The Northwestern Wildcats were forced to use a silent count at home in their game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. Although fan support has been improving during coach Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure, Northwestern has always taken heavy criticism for its crowds. The Wildcats don’t have the best track record for attendance and are no strangers to playing in front of some empty seats.
On Saturday things appeared to hit a new low. There were so many Nebraska fans in the building that on the Wildcats final drive they were forced to switch to a silent count because their lineman were having trouble hearing the calls. Northwestern’s Kain Colter said it was something the team didn’t expect and they hadn’t prepared for it all week.
The Wildcats led by 12 midway through the fourth quarter, but much like their game against the Penn State Nittany Lions, they could not hold on. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez marched the Cornhuskers down the field for two scoring drives to take a 29-28 lead. Northwestern had the ball moving on a game winning drive, but ultimately stalled on Nebraska’s 36 yard line. Kicker Jeff Budzien’s 53 yard field goal attempt had the distance, but drifted wide right.
After starting the season 5-0, Northwestern has now dropped two-of-three to fall to 6-2, and just 2-2 in the Big 10. With only four games left and all of them crucial conference showdowns, the Wildcats may need to win out if they hope to have a shot at a Big 10 title.
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