Wildcats get scare but beat Maine 35-21
Going into Saturday’s game, the 18th ranked Northwestern Wildcats were the heavy favorites against Maine out of the FCS. Ranked 25th in the FCS poll, the Black Bears surprised the Wildcats and hung around with the 18th ranked team in the nation.
The Wildcats started fast with an opening drive touchdown. After stopping Maine on their opening drive, the Wildcats went 76 in 9 plays in 3:02, capped off by a 27 yard touchdown pass from Kain Colter to Tony Jones. That would be the Wildcats’ only offensive touchdown of the first three quarters.
The Black Bears responded to the Wildcats’ touchdown with their own long drive. Maine fifth year senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski went 5 for 7 on the drive, and the Black Bears drove the ball 49 yards before being stopped by the Wildcats. The drive concluded with a Sean Decloux 32 yard field goal attempt blocked by the Wildcats.
After three consecutive drives that ended in punts, Maine again put together another impressive drive. The Black Bears converted on multiple 3rd and long plays, and eventually drove the ball down to the Northwestern 21 yard line. Similar to Maine’s last long drive, this drive ended in a 38 yard field goal attempt miss by Decloux.
With each offense sputtering throughout the rest of the second quarter, the Wildcats turned to their defense for a big play. Four plays Colter threw an interception, Wildcats’ linebacker Damien Proby responded with an interception returned for a touchdown. This put the Wildcats up 14-0 at halftime.
After a second half opening drive 47 yard field goal miss from fifth year senior Jeff Budzien, the Wildcats defense came up with another huge play. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry returned an interception for the Wildcats’ second defensive touchdown of the afternoon. This put the Wildcats into a comfortable 21-0 lead.
Later in the third quarter, Maine went on a long drive and broke through with an 11 yard touchdown pass from Wasilewski to fifth year senior tight end Justin Perillo. The touchdown did not come without a great cost for the Black Bears. Wasilewski appeared to injure his shoulder after a 15 yard rush. He was hit high and a penalty was call on Northwestern sophomore cornerback Traveon Henry. Though it was an unnecessary roughness penalty, targeting was not called, so Henry was not ejected.
The Wildcats would take control in the 4th quarter with two touchdowns. Kain Colter had his first rushing touchdown of the game and fifth year senior running back Mike Trumpy also had his second rushing touchdown of the season.
The Wildcats now head into their bye week 4-0 after the 35-21 victory Saturday. Their next game will be on Saturday October 5th against the third ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, at Ryan Field. The game will be the Wildcats’ 2013 Big Ten opener. Maine plays at Richmond next week.