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).

Although 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 NU.

The 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.

Go 'Cats!!!

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

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