Wildcats ride defense, stay undefeated

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats did not score a touchdown until their 100th offensive play of the game, but the 15 points they scored prior were all they needed against the Boston College Golden Eagles on Sept. 15 at Ryan Field.

Northwestern didn’t need much offensive help because of their stellar defensive play against the Golden Eagles rushing attack. Boston College collected negative four yards rushing headed into the second half and ended the game with only a total of 25 rushing yards.

“I think our defense is working diligently to improve,” Northwestern University head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Obviously the way we performed against the rush today, against a very physical football team I thought was a very positive step forward.”

Although the Wildcats moved the ball up the field with ease against their opponent, they failed to capitalize on most opportunities. Northwestern made it into the red-zone five times but only came away with four field goals and turned the ball over once on a fumble.

“It was unbelievable ball movement, keeping possession of the ball, putting together great drives, picking up third down [conversions], I can keep going on, on and on,” Fitzgerald said. “But at the end of the day we’ve got to turn those three into seven as we move forward.”

The Wildcats finally delivered a touchdown, but not until their final offensive play of the game, which sealed the 22-13 victory for Northwestern with under two minutes remaining in the game. Mike Trumpy, the Wildcats’ halfback, ran it in from 27 yards out.

Northwestern netted 293 yards rushing against the Golden Eagles. Trumpy and Venric Mark, the Wildcats’ starting running back, rushed for a combined 184 yards on 34 carries.

“We just know that whoever is back there is going to run as hard as they can and try and gain as [many] yards as possible,” said Brandon Vitabile, the Wildcats’ center.

The quarterback tandem continued to be successful as Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter completed a combined 30 of 40 pass attempts. According to Fitzgerald, Colter played the entire second half because of his teams’ ability to move the ball on the ground at will during the first half.

Kicker Jeff Budzien matched a school record by going five for five on field goal attempts en route to leading his team to victory.

“It’s great to tie a record like that in a win,” Budzien said. “Those three points are huge when we go out there. What I’m fortunate for is that we have a snapper, Pat Hickey, a holder, Brandon Williams; and eight guys blocking up front that do a great job and take pride in what they’re doing.”