Observations on the win over
1-Wow! What a great second half!
4 drives for 4 red zones for 4 TDs, and a Breaston punt return
for a 5th TD. Northwestern did manage a big play by Herron for
a 68 yard TD, and one red zone for a TD; however, we had 4 red
zones for 28 points compared to their 4 red zones for 13 points.
Our offense woke up, and took it to them. Our defense still played
sluggish, but did enough to contribute to the win.
2-Henne was 19 of 26 for 187 yards
and 2 TDs. He led us to 24 first downs and 6 of 12 in 3rd and
4th down conversions for 421 yards in total offense. Hart finished
with 151 net yards in 23 carries, and 3 TDs plus a 20 yards screen
pass reception. Braylon Edwards had 7 catches, but he was covered
well by Wildcat senior Marvin Ward so he only had 54 yards.
3-Our defense has been led by Leon
Hall and Ernest Shazor with 7 tackles each. Joey Sarantos added
6 tackles, and Lamarr Woodley had 5 tackles including a sack,
a forced fumble and a pass knockdown. Northwestern attacked our
right side as did MSU, and was very successful. Basanez was 23
of 43 for 216 yards, and Herron ran for 156 yards on 23 carries
and grabbed 4 passes for 36 additional yards. The Cats had 21
first downs and were 8 of 19 in 3rd and 4th down conversions to
help them gain 405 yards in total offense.
4-McGarigle led their defense with
14 tackles. They had 4 sacks, and allowed no big plays other than
Hart's 34 yard romp and Breaston's 68 yard punt return. Turnovers
were not a factor in this game.
5-Special teams advantage went to
the Wolverines with the TD punt return and the important blocked
field goal. We were forced into 4 first half punts, but none in
the second half. The Cats punted 5 times, and one resulted in
the Breaston TD.
6-The game in Columbus next week
will not only give us the opportunity to share the Big Ten title
or win it outright if Iowa is able to upset Wisconsin at home,
but also catapult us into a BCS bowl game in either the Rose or
Fiesta Bowls against top BCS achiever: California, Utah or Big
East Champ, Boston College or perhaps even ACC champ, Virginia,
Virginia Tech or Miami-FL. Otherwise, it looks like the Capital
One Bowl against a worthy SEC opponent like Tennessee, Georgia
We are really going to have to work
on closing that gap our opponents are exploiting on our right
side (weak or wide side) with our over-aggressiveness resulting
in cutbacks for big plays. Also, the Buckeyes will be taking away
our big plays to Edwards like Northwestern and Purdue did, forcing
our running game and Henne to beat them. A.J. Hawk will be daring
Dudley to block him away from Hart. It should be an interesting,
low-scoring nail-biter with Rivas and/or Nugent deciding it. The
Buckeyes have really improved, and their special teams are always
dangerous with Ginn back there on punt and kickoff returns.
In our favor, the Buckeyes have
the worst 3rd down conversion rate and fewest first downs in the
Big Ten; however, they always seem to be capable of a big play
with players like Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn plus our defense
has been susceptible to the big play all year. Our defense hasn't
played their best game yet; hopefully it will be next Saturday
It was great to see Breaston almost
back to full speed; he really make a difference on offense and
special teams when he is healthy. He does still have his bad hand
wrapped though. Joey Sarantos got his first start at Mike-Inside
Linebacker in place of Scott McClintock who missed the game with
the flu. Jamar Adams got a lot of playing time today at safety
after Mundy went out. Jeremy Van Alstyne started over Larry Harrison
at defensive end (tackle) as Massey moved from the strong side
to the wide side.
Observations on the first half
with the Wildcats, 7-6!
1-Northwestern has definitely outplayed
us! They have created 3 red zones, all by their offense, but only
cashed in 6 points with one blocked field goal by Massey. Our
offense (and defense) created zero red zones, but we got a 34
yard run by Hart for a TD so we lead at half. Like Bo said on
the Big Ten ticket, he expected us to come out flat after the
bye week, and we did.
2-Henne is 10 of 16 for 81 yards,
8 first downs, 2 of 6 in 3rd down conversions, and 3 sacks. Hart
has 54 yards on 7 carries for a TD, but we have only 45 net yards
in rushing offense due to the sacks. Braylon Edwards has 4 catches,
but he's been covered well by Wildcat senior Ward so he only has
3-Our defense has been led by Joey
Sarantos with 5 tackles. Northwestern is attacking our right side
as did MSU, and is very successful. Basanez is 12 of 22 for 116
yards, and Herron has run for 73 yards on 15 carries. The Cats
have 10 first downs and are 3 of 9 in 3rd down conversions to
help them maintain a 1:30 time of possession advantage. The Wildcats
have a net rushing advantage of 80 to 45 since they've experienced
no sacks. The Cats have a 196 to 112 yards of total offense advantage.
4-It looks to be a close game, and
turnovers could be the difference. Neither team has turned the
ball over yet. McGarigle leads their defense with 7 tackles. Special
teams shows no advantage other than the Massey block as we've
been forced into 4 punts, and they've punted 3 times.