Post-Game Analysis: Vanderbilt
by Jonathan Hodges

Not many expected it, but the Northwestern Wildcats (2-0, 0-0) finally won a home night game under Coach Fitzgerald as they dispatched Vanderbilt (0-2) by a final score of 23-13 that featured one of the best defensive performances in recent NU history. The offense, meanwhile, took a while to get things going after a dismal first half, with Trevor Siemian once again coming in to spark the passing attack that was done no favors with some early drops from the vaunted WR corps. But the aforementioned defense put a lid on Vandy in the second half, allowing just one FG and grabbing what turned out to be the game-sealing turnover with under two minutes to play.

Players of the Game: Northwestern Defensive Line (18 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass break-up, 2 sacks, 2 QB hurries, and allowed just 3.0 yards/carry rushing) The DL had a huge turnaround from one week ago as they were able to stuff Vanderbilt's running backs all game and looked better as the game went along as they harassed Jordan Rodgers to the point of submission. We saw multiple guys step up, led by Tyler Scott, but also with Quentin Williams, Brian Arnfelt, and true freshman Dean Lowry getting in on the action.

Northwestern Honorable Mentions: RB/PR/KR Venric Mark (24 carries for 123 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception for 14 yards, 1 kickoff return for 21 yards), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (10 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 pass break-up, 1 sack), K Jeff Budzien (3-of-3 on FGs, 2-of-2 on XPs).

What to Work on: Offensive Consistency - NU had just 85 yards of offense in the first half and could put up just three points, and while they finally go the ball moving later in the game, they had to rely completely on the defense for essentially three quarters out of the game to stay in it. That usually won't cut it, and OC Mick McCall and Fitz will have to figure out how to best utilize Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian throughout the game. Also, the much-hyped WR corps will have to focus on making catches and hanging onto the football, which was one reason why the offense sputtered early.

Go 'Cats!!!

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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