Post-Game Analysis: Indiana
by Jonathan Hodges

Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) posted its first calendar month with five wins since October 1959 as the Wildcats beat the Indiana Hoosiers (2-2, 0-1) by a final score of 44-29 to cap off their four game homestand. The 'Cats took a 20-0 lead into halftime and after scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter, NU looked like it was ready to roll to a blowout with a 27-0 lead, but Indiana made things interesting as they went to the deep pass to gauge NU and fight back to a one score game 37-29 early in the fourth quarter. But as they have done all year, NU went to the ground game to seal the victory as Kain Colter scampered for his fourth rushing TD on the day to bring the score to the final margin as the NU defense kept Indiana off the scoreboard the rest of the way to seal the victory.

It's never easy being a Wildcat fan, and the second half of this game once again proved that, but the Northwestern ground game should surely give confidence to Wildcat fans as NU is now averaging 255.8 yards per game on the ground and a very solid 5.0 yards per carry while tallying 14 touchdowns on the ground through five games this year. The rush defense is also solid, despite allowing some room to run to Indiana, having allowed just 90.0 yards per game on the ground.

All in all, the 'Cats have reached 5-0 and are just one win away from bowl eligibility for the sixth consecutive season, but NU and its fans have their target set much higher this year, and being a Legends Division contender certainly seems to be in the cards if the Wildcats continue to perform like they have through September.

Player of the Game: QB/WR Kain Colter (14 carries for 161 yards, 4 TDs; 9 receptions for 131 yards; 1-of-3 passing for 2 yards, 1 INT) Kain did it all today racking up a ton of yards on the ground and as a receiver, which caught some for a surprise early but is certainly no big deal considering his performance last season. But his ability to scamper to the end zone helped the 'Cats claw out a win here as he continues to find different ways to propel NU to victory.

Northwestern Honorable Mentions: RB Venric Mark (29 carries for 139 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions for 8 yards; 1 punt return for 2 yards; 2 kick returns for 21 yards), K Jeff Budzien (3-of-3 on FGs with 44 yard long, 5-of-5 on XPs), LB Damien Proby (14 tackles - 10 solo).

What to Work on: Staying Focused (for the second consecutive week): Northwestern jumped out to a big lead but let that almost crumble late in the game thanks to errors in all phases of the game: not taking care of the football on offense, allowing a kickoff return for touchdown, and allowing deep pass completions even with good coverage. Fitz has already committed to shaking things up on special teams, while on defense focus needs to be on swatting the ball away instead of passively waiting for the pass to arrive. Finally, the offense is humming along quite nicely (NU set a school record for total offense with 704 yards on the day) and NU needs to keep its mental edge going.

Go 'Cats!!!

Jonathan Hodges
Contributor, HailToPurple
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Email: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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