Post-Game Analysis: Boston College
by Jonathan Hodges
The Northwestern Wildcats (3-0, 0-0) used another excellent defensive showing to finish off the Boston College Eagles (1-2) by a final score of 22-13
as NU held BC to just 25 net rushing yards, now ranking the Wildcats
16th nationally in rushing defense (80.0 yards/game). The victory gives
the 'Cats three wins over BCS conference teams and makes them arguably
the most accomplished team in the conference at this point in the
season (the only other Big Ten victory over a BCS conference opponent
came by OSU this past week against Cal at home).
Northwestern piled up the yards (560 to be exact), outgaining BC by a
ton (244), the 'Cats failed to find the end zone on the board on all
five of their red zone trips (settling for four field goals and failing
to convert on fourth down on the other trip, in which they fumbled the
snap). But five total FGs for the 'Cats was enough, and a late 27 yard
touchdown run by RB Mike Trumpy, now looking fully back from injury as
he topped 100 rushing yards on the day, put the icing on the cake for
win certainly showed that Northwestern can find many ways to win the
game: offense (see week one at Syracuse), defense (the past two games),
and special teams (Venric Mark's punt returns in week one and Jeff
Budzien's five field goals this game). Now the Wildcats will have a
tune-up contest against FCS foe South Dakota before heading into Big
Ten play at which point they will hopefully be able to put together
those flashes we've seen through three games.
Player of the Game: K Jeff Budzien (5-of-5 FGs, 1-of-1 XPs, 16 points)
Many questioned Budzien coming into this season after he went 6-of-10
all of last season, but has proven the critics wrong so far this year
as he has continued to be perfect on XPs (60 and counting) and has hit
all eight FG tries this season, including a few from beyond 40 yards.
And thanks to an offense that stalled out in the red zone this game, he
almost single-handedly took care of Northwestern's scoring.
Northwestern Honorable Mentions: Offensive
Line (allowed 2 sacks but paved way for 293 rushing yards at 4.9
yards/carry), RB Mike Trumpy (16 carries for 106 yards, 1 TD; 2
receptions for 8 yards), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (10 tackles, 1 fumble
recovery, 2 pass break-ups, 1 QB hurry), Defensive Line (allowed 25 net
rushing yards at 1.2 yards/carry, 1 sack).
What to Work on: Red Zone Execution.
NU has the talent and the schemes to play well in the red zone, and
that was demonstrated last season when the 'Cats scored a TD on 70% of
trips to the red zone. Kain Colter gives NU an excellent weapon, and
the much-hyped WR corps gives the 'Cats many targets in the end zone.
Unfortunately, there were bad passes, missed reads, and poor execution
in this key area leaving many points on the field for NU and making
this game a lot closer than it should have been. NU was bailed out by
excellent defense and Budzien's perfection on kicks, but everyone knows
this must improve when NU hits Big Ten play.
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