The Northwestern Wildcats have been a very prolific offensive team over the past few years but it would be Defense that helped the Wildcats defeat the University of California Golden Bears on Saturday. The Wildcats had the ball bounce their way on pivotal plays and big players came up big for in the season opening victory.
Key contributors for the Wildcats included running back Treyvon Green. Green’s consistent running was vital in his increased role due to the injury of Venric Mark. Green rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Green’s contribution helped to alleviate the pressure put on quarterback Trevor Siemian. Siemian saw an increased role as he was asked to step in after starting quarterback Kain Colter suffered a game-ending concussion on his team’s second snap from scrimmage. Both Siemian and Green showed the depth that the Wildcats have at key skill positions this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Wildcat linebacker Collin Ellis was by far the star of the game. The young man contributed two key interceptions for Northwestern and returned both of them for touchdowns. He took the first interception 57 yards for a touchdown and on the second, he carried the ball 40 more yards for another seven points.
The Wildcats have to be very pleased with their performance. They came together after injuries on the road and walked away with a win over a very capable and hungry opponent. This is exactly the type of building block a coach likes to see early in the season. There are areas to improve upon but the team overcame shortcomings and came up big when they were back,ed into a corner. The Wildcats may see a rise in their No. 22 national ranking as a result of their effort on Saturday. Next week Northwestern will be able to gauge their progress against a Syracuse team that had a disappointing loss to another Big 10 team Penn State.