Friday, September 24, 2010

The Ol' West: Why Wildcats Defeat the Chippewas

First gameday optimism post! I'm excited to try this out. Unfortunately, I will not be in attendance at Ryan Field tomorrow, but thanks to the lovely timing of Illinois having a "bye" week, I get to watch the game from the confines of my living room located in Champaign. Funny, no one's tried to heckle me on the days that I walk Illinois's campus with a purple shirt on...

This week's opponents victims are the Central Michigan Chippewas. Normally perennial favorites in the Mid-American Conference race, they've already sustained a close loss on the road to Temple. Of course, they also replaced record-setting QB Dan LeFevour and three-year coach Butch Jones. That said, I wish Butch had taken his winning ways with him to Cincinnati, because he sure doesn't have them right now.

More about Northwestern's imminent domination after the break:

Like I mentioned before, the Chippewas are normally near the top of the Mid-American conference. They won the conference title and finished the season at 12-2, including a win against Troy in the GMAC Bowl. But this isn't last year's Chippewas. And we aren't last year's Wildcats. So, why do we win this one?

1. We're playing in Ryan Field.
Central Michigan has also played in two road games this year, the first being their overtime loss to Temple. The second came in the following week when they ran over some hapless team named Eastern Michigan, who likes to spend its time on ESPN's Bottom 10, so that doesn't count. We're expecting a larger-than-usual crowd in Ryan Field for this nonconference matchup, so the feel of the game should be more disruptive for the CMU offense.

2. CMU's running game is overrated.
After three games, the Chippewas are averaging 160 yards a game, led mostly by RB Paris Cotton, who has 343 yards on the season. Unfortunately for Cotton, 209 of those yards came against the aforementioned Eastern Michigan team, one notorious for bad rushing defense. Against Temple, Cotton only managed 40 yards while the team did its best NU impersonation, gaining a measly 43 yards on the ground in that game. Even if we don't storm to a quick big lead, Central Michigan will find itself trying to beat us with the pass, which leads to...

3. Quentin Davie has magnets for hands,
and the ball is magnetized. Either that or he has telekinesis. Davie has three interceptions in the past two contests, yet two of those picks were balls thrown directly at him. Usually you make the defense work a little bit, so Davie's two easy interceptions just seem all too easy, if you ask me. I'll be sorely disappointed if Davie doesn't manage another pick tomorrow.

4. This is the last nonconference game of the season.
Coach Fitz hasn't been looking past this team since the schedule was finalized. The players have been getting progressively more fired-up as the season has progressed, and there's no way the 'Cats don't come out swinging, here. Not with a perfect nonconference season on the line. Not with a chance to win against their toughest opponent to date. Not. Gonna. Happen.

I think the 'Cats come out swinging, lay back a bit in the 3rd quarter, and then win this one going away. Cheers!

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