Northwestern Football “Two Game Season” Ends Quite Terribly

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Back in the summer, expectations for Northwestern football this season was essentially mixed. The more pessimistic pundits saw them as a middle of the pack B1G west division side in the mix for a minor bowl. The more optimistic prognosticators believed that the Wildcats could finish second in the division, and pose the biggest threat to Wisconsin returning to the B1G title game once again.

While there was debate about how NU would be this fall, we did see agreement across the board on this point- we would find out exactly what Northwestern football is and what it is not during the first two games of B1G season. We all knew this much to be true. 

Now that those two games, by far the schedule’s toughest on paper, are over the jury has finished deliberating. The verdict is awful as the past two results have been devastatingly disappointing.

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Wisconsin and Penn State are the only two teams on the Northwestern football schedule this season who have legitimate conference title and college football playoff bonafides, and both beat NU solidly. 

To the credit of Northwestern football, they did hang with the Badgers for three quarters, but in the end, Wisconsin won pretty easily. That was of course the much better of the two showings, as today the Wildcats got thoroughly housed by #4 Penn State.

NU’s defense actually gave a noble effort, completely bottling up Heisman Trophy front-runner Saquon Barkley for close to three quarters, but it all went for nought because offensively NU put on an extremely boring display of ineptitude and incompetence.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson consistently shows up in the first round of NFL mock drafts everywhere on the world wide web, but it’s hard to argue against the idea that he’s truly regressing right now.

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That’s a bummer because scouts from seven different NFL teams were at Ryan Field today, and they saw Thorson finish just 19-36 passing for 142 yards, no TDs and two picks; for a putrid 3.9 yards per pass attempt. There are some Northwestern football fans who have kept the pitchforks for Mick McCall out consistently since 2013. There are others who put those pitchforks temporarily in storage when the offense became explosive in the back half of last season.

It’s safe to say that after today’s showing, this crowd will be as loud, if not louder, than ever before. They will no doubt point to the fact that the Cats haven’t finished in the top 80 in scoring offense since 2012.

At 2-3, and 0-2 in the league they will have to play a whole lot better in the final seven games than they did in the first five. They have plenty of winnable games left, but it might be a struggle to get to six wins.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

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