Monday, October 24, 2005

Who's a Cats Fan?

It's time to take the Wildcats seriously. The opportunity you've been enjoying to sleep on the Cats is now over. Sound the alarm.

Sure, our jersey numbers are dubiously embroidered in some sort of sanskrit derivative, and you should feel free to take that however you'd like. But I'm telling youse guys, it would be wise to take the on-field football being played in Evanston and elsewhere on the road very seriously.

Following this weekend's 49-14 one-sided drubbing of #22 Michigan State in East Lansing, the Northwestern Wildcats have risen to the Land of the Ranked for the first time in four years. Led by senior quarterback and potential invitee to December's Heisman ceremony in New York, Brett Basanez, true freshman stud running back Tyrell Sutton and a slew of speedy receivers, the 5-2 Wildcats ascended to #21 in the nation in the latest AP poll and #23 in the coaches'.

This Saturday's game started off as close to disaster as possible, with Michigan State and the country's third-ranked offense scoring on its first drive in three plays, using just 66 seconds to do so. But over the course of the next few hours, NU nerded its way to paydirt repeatedly and thoroughly embarassed its opponent, which according to some, may or may not be pumping NU's gas one day.

NU, the nation's fourth-ranked offense, countered with touchdowns on six of eight straight possessions, including TD scores on its first four second-half drives, while the defense added a momentum-changing, 86-yard fumble recovery for a score. With more than 10 minutes left in the final quarter, the Cats had scored 49 unanswered points to lead by 42. On the road. At #22 Michigan State. Woo hoo.

Basanez added another four touchdowns in this game -- two on the ground and two through the air -- and Sutton racked up 109 yards and two scores for the Cats. We cannot be stopped. Seriously. By the way, Sutton needs a good nickname. I'm not just accepting T-Sutt and moving on here. Suggestions are welcome.

But the big story for NU came on the defensive side of the ball. Ranked 116th out of 117 Division I-A schools, our usually sieve-like defense clamped down and forced four major turnovers, including two in the end zone and that fumble in the red zone that we returned for a score. We still managed to give up 480 yards, but that number was below both MSU's and NU's respective season averages.

Michigan State's special teams also performed poorly, helping the Cats blow out the Spartans. MSU's kicker missed two field goals -- badly -- and one-upped that effort by yanking a big kickoff out of bounds. Man, do I feel bad for this guy, John Goss: He comes onto the field to merciless boos and jeers, tries to kick a field goal for the home crowd, misses every time and jogs off to even louder boos and jeers. Is that fun? Can that be worth it?

Of course, because I wrote this post, the Cats will lose their next three games. We've got a horrific schedule ahead: Home against #25 and hungry Michigan under the lights on Saturday, home against 5-3 Iowa and then at the Horseshoe to take on Ohio State.

It's Homecoming on Saturday, and I'm deciding right now whether or not I can make it out there for the game. It looks tough (I have to go to DC for work on Friday), but stranger things have happened. And you all know how much I love NU/Michigan games.

We win that game this weekend, and we're for real. For real, B.

Slack Link of the Day: Here's a great game for ya: Move the blue square through the maze towards the red zone without touching the black walls -- it gets really cool after Level 3.

Slack Link of the Day, Runner-Up: I think I've posted this before, but I saw it again on the Internets and thought it was funny enough to potentially repeat. Either this guy is rolling face on The Price is Right, or he's just a crazy man. Either way, great stuff.

Slack Songs of the Day, ala the Live Music Blog: Thirty-seven years ago next month, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce ended their short-lived exploratory partnership and called it quits at the height of their fame and creativity. And tonight, the original power trio will reunite to play on American soil for only the second show since the LBJ administration.

The Cream tickets were a little over-priced, but I’ll be at MSG this evening, most likely staring at some rockin’ bald spots and Clapton’s bum — our seats are behind the stage. Being savvy arena rock veterans, though, there’s a chance we’ll shuffle around and find a better place to stand and head-bob.

In anticipation of the nostalgia-filled evening (well, not for me, I was -11 years old when the band broke up), we hope you’ll join us in making today a Cream-filled one. Here are a few shows to get you going, courtesy of tela.sugarmegs.org:

Cream: 9/67
Cream: 10/67
Bonus: The Lost Cream Tapes

10 Comments:

At 10:30 AM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Congrats on the win. I hope you run the table just so Wisco's one loss doesn't look so bad (I suppose it already doesn't look so bad). You should beat Michigan, they're definitely down this year.

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I hear ya on that, but then we'd each only have one Big Ten loss -- in that case, who wins the division, us with one loss and a win over UW or UW because they'd have fewer overall losses? College football is confusing.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Jacob Eli said...

I bet no one saw this quote coming before the start of the year:

"I don't want to take anything away from anyone," the Penn State defensive coordinator, Tom Bradley, said by phone, "but if he's not the best quarterback in the country, wow, I don't know who is."

Is this kid the next Ben Roethlesberger or what? So poised, such great decision-making, he really looks like a real NFL QB.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger ethan said...

great game. the wildcat secondary has to get a lot of credit for this one, especially after losing their freshman safety in the first half. any word on that injury?

and not to be a quibbler with the performance, but i don't like sutton fumbling inside the 5.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Nor headlines like these from major publications and news outlets...it's a great day to be a Cats fan:

Northwestern blasts No. 22 Michigan State, 49-14

Northwestern embarrasses No. 22 Michigan St.

Quarterback Leads Northwestern Uprising (NY Times!)

Northwestern surges into the Top 25

Basanez, Sutton combine for 6 of Northwestern's TDs in rout

'Cats crush Spartans in East Lansing

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Reid F. said...

Northwestern is going to win the Big Ten, they should've beat Penn State in that close one. They will get another shot at them in the Big Ten Championship, I've been waiting for years for them to make a big bowl and I think they can do it this year if not next year with Sutton in the backfield, he's a huge threat to many of the big defenses in the league. Northwestern should beat Michigan this weekend, at Northwestern.

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger ethan said...

you haven't been waiting too long - remember the rose bowl against keyshawn?

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Reid, for as big a fan as you seem to be, I'd think you'd know the Big Ten doesn't have a championship game.

I vote for Akron Assassin as Tyrell Sutton's nickname. How the hell did Ohio State not recruit this guy? He was Mr. Football in Ohio last year. Weird how recruiting works like that.

You know, those prizes on The Price is Right seemed kinda crappy to me. What the hell would I do with a gumball machine and a fireplace?

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Reid said...

Rose Bowl*** my bad, my point is that I think Northwestern can win the big ten this year (record wise), penn state hopefully losing to MSU and possibly Wisconsin, will put NW on top of the big ten along with them finishing off the season with just two losses.
~GO CATS

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger PokerGuy12 said...

Go Ohio State! All those Michigan players talk game but they can’t hang. I wanted to bet my friend from highschool who goes to Michigan that they won't win. Then he told me we could go to Pokerblue and play their Freeroll Texas Hold'em poker Tournament for Ohio State and Michigan students. As football fans we battle our rivals at the poker table. Winners get 2 free tickets to that rivalry, $100 for tailgating, and qualify for the next round where National Championship Rose Bowl tickets and $2000 travel package are the grand prize. I'm all over this. Here is a great site for tournament info.

 

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