Northwestern is Winning and Going Unnoticed

By Derek Helling
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten needed the 17th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats to take care of business in a home non-conference game against the Western Michigan Broncos last Saturday. If this upset had taken place, it would have made a bad day for the Big Ten sink to intolerable. Fortunately for Wildcat fans and the dignity of the conference, Northwestern was able to post a 38-17 victory.

The game wasn’t without blemish for the Wildcats, however. Two turnovers and giving up a few big plays allowed Western Michigan to make the game feel like more of a contest than it really was according to the score.

Despite running the ball 55 times, the time of possession was still quite even.  Northwestern’s defense did get a turnover when junior safety Ibraheim Campbell intercepted a Tyler Van Tubbergen pass. While the Northwestern defense was on the field almost half of the game, they did limit the Broncos to 345 yards of offense and 5-of-18 on third downs.

The star of the game offensively for Northwestern was junior running back Treyon Green. Green rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Senior quarterback Kain Colter added 106 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Colter also went 6-of-7 for 40 yards and a touchdown through the air.

The other half of Northwestern’s two-quarterback system, junior Trevor Siemian, went 9-of-14 for 99 yards and had one carry for three yards.

Although this team is ranked 17th in the nation, it is flying under the radar, even in Big Ten country. This is mostly due to the fact that it has taken care of business and won three games that it should have. It has another such game this Saturday at home against the University of Maine before the Wildcats open up conference play with no.4 Ohio State.

Another reason that Northwestern hasn’t garnered many headlines is because the stats don’t jump off the page. They rank 21st in FBS in points scored, 26th in rushing and 42nd in passing. Their scoring defense ranks 63rd in FBS.

A final reason that Northwestern isn’t being talked about is because people may be waiting for that game with Ohio State to pass judgment on this team. The fact that the stats haven’t been outstanding through these three games against lesser opponents may be causing people to hesitate on proclaiming this team one of the best in the nation.

Even if they aren’t being talked about, the Wildcats have put themselves in position to be one of the top teams in the Big Ten. If they can continue to get wins, it won’t matter how pretty it looked, Indianapolis, a Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl would be awaiting them.

Derek Helling is a Big 10 football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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