Northwestern Quietly Blows Out Indiana State on 9/11

It certainly wasn’t exciting by any means, but winning comfortably, in any way shape or form, is exactly what you wanted to do today if you’re the Northwestern Wildcats.

They did just that, cruising past FCS foe Indiana State 24-6, with only a late, garbage time touchdown from the Sycamores preventing a Wildcats shutout. Coming off a decisive defeat at the hands of Michigan State in week one, NU needed a comfortable win like this. However, you can’t really call it a dominant performance.

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Northwestern Wildcats vs Indiana St. Sycamores Game Preview, Prediction

It’s quite possible that Northwestern football is just keeping up its semi-annual tradition of starting very slowly. The list of September games NU never had any business losing, during the 2000s and 2010s seems to get a bit longer by the year, but you know that they always course correct, and the story ends well.

The 2016 team started 1-3, including a very unsightly loss to lowly Illinois State, but ended up making and winning a bowl game. In 2018, the first Big Ten West division title season, they went winless in preconference, including an inexplicable and inexcusable defeat at the hands of Akron.

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Northwestern Has No Answer for Stud MSU RB Kenneth Walker III

Northwestern All-American Safety Brandon Joseph said at the Monday Zoom media availability that his team was going to have to be ready to stop “number 9, the Wake Forest transfer” when they welcome in Michigan State on Friday night.

It’s a vast understatement to say that things didn’t go according to plan for the Wildcats tonight as Walker ran wild and the Spartans romped 38-21. Although there were some bright spots for the host Cats, overall it was pretty ugly as Sparty jumped on them early, and then cruised to a comfortable victory.

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Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats Game Preview

The Northwestern Wildcats host the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night in the season opener for both teams. It’s also the latest installment in a series that’s spawned numerous wild and wacky games, as well as a few milestones and records.

The 2017 meeting took three overtimes to decide, as NU won at home 39-31. The Cats ruined State’s Homecoming in 2016, winning 54-40 in a game that broke numerous Spartan Stadium records, all of which were great for the visitors and bad for the hosts. In 2018, the Wildcats came to East Lansing as double digit underdogs and left as double digit victors.

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2021 Northwestern Season Preview and Big Ten Title Odds

The Northwestern Wildcats have won the Big Ten West division in two of the last three seasons (although it’s still a stretch to legitimately call 2020 a “season” for anybody, whether they were good, bad, or anything in between).

While Northwestern was, without question, built a program foundation that is as strong as its ever been. Still, the bookies are not bullish, not at all about their Big Ten title chances. If you’re looking for more information on betting sites, specifically the conference title odds, then you’ll see NU way on down the list.

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Northwestern Quietly Builds Strong QB Tradition, Aided by Transfers

clayton thorson

In recent years, it’s become (cue Jim Nantz voice) “a tradition unlike any other”- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald holding out on declaring his starting quarterback until the absolute final moment.

Don’t be surprised if we see the dreaded “OR” on the depth chart heading into the season opener, at home against Michigan State on Sept. 3. Sophomore and South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski should win the job eventually, over senior and Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson.

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NU All-American Brandon Joseph on the Art and Mindset of Playing DB

At Big Ten and Northwestern Media Days, I had a conversation with All-American safety Brandon Joseph about my all-time favorite passage from the old NFL Films’ prose, entitled the “Fringe of Battle.” John Facenda, who talks exactly like God himself must sound, says:

“To the players, reality is one-on-one, helmet-to-helmet move and counter move. Nowhere is this conflict more evident than at the fringe of battle where the receiver and cornerback match glare. One and one, speed and cunning decide the victor, and the battle where the loser bleeds alone on an open field.”
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Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald Takes Question from 11-Year-Old at B1G Media Day

Perhaps the overall highlight of this year’s edition of Big Ten Media Days was were the children reporters who got in on the act. Working with Junior Journalist, Ethan Kihiu was one of the kids who is getting a really fast start on his potential future career.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald left his podium in order to hear Kihiu properly, and answer his question. Watch the video below of the tweet and reigning Big Ten West champion coach interacting:

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Northwestern A.D. Derrick Gragg on Tulsa Legacy Game Origin, Meaning

Today saw Dr. Derrick Gragg formally unveiled as the 23rd Athletic Director at Northwestern University, succeeding the ultra short tenure of the scandal-plagued Mike Poliskey. But in the greater sense Gragg is following in the foot steps of Dr. Jim Philipps, who is now ACC Commissioner.

Gragg is a lot like Phillips in that he’s an innovator, bringing big and important events to life. One such example is the Tulsa Legacy Game, started with the intention of bringing greater awareness to the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921.

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New Northwestern A.D. Derrick Gragg Helped Create Tulsa Legacy Game

Northwestern announced their new Athletic Director yesterday, Dr. Derrick Gragg, the NCAA’s senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement. The former Eastern Michigan and Tulsa AD assumes his new position on July 1.

Gragg has a long list of achievements, and his hire is very timely for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps of particular relevance and poignance is the fact that he helped conceptualize the Tulsa Legacy Game, designed to pay tribute to the survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, widely recognized as one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. The first Tulsa Legacy Game took place last year, and as May turned to June, the centennial of the Tulsa massacre was observed.

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Northwestern A.D. Hire Met with Strong Backlash, Planned Protests

When it comes to the Northwestern Athletic Director position, post Dr. Jim Phillips, indeed what a long, strange trip it’s been. After Philips left to become ACC Commissioner, the A.D. search received only a minimal amount of media coverage, and the school did a great job of keeping information from leaking out.

And despite the search dragging on for multiple months, NU decided to just go in house, and promote Mike Polisky, Northwestern’s deputy athletic director for external affairs since June 2010. Phillips, having been passed over for the Big Ten Commissioner job that he had strongly desired, took the ACC gig in December, and completed his term at NU in February.

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L.A. Chargers-Northwestern Connections Detailed by Pat Fitzgerald

On night one of the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern with the 13th pick. He now joins DE Joe Gaziano and RB Justin Jackson as former Wildcats who are now Chargers.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald knows Chargers GM Tom Tellesco and LAC head coach Brandon Staley well, and Cody Cejda, a former Northwestern director of football operations and strategy, left to serve in a special assistant to the head coach role in L.A. Analytics are part of the role that Cedja has with the organization.

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