Chicago Sun-Times
with Tina Akouris

November 2011 Archives

Northwestern trails Michigan State at halftime

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

A fumble changed everything.

With Northwestern driving deep in Michigan State territory and the score tied at 3 Saturday at a rainy Ryan Field, it appeared that the Wildcats were poised to take a lead on the No. 11 Spartans with 5:25 to play in the first half. It was up to freshman running back Treyvon Green to get the job done, as the Widlcats were in the midst of a 60-plus yard drive that started at their own 35.

But after Green plowed through the Spartans' line and appeared to be down near the Michigan State three, the ball popped out of Green's hands. Spartans linebacker Max Bullough forced Green to fumble and defensive end Denzel Drone recovered.

That miscue led to an eight-play, 97-yard Michigan State drive that chewed 3:45 off the clock and cumulated in Le'Veon Bell's seven-yard touchdown run. Bell faked out cornerback Daniel Jones heading into the end zone and Michigan State led 10-3.

Adding insult to injury, Keshawn Martin returned a Wildcats punt 57 yards for a touchdown with 34 seconds to play in the first half, boosting the Spartans' lead to 17-3.

Cornerback Jordan Mabin left the game late in the first quarter with a right shoulder injury and is questionable for the rest of the game. Redshirt freshman Jones replaced Mabin in the Wildcats' secondary.

Wildcat women upset No. 23 LSU

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Northwestern's women's basketball team upset No. 23 LSU in Baton Rouge, La. 44-43 Tuesday night on freshman Morgan Jones' two free throws with 11 seconds to play. The win improves the Wildcats' record to 4-0.

NU beat the Tigers on their home floor at The Maravich Center, a place where LSU has gone 155-11 against unranked teams over the past 14 years.

"I thought it was a hard-fought game, early in the year," coach Joe McKeown said. "We just made more plays down the stretch, and Morgan stepped up big with two free-throws. She was poised and I'm really proud of her effort. She's fearless and that's how we need her to play. Overall, I'm happy with the way we fought back."

Wildcats forward Drew Crawford was named the Big Ten's men's basketball Player of the Week after he helped the 'Cats win the Charleston Classic over the weekend. Crawford, a 6-5 swingman from Naperville, was named MVP for the tournament after averaging 24 points, six rebounds and shooting 57.4 percent.

This is the second time Crawford has earned the honor in his career at NU. His first Big Ten Player of the Week honor came his freshman year.

The Wildcats are 4-0 and host Stony Brook at Noon Friday.

Northwestern leads Minnesota in second half

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

What the heck happened in the second quarter?

After the Wildcats scored on their first three possessions of the game and built a 21-7 lead over Minnesota Saturday at Ryan Field, NU seemed to stall in the second quarter and only controlled the clock for 5:50 compared to 8:40 in the first quarter.

A 28-yard field goal by Golden Gophers kicker Jordan Wettstein cut the Wildcats' lead to 21-10 going into halftime.

On a side note for Minnesota, running back Duane Bennett eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark in the second quarter. He needed only 45 yards to crack the 2,000 mark and finished the first half with 78.

Northwestern men's soccer wins Big Ten tournament

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

The Northwestern men's soccer team won the Big Ten tournament Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich., defeating Penn State 2-1. The Wildcats, the tournament's No. 1 seed, scored twice in the second half on goals from Peter O'Neill and Oliver Kupe, who notched the game winner. Both goalie Tyler Miller and Kupe made the all-tournament team.

The Wildcats won the regular season Big Ten title last week, also in Ann Arbor, and their tournament championship is a first for NU men's soccer.

The victory marks the Wildcats' 11th consecutive victory and the team will find out Monday what their NCAA tournament road looks like.

Wildcats get first win in post-Jaeschke era

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Northwestern's women's basketball team opened the season with a 69-60 victory at Central Michigan. It was the team's first win in the post-Amy Jaeschke era.

Coach Joe McKeown said his biggest goal, so far, is to establish a lineup and figure out how much depth he has. Replacing the first team All-Big Ten center is going to be McKeown's greatest challenge.

"You can't replace someone [like Jaeschke] who scored [1,941] points and it was the presence she had in our program every day," McKeown said. "I think Dannielle Diamant and Kendall Hackney and some other players will benefit from getting more minutes and more shots. And we have a 6-5 freshman, too, Alex Cohen who I think down the road can also give us some points. We need to find points and that's what scares me.

"We've had so many players in different positions during practice that we don't have that flow yet."

McKeown should have a good feeling about Hackney, at least, because she scored 18 points for the Wildcats Friday, 11 of them in the second half. 

Carmody inks two new 'Cats

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Men's basketball coach Bill Carmody received two national letters of intent Thursday, from 6-7 Kale Abrahamson of Des Moines, Iowa and 6-6 Sanjay Lumpkin of Wayzata, Minn. Both are swingmen.

"We're very excited to have Kale and Sanjay coming aboard next season," Carmody said. "They are both versatile athletes who will have the opportunity to compete right away as freshmen. We're continuing to recruit and expect to sign a few more players for the class of 2012."

No one can stop talking about the Penn State scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and whether or not coach Joe Paterno should resign (I think he should).

Coach Pat Fitzgerald has made no secret of his admiration for Paterno, so it seemed necessary to ask him today after practice what he thought of this heinous, despicable situation.

"I'm not going to go into anything besides, it is sad," Fitzgerald said. "It's really sad and I don't have a whole lot more to say besides that."

The media also asked Fitzgerald about something Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez said Monday: that the Wildcats' defense stole signals during NU's 28-25 upset victory in Lincoln.

"I'm not going to talk about what other people say and things I can't control," Fitzgerald said. "There were some things we saw in our film study that he gave away that we thought we could take advantage of, and when they were confirmed I think we took advantage of some of those things. We didn't do anything differently. If we could steal their signals and get lined up, we would be undefeated and shut everybody out. It is what it is."

Jeremy Ebert named Walter Camp award winner

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

A day after Northwestern upset No. 9 Nebraska 28-25 in Lincoln, Neb., Wildcats wide receiver Jeremy Ebert was named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week on Sunday.

Ebert, who surpassed the 2,000-yard mark in career receiving yardage against the Cornhuskers, earned the Walter Camp award after catching six passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. Ebert's 81-yard touchdown catch was the Wildcats' second-longest pass play in school history. The Nebraska victory was the Wildcats' second in a row.

Dan Persa has shoulder injury; questionable

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa suffered a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury late in the second quarter against Nebraska and his return in the second half is questionable. Persa initially suffered the injury at about the eight-minute mark of the second quarter, when he was scrambling out of the pocket and landed hard on his left shoulder after the tackle. Persa re-injured it later in the quarter when he slid after a 10-yard run. Backup Trevor Siemian took over for Persa to start the third quarter and will alternate with Kain Colter.

Northwestern leads Nebraska, Persa dinged up

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Playing in front of 85,115 fans at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Northwestern holds a 7-3 halftime lead over Nebraska.

The Wildcats forced two Nebraska turnovers in the second quarter, but could not capitalize on either and went three and out on each subsequent drive.

NU scored with 2:08 to play in the first quarter when tailback Jacob Schmidt scored from two yards out. Nebraska countered with a 36-yard field goal by Brett Maher with 2:26 to go in the first half.

Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa took a nasty hit at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter. Persa was scrambling when he was tackled by a Nebraska defender and landed hard on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Persa did return for the Wildcats' next series, but then left right before halftime after a 10-yard run. Persa slid after the run and several Nebraska defenders fell on top of the injured shoulder.

A nice way to end practice at Northwestern

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Northwestern's men's basketball team had a special practice on Thursday, when the Wildcats shot some hoops with a group from nearby Misericordia, located on Ridge Avenue in Chicago. Misericordia helps children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The Misericordia group, many of whom also play basketball for Special Olympics, watched practice and then shot some baskets with members of the Wildcats and were also able to get some autographs.

So it's finally Nebraska week at Northwestern. This road trip is probably the most anticipated one of the season since the Big Ten added the Cornhuskers in the summer of 2010 for a couple of reasons:  Nebraska has a reputation of having a rabid fan base and selling out Memorial Stadium. In fact, Saturday's game is expected to be an NCAA record 317th consecutive sellout in Lincoln. The record dates back to Nov. 3, 1962.

The last time the Wildcats played Nebraska was in the 2000 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. And some may not want to relive the memory: Nebraska won 66-17 and had outscored the Wildcats 31-7 in the second quarter and then poured on 28 unanswered points in the second half. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald, who was a defensive grad assistant at Idaho at the time, quietly remembered the game during his Monday press conference.

"I watched the game, I was at home," Fitzgerald said. "I flew back from Idaho and had a bunch of people over for a party at our house and it kinda stunk. The wings were good, the food was good, but the party stunk. But that's many, many moons ago."

What is happening now, though, is that NU is going to face one of the toughest defenses of the season. There's a slight sigh of relief that All-American defensive tackle Jared Crick is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. But then the Cornhuskers counteract with a guy like linebacker Lavonte David, who is tied for fourth in the Big Ten with 77 tackles.

Speaking of tackling, missed tackles have been an issue over the past couple of weeks, despite the Wildcats' 59-38 victory at Indiana Saturday which snapped a five-game losing streak. When asked how the tackling was after practice Tuesday, Fitzgerald said, "Great."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.