is looking to improve on his 24-5 non-confrence regular season record as Northwestern head coach. Northwestern’s offense managed to accumulate 508 yards without star QB Kain Colter for a majority of the game due to a concussion. Colter expects to play Saturday night.
Receivers Dan Vitale, Christian Jones, and Tony Jones each had five catches in the game against Cal. Having the quarterback continue to distribute the ball to all targets, whether the quarterback is Colter or Trevor Siemian is important for the Wildcats to have continued success in moving the football.
The running game was solid for Northwestern as well with Treyvon Green gaining 129 yards on 16 carries and scoring two touchdowns. That type of balance was successful for Northwestern last week, and hopefully the Wildcats maintain a semblance of balance in their offense, and that players continue to answer the bell all season long.
The pass rush was solid for Northwestern as they racked up 4 sacks of Jared Goff. The run defense was stout in allowing only 93 yards. However, the defense did allow 548 total offensive yards to California. The time of possession was about 31 minutes to 29 minutes in favor of Cal.
The Wildcats will try take an early lead on the Orange and hopefully are able to use their ground game effectively so that the defense isn’t forced to go back out on the field and be relied upon for stops.
Northwestern announced on their website that Saturday night will be Blackhawks night at Ryan Field. The Chicago Blackhawks’ anthem singer Jim Cornielson will be there, along with players, and other members of the organization.
Hopefully fans can enjoy not only a Stanley Cup organization in the building Saturday, but also enjoy a FCS AP Top 25 team at Ryan Field Saturday. This year can be a very special year for the Northwestern program, and its important for the Wildcats to stay on schedule and win every game if they want a chance at the Rose Bowl or another BCS bowl in January.