Wildcats prepare for Big House

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats are in a heated race to get to this season’s Big Ten championship game.

The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers and the University of Michigan Wolverines are each a game ahead of the Wildcats in the Legends Division and Northwestern has a chance to make up ground against the Wolverines at the Big House in Ann Arbor on Nov. 10.

The Wildcats prepared for their road game against the Wolverines by using speakers at practice to simulate the noise that will be present at Saturday’s game. According to the Northwestern’s back up quarterback Trevor Siemian, the two speakers are no comparison to the 109,901 fans that will could possible be at Michigan Stadium.

“We do it just to get a little bit of a feel, but its not even close,” Siemian said.

Northwestern had to deal with a similar environment when they visited the Penn State University Nittany Lions and lost 39-28 on Oct. 6.

“I think it helped everybody,” said Siemian. “Playing in front of the Big House isn’t that different.”

The Wildcats have more to prepare for than just the noise factor. The Wolverines’ defense has only given up an average of 17 points a game and holds opposing offenses to less than 300 yard total yards in a game.

“They do a great job of keeping opponents inside of them and in front of them,” said Wildcats’ Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald. “They haven’t allowed the ball to get thrown by them a whole lot this season.”

Fitzgerald said his team’s success against Michigan would rely heavily on the team’s offensive execution. Northwestern is winless in games were it is held to under 324 total yards this season.

On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats will have to prepare for two quarterbacks. The Wolverines are usually led by Denard Robinson under center, but Northwestern will have to be ready for back up quarterback Devin Gardner as well. Robinson, who came into the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, has been recovering from a right elbow injury and may play against the Wildcats.

“We’re going to have to do the things we’re supposed to do regardless of which quarterback is out there,” Fitzgerald said.

Gardner helped the Wolverines defeat the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers 35-13 on Nov. 3. He threw two touchdown passes and rushed for one in the victory.

The Wildcats and Wolverines will kick off at 11 am from Ann Arbor, Michigan.