Northwestern Football's Top 10 Plays of 2014

By brookshooley

Northwestern Football's Top 10 Plays of 2014

Northwestern wildcats Football
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats just missed out on a bowl berth, going 5-7 in 2014. To add insult to injury, they lost to in-state rival Illinois. Here are Northwestern’s top plays from last season.

10. Jimmy Hall's Interception vs. Purdue

Jimmy Hall northwestern wildcats
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

10. Jimmy Hall's Interception vs. Purdue

Jimmy Hall northwestern wildcats
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats were off to a poor start against the Boilermakers at home. Quarterback Trevor Siemian threw an interception on just the second play of the game. But on third and three, Northwestern linebacker Jimmy Hall intercepted Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby to take back possession. The Wildcats scored five plays later and eventually won 38-14.

9. Jayme Taylor's Touchdown Pass To Trevor Siemian vs. Cal

Trevor Siemian northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

9. Jayme Taylor's Touchdown Pass To Trevor Siemian vs. Cal

Trevor Siemian northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern dug themselves into a 24-point deficit on opening week when Cal came to town. But the Wildcats didn’t relent. Trailing 31-14 late in the third quarter, Siemian threw a flanker screen to wide receiver Jayme Taylor. Taylor then threw it back across the field to Siemian to danced his way into the end zone to bring Northwestern within ten. Cal went on to win 31-24.

8. Anthony Walker's Pick Six vs. Penn State

Anthony Walker northwestern wildcats
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

8. Anthony Walker's Pick Six vs. Penn State

Anthony Walker northwestern wildcats
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Against Penn State, Northwestern was clinging to a meager 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter in Happy Valley. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Wildcat linebacker Anthony Walker stepped in front of a Christian Hackenberg pass and took it 49 yards for six to make it a two possession game. Northwestern left Beaver Stadium with a 29-6 win.

7. Cameron Dickerson's Long Touchdown Reception vs. Cal

Cameron Dickerson northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

7. Cameron Dickerson's Long Touchdown Reception vs. Cal

Cameron Dickerson northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Cal buried Northwestern early. Trailing 17-0 midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats faced third and four from their own 46. Siemian threaded the needle between a Bermuda Triangle of Cal defenders to receiver Cameron Dickerson who raced 54 yards to put Northwestern on the scoreboard.

6. Nick VanHoose's Defensive Two-Point Conversion vs. Notre Dame

Nick VanHoose northwestern wildcats
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

6. Nick VanHoose's Defensive Two-Point Conversion vs. Notre Dame

Nick VanHoose northwestern wildcats
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern faced reeling Notre Dame on the road in mid-November. Tied at seven, Siemian hit receiver Tom Fuessel over the middle for a short gain. Fuessel couldn’t hang on to the ball and Notre Dame’s Austin Collinsworth returned the fumble for a touchdown. But Northwestern cornerback Nick VanHoose (No. 23) blocked the extra point attempt and returned it to the end zone for two points to narrow the lead to 13-9.

5. Solomon Vault's Long Kick Return Touchdown vs. Illinois

Solomon Vault northwestern wildcats
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

5. Solomon Vault's Long Kick Return Touchdown vs. Illinois

Solomon Vault northwestern wildcats
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois stormed to an early lead against the Wildcats in Evanston. Following a Taylor Zalewski field goal to put the Illini up 19-0, Northwestern’s Solomon Vault fielded the ensuing kickoff at his own 11-yard line. Eighty-nine yards later, Vault was in the end zone and Northwestern was finally on the scoreboard against its chief rival.

4. Justin Jackson's Long Touchdown Run vs. Purdue

Justin Jackson northwestern wildcats
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

4. Justin Jackson's Long Touchdown Run vs. Purdue

Justin Jackson northwestern wildcats
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats had the Purdue game well in hand in the fourth quarter. Leading 31-7, quarterback Zack Oliver handed the ball to freshman running back Justin Jackson who broke one tackle and was gone. It served as the exclamation point on an emphatic road win in West Lafayette.

3. Tony Jones' Long Punt Return Touchdown vs. Purdue

Tony Jones northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

3. Tony Jones' Long Punt Return Touchdown vs. Purdue

Tony Jones northwestern wildcats
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern took a two touchdown lead into the second quarter against Purdue. After the Boilermakers failed to move the ball effectively once again, they were forced to punt to Northwestern’s Tony Jones. Jones fielded the punt and outran everyone to the end zone to increase the lead to 21-0.

2. Godwin Igwebuike's Third Interception vs. Wisconsin

Godwin Igwebuike northwestern wildcats
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

2. Godwin Igwebuike's Third Interception vs. Wisconsin

Godwin Igwebuike copy
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats held a 20-7 led early in the fourth quarter in a slow-paced game with Wisconsin. The Badgers scored with a little over four minutes to play to slice the deficit to six points. Northwestern ran some time off the clock but was forced to punt to the Badgers with less than a minute to play. Wildcat safety Godwin Igwebuike squashed Wisconsin’s last gasp intercepting a Joel Stave pass to seal the game, his third of the day.

1. Jack Mitchell's Game-Winning Field Goal vs. Notre Dame

Jack Mitchell northwestern wildcats
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jack Mitchell's Game-Winning Field Goal vs. Notre Dame

Jack Mitchell northwestern wildcats
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Wildcat kicker Jack Mitchell forced overtime against Notre Dame with a 45-yard field goal to knot the score at 40. The Irish got the ball in overtime first, but kicker Kyle Brindza missed a 42-yard kick, giving Northwestern all the momentum. Three plays later, Mitchell nailed his fourth kick of the day -- a 41-yard field goal from the left hash to give the Wildcats a huge road win over the Irish.

Brooks Hooley is a Junior Big Ten Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brookshooley.

You May Also Like