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September 2012 Archives

Northwestern debuted at No. 24 in the Associated Press poll on Sunday while being voted the 22nd best team in the country by in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

The Wildcats moved to 8-0 after racking up a school record 704 offensive yards in Saturday's 44-29 win over Indiana on Saturday at Ryan Field. It was the first time Northwestern has been ranked in the coaches' poll since Nov. 20, 2010 and the first time they've been included in the AP Top 25 since Dec. 29, 2008.

"I don't vote for a reason," coach Pat Fitzgerald said last week. "I don't watch all the games. I think it's great that the coaches get a vote but, again, I don't have the time to do that, and that's  why I chose not too. As far as the AP goes, maybe everybody gets to watch it. Maybe they do and maybe they don't. If it were up to me I wouldn't rank anybody until the middle of October. I'd make everybody play three conference games. Then you know where teams are at. All the stuff that gets done in the preseason is all just a popularity contest and how many clicks you get on a mouse on a website and how many magazines you can sell. It's a waste of time. What matters is where you're at going into November, do you have yourself in contention to be a Big Ten championship team?

"We've had teams in the past that have been pretty darned good and haven't been ranked but we've been one win away from playing for the championship the last two weeks of the season. We just worry about what we can control."

Fitzgerald said he declined an opportunity to vote in the coaches' poll.

"I've got enough on my plate being a father of three that are under 10, trying to be a good husband and lead a football program let alone trying to study up on what's going on all over the country," he said. "I wish I had the time to do that."

Safety Ibraheim Campbell and receiver Christian Jones left the game with injuries and did not return, although Fitzgerald said both players gave him "positive responses" when he asked them about their injuries after the game.

Jones injured his elbow while it appeared Campbell sustained a shoulder injury.

Pat Fitzgerald was thrilled with his offense's record-setting day, but he was less than pleased with a defense that allowed four second-half touchdown in Saturday's 44-29 win over Indiana at Ryan Field.

The Wildcats led 20-0 at the break but were outscored 29-24 in the second half.

"We talked about it at halftime, the game being 0-0 and we had to go out and win the second half," Fitzgerald said. "We failed miserably."

Indiana made several big plays in the passing game despite Northwestern defensive backs being in position. In each case, it was a Hoosier player that came down with the jump ball, as was also the case in a season-opening win over Syracuse. 

103 of Indiana's 159 rushing yards and 179 of its 266 passing yards came in the second half.

"They caught us in some things where we weren't where we should have been in certain situations," linebacker Damien Proby said.

Fitzgerald was also disgusted by his kickoff coverage team's performance on Tevin Coleman's 96-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. He said he would make personnel changes if he wasn't satisfied with what he sees when he watches the tape.

"I promise you we'll get that shored up," he said. "We knew what they were going to do, they did it and we didn't execute."

Left tackle Patrick Ward is one of 147 candidates for the 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards. 
Ward is also a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented annually to the most outstanding football scholar-athlete in the nation, taking into account an individual's achievements athletically, academically and in the community.

Ward has started 30 consecutive games and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2011 as well as a two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree. The mechanical engineering major was selected as NU's offensive player of the game in the Wildcats' recent win over South Dakota. He is also a two-time recipient of the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten awards.

"This year's candidates truly embody the National Football Foundation's mission of building leaders through football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (1997 Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They are standouts in the classroom and on the field and have become leaders in their respective communities. Each school should take great pride in being represented by such well-rounded young men who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in life."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators. 

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients with the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced.

Backup safety Jimmy Hall and reserve cornerback Daniel Jones are "out" for Saturday's Big Ten opener against Indiana at Ryan Field with undisclosed injuries, according to Northwestern's official injury report. 

Backup receiver Mike Jensen is listed as "doubtful." 

Neither of the three players participated during Saturday's 38-7 win over North Dakota.

Thanks to a bye week, Indiana has an extra week to prepare for Northwestern, beginning a recurring theme for the Wildcats this season.

Because of quirks in the schedule, Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan State also have byes before playing the Wildcats. 

"Hopefully, at the end of the run we say it wasn't an advantage," coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "That's the goal. That's something that's out of our control. I saw it at the beginning part of the season when I went through the schedule -- 'Oh, that's interesting'. At times it has been a benefit to us and at other times we haven't come out of the bye and played very well ourselves."

Northwestern received 89 votes in this week's Associated Press Poll, which was the most of any team not ranked in the Top 25. UCLA was next with 79. Michigan had 44. The Wildcats were also 26th in the USA Today Coaches Poll with 96 votes. Boise State was next with 69 and Michigan had 57.

Here's what coach Pat Fitzgerald said when asked about NU being ranked last week: "I've had a bunch of fans send me messages, 'Aren't you mad that you're not ranked?'" he said. "'No, I don't even care. It doesn't matter. If it were me, I don't know why you would rank anybody prior to October anyway. It's a waste of time because nobody has played anybody until you get into conference play for about three weeks. If you want to talk about things out of our control, but even then I wouldn't give a crap if we're ranked or not. It doesn't matter. What matters is we're starting to play better football." 

Northwestern players will wear stickers on their helmets in memory of former offensive lineman Leon Brockmeier, who died Saturday of natural causes. Brockmeier, a second-team, All-Big Ten tackle on the team that won the 2000 Big Ten championship, was 34.

Brockmeier started 35 games for the Wildcats, including 24 straight for an offense that led the Big Ten in total offense in 2000 and was second in 2001.

Brockmeier is survived by wife Melanie and two sons. A memorial fund as been established by the Brockmeier family. 
Kain Colter led Northwestern to a game-opening touchdown against South Dakota on Saturday at Ryan Field before leaving the game with a wrist injury.

He later returned and led the Wildcats on a six-play, 57-yard drive that ended with Venric Mark's 6-yard run.

Colter scrambled to his right on the Wildcats' second possession when cornerback Chris Frierson lowered his right shoulder and delivered a huge hit on Colter after a 10-yard gain. Colter was replaced by backup Trevor Siemian, who threw a 42-yard pass to Christian Jones to set up Northwestern's second score.

Colter scrambled for 24 yards after returning from the injury. 

If Northwestern qualifies for the NCAA Tournament for the first time this season it will be without JerShon Cobb, who has been suspended for the 2012-13 men's basketball season due to violations of team policy, the university announced.

The junior guard remains enrolled in school and continues to be a part of the Wildcats' basketball program. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

"There are standards that each student-athlete is expected to uphold," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "JerShon has our complete support as he works to fulfill those expectations and we look forward to having him rejoin the program in a full capacity in the future."

Cobb averaged 7 points per game in 21 games last season.

Northwestern's injury report lists backup receiver Mike Jensen and backup safety Jimmy Hall as "out" for Saturday's game against South Dakota at Ryan Field. Sophomore cornerback Daniel Jones is "doubtful." 

The nature of the injuries and how long each player might be out was not disclosed.

Jensen played in each of the first three games and had one catch for 14 yards.Hall played in two games and had two tackles.

Jones was competing for the starting job held by senior Demetrius Dugar, according to coach Pat Fitzgerald, who said Monday the cornerback spot opposite redshirt freshman Nick VanHoose was up for grabs this week. Quinn Evans has been the third cornerback for the first three games and is also competing for the spot.

Jones has played in all three games and had two tackles and a pass broken up in Saturday's victory over Boston College. 

Even though he's only played three games, Pat Fitzgerald says Dan Vitale isn't a freshman anymore. The Northwestern coach reminded reporters of what Vitale did in the third quarter of Saturday's win over Boston College. The Wildcats had just recovered a fumble in the red zone and were backed up on their own 6-yard line when, on second-and-8, quarterback Kain Colter completed a short pass to Vitale for a 9-yard gain to give NU a first down on a drive that resulted in a 19-yard Jeff Budzien field goal.

"We threw a quick screen to him and he stuck his foot in the ground and went north and got 11. That goes back to the skills he had at Wheaton-Warrenville South," Fitzgerald said, referring to Vitale rushing for 1,340 yards on 276 carries and 17 touchdowns as a senior. "He was physical and dynamic with the ball in his hands in high school."

Fitzgerald went on to compare Vitale with All-Big Ten tight end Drake Dunsmore, who is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, although the comparison came with a caveat.

"I think he's a little farther ahead than Drake as a true freshman, I really do, just from a standpoint of Danny is really comfortable with the ball in his hands just because of his background," Fitzgerald said. "We'll see how it progresses. Don't write this the wrong way. He's not Drake Dunsmore. But comparing them as freshman he's probably a little stronger physically than Drake was. Hopefully, Danny will continue to embrace what Drake did and hopefully stay a little bit healthier."

Vitale has caught four passes for 25 yards in three games.

Season tickets for the 2012-13 Northwestern men's and women's basketball seasons go on sale at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. Tickets can be purchased by clicking on the Tickets link at or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.
The NU men's team will play 20 games at Welsh-Ryan Arena this season, including nonconference matchups against the likes of Maryland, Butler, Stanford and UIC. 
Upper and lower level purple seats are sold out. Regular reserved seats are available for $260, a minimum of 48 percent savings off single-game prices.
Northwestern University faculty and staff can purchase season tickets for $222, which is 55 percent off single-game pricing. NU young alumni and graduate student tickets are just $137, a saving of 72 percent.
Season ticket holders also have the opportunity to purchase additional single-game tickets for all home games before they go on sale to the general public. Orders for additional single-game tickets can only be placed over the phone.
In addition, season ticket holders have the opportunity to purchase advance tickets for the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament that is being held March 14-17 at the United Center in Chicago. It is the first time since 2005 that the tournament is being played at the United Center.
Running back Venric Mark left Sunday's game with what was described as a "lower-body injury" and did not return. The Wildcats' leading rusher is expected to practice Tuesday, according to coach Pat Fitzgerald, and should play against South Dakota on Sunday at Ryan Field.

Senior Neal Deiters started at right guard in place of a "banged-up" Chuck Porcelli on Saturday. Those two will compete for the starting job this week in practice. 

Jeff Budzien was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after tying a school record with five field goals in Saturday's 22-13 win over Boston College on Saturday.

Budzien is tied for first nationally with eight made field goals this season and is the only kicker in the nation to make 8-of-8 field goals. The junior, who scored Northwestern's game-winning points in its two first wins, connected from 42, 20, 29, 41 and 19 yards. The 42-yarder was his long for the season.

The offense isn't the only unit with starting jobs are on the line. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said cornerback is another position where several players are competing for a starting job.

Nick VanHoose has started all three games and has nailed down one starting spot. Senior cornerback Demetrius Dugar has also started the first three games at the other cornerback position but backups Quinn Evans and Daniel Jones also saw playing time in Saturday's win over Boston College,

"It's about consistency of execution and being aggressive when it's time to be aggressive and being smart when it's time to be smart," Fitzgerald said. "For example, I thought we handled double moves pretty well, which we expect to see each week. I thought we had a little lack of awareness on the tight zone when we're backed up on the 5-and 10-yard lines. It's the same thing with two minute. The one thing we talk about is keeping the ball inside and in front and we get in a footrace and get a PI call. I'm not ready to anoint anybody as far as being the starter over there yet." 

Pat Fitzgerald said this may be the deepest team he has had in his seven years as head coach. With the exception of center Brandon Vitabile, left guard Brian Mulroe and left tackle Patrick Ward, the Northwestern coach said offensive starters will be determined during practice this week. 

That includes quarterback, where Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian have been splitting time.

"All these reps were having in practice are going to determine who's going to start and who's going to play as we move forward," he said. "That's the approach we're taking now offensively. That's a really good thing. That's a really good problem that we have. We've got good depth, great competition."

Colter is the better runner and is more of a horizontal passer while Siemian is slower afoot but more consistently find targets downfield. How well they deliver in the red zone during practice this week could determine which player starts against South Dakota on Saturday.
"I want to see both those guys compete from a standpoint of being able to put the ball in the end zone," Fitzgerald said. "We'll see how everything unfolds."

Receiver Demetrius Fields said he is so comfortable with both quarterbacks that he sometimes doesn't realize who's in the game.

"I don't really notice which quarterback is in," receiver Demetrius Fields said. "Even in the first game, I didn't know that Trevor was in [on the game-winning drive] until mid-drive. That may have had something to do with me being oblivious, but at the same time, I have full confidence in both quarterbacks. They're both in the same amount of time watching film and telling us what they want out of routes. They are on the same page so it's kind of the same in our mindsets and we don't really think about it."

Northwestern has announced plans to build a new athletic complex on the north end of campus, which would move the football team's offices, locker rooms and practice fields one mile east of it's current location near Ryan Field to the main campus. 

The announcement came after approval by the Board of Trustees on Saturday. The plan calls for a large indoor multipurpose facility, an indoor practice-and-competition venue for college sports teams and space for club sports, intramurals and recreation. The Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion would also be renovated to include new practice, training and competition venues for varsity sports, including a new diving well and locker rooms.

Construction is expected to cost approximately $220 million. A timetable for the project is dependent on fundraising.

"Football is the engine that drives this department," athletics director Jim Phillips said. "It's the emotional engine. It's the financial engine. We have to invest not only in all our sports but especially in football. This will allow the football program to be in the heart of campus and [allows student-athletes] to seamlessly go to and from classes and training and film work and study hall and practice and weights and all the things student-athletes do on a day-to-day basis like never before here at Northwestern."

The project also includes a 12,000-car parking garage, a multipurpose indoor practice facility with seating for 2,500, an outdoor practice field, locker rooms, fitness-and-weight rooms, sports medicine facilities as well as meeting rooms and offices.

Northwestern is on a quarters system, which means they will have played three games before students arrive on campus for the first day of class. While that can negatively impact attendance, coaches and players agree there are benefits to classes starting later than they do at most schools.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald called it a "huge" advantage and a selling point during recruting because a player can prepare for as many as 20 games during the course of his career without worrying about taking a class.

"That's like being in the NFL," he said. "That's ridiculous. I promise you, our guys love it."

Because players are limited by the NCAA to only 20 hours per week of football-related activities, they have spare time on their hands.

"I remember back in my day I would go back and watch "Doogie Howser" and "The Wonder Years,"" Fitzgerald said. "Now they can play video games against each other on their phones."

Linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after totalling 10 tackles, including three for losses, a sack and a pass broken up against Vanderbilt.

It was the second big game in as many weeks for Ariguzo, who returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown against Syracuse and also returned an interception 49 yards to set up another score.

Ironically, it was defensive end Tyler Scott who was named defensive player of the game by Fitzgerald after registering six tackles --- two for negative 12 yards ---, a sack and forced fumble.

Freshman cornerback Nick VanHoose injured his lower back while making a tackle on the first series of Saturday night's game and did not return but is expected to play against Boston College on Saturday.

Senior Quinn Evans replaced VanHoose Saturday and had five tackles.

"I asked Nick how he was feeling [Monday] morning," coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "He said he just felt a little stiff but he felt great. We're hopeful he's going to play Saturday."

Coach Pat Fitzgerald was not happy with his offense in Saturday night's 23-13 win over Vanderbilt at Ryan Field, especially in the first half. The Wildcats had only 10 yards passing in the first half, thanks to a lack of execution, including several dropped passes.

"We fought ourselves for a while," he said. "We've got to throw the b all better, catch the ball better and execute better if we're going to win moving forward."

The offense didn't kick into high gear until Trevor Siemian replaced Kain Colter in the fourth quarter and led the Wildcats on two scoring drives. Colter came back into the game to help run out the clock and scored on a 29-yard run.

Colter completed 7-of-15 passes for 42 yards. He also had 75 yards rushing on 13 carries. Siemian completed 10-of-16 passes for 91 yards and had no rushing yards and no attempts.

Fitzgerald insisted that Colter would remain his starting quarterback after Siemian rallied the team over Syracuse in Week 1. After Saturday night's game, he reiterated that statement.

"If we had caught the ball better in the first quarter I doubt you would ask me that question," he said.

Despite the success Siemian has enjoyed, Venric Mark remains the team's No. 1 offensive threat. The running back/kick returner had 123 yards on 24 carries against the Commodores.

"The credit goes to Venric," Fitzgerald said. "He worked incredibly hard this summer and it's paying dividends."

The home opener was also "Heroes Day" at Northwestern. The "N" in the center of Ryan Field was red, white and blue instead of purple and white. Players wore identical decals on their helmets to honor the military, police, firemen, Coast Guard, search and rescue and others who put themselves in harms way. A Coast Guard helicopter flew over the stadium after the national anthem.

Starting cornerback Nick VanHoose injured his lower back on the second play of the game and did not return. 

"Nick is one of our very young, talented guys," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "Hopefully, he'll be back sooner rather than later."

Senior Quinn Evans, who transferred to Northwestern to attend grad school after graduating from Stanford, replaced VanHoose and had five tackles.

It's quite a luxury to be able to use a senior to backup a freshman.

"Quinn really stepped up," Fitzgerald said. "That's probably the most football Quinn Evans has played in three or four years. I'm a big fan of the NCAA rule on graduate transfers."

The turf inside Ryan Field was a lush green earlier in the week. Evidently, workers pulled a tarp over it to protect the surface from thunder showers. When they pulled the tarp off, the sun came out sooner and hotter than expected and burned the grass, leaving brown turf polk-dotted with patches of green. 

The integrity of the playing surface itself was not compromised, according to a team spokesperson.

True freshman Ifeadi Odenigbo, the four-star recruit from Centerville, Ohio, made his college debut but it was another true freshman defense end who made the bigger impact in a 23-13 win over Vanderbilt at Ryan Field on Saturday night.

Dean Lowry tipped a pass, pressured Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers on several occasions and also recovered the fumble that all-but ended Vanderbilt's potential game-winning drive in the final two minutes. 

"It was awesome to see Dean Lowry out there as a true freshman making some plays and getting in Rodgers' face," senior defensive end Quentin Williams said.

Defensive tackle Tyler Scott had six tackles, including two for losses, a sack and a forced fumble for Northwestern's resurgent defense.

Odenigbo played briefly in place of defensive end Deonte Gibson, who injured his elbow against Syracuse, but did not record a tackle.

The Wildcats released their injury report for Saturday night's home opener against Vanderbilt at Ryan Field, and it was brief, indeed.

Defensive end Deonte Gibson (elbow) will not play. Otherwise, the Wildcats are healthy.

True freshman Ifeadi Odenigbo is expected to make his college debut in place of Gibson. Odenigbo, a four-star recruit from Centerville, Ohio, is listed as a linebacker in the media guide but has been moved back to defensive end, where he played in high school.

The all-American (Super-Prep, Under Armour) weighed just 205 pounds when he was being recruited partly because he was competing in track. He has since beefed up to 230 and said he's not worried about matching up with 300-pound offensive tackles at the college level.

"I'm not worried about the size," he said. "The school I went to consisted of 3,000 people so kids I went against every week [weighed] between 285 and 300 [pounds]. There were a lot of Division I athletes in my area."

Coach Pat Fitzgerald is confident Odenigbo will make his presence felt, although he acknowledges that the prospect ranked 51st overall in the country by ESPN will improve as the season progresses.

"I watched Matt Rice play three-technique at 235 [pounds] my freshman year," Fitzgerald said. "He'll be fine."

Kain Colter practiced with first-team offense Tuesday and said he expects to play against Vanderbilt in Northwestern's home opener on Saturday night despite suffering from an injury that was originally reported as a bruised left shoulder but that he said was actually bruised left ribs.

"It's a painful injury," Colter said. "There's nothing you can really do about it but rest. We've got a while before the game. I'm just trying to ease back into things. I'll be ready to go by Saturday."

Colter said several hits he absorbed during the game contributed to the rib injury, although a sack by Shamarko Thomas which forced him to fumble late in the second quarter was the decisive blow.

The junior didn't get much sympathy from coach Pat Fitzgerald, who said quarterbacks were responsible for three of five Syracuse sacks in Northwestern's 42-41 victory in the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

"We gave up five sacks," Fitzgerald said. "Three were on the quarterback. That's their fault. They get what they deserve. That's what I told them [Monday] in a team meeting. You get what you deserve, Either turn the protection like the game plan calls [for] or get the ball out of your hands or you're going to be sore on Monday. Either you figure it out or you're going to sore."

Cain told offensive coordinator Mick McCall that backup Trevor Siemian should lead the Wildcats on a potential game-winning drive late in the game because he couldn't throw without pain. Siemian did just that, connecting Demetrius Fields on a 9-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left that gave Northwestern the road win.

It's tough," Colter said. "You want to be in the game but at the same time if I go out there and it's painful to throw the ball and we're in the two-minute drill where we have to throw the ball I'm not going to hurt my team and go out there if I'm not 100 percent. I've got all the trust in the world in Trevor. If I feel Trevor gives us the best chance to win at that point, I have to make that decision."

Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib set single-game school records for completions (44), attempts (65) and yards (470) against the 'Cats secondary, and that was with Alec Lemon, the Orange's leading receiver in 2011, sidelined with an injury.

"For about 45 minutes we played much better football on defense than we did the whole year last year," Fitzgerald said. "The other 15 minutes are things we have to get fixed."

Syracuse scored four straight touchdowns in the second half in the Carrier Dome, where the temperature was 95 degrees with 89-percent humidity, so fatigue may have been a factor. Fitzgerald said he lost eight pounds coaching from the sidline.

"Our whole defense lettered in the first game," Fitzgerald said. "We played [95} plays. That's a recipe for disaster."

Northwestern was flagged for pass interference four times. Cornerback Demerius Dugar drew three flags. In each case, he was in decent position but had his back to the ball.

"We had great coverage in those situations," Fitzgerald said. "We have to look back and play the ball. Obviously, that's what we coach the guys to do and we didn't do a good enough job doing that. We take that responsibility on our shoulders. We'll be better. If we do that we probably intercept two out of three of those balls. That's the next step we have to make."

Fitzgerald said everybody except defensive end Deonte Gibson, who injured his elbow, would be available to play against Vanderbilt in Saturday night's home opener at Ryan Field. True freshman Ifeadi Odenigbo, the four-star recruit and high school all-American, will surrender his redshirt season and take Gibson's spot in the defensive line rotation.

Fitzgerald said he hopes Gibson can return for the Boston College game on Sept. 15.

"We've got eight guys in the rotation and now there's a hole there so we have to fill that hole," Fitzgerald said. "We're always going to play our best 11 players."

It wasn't Pat Fitzgerald's decision to replace starting quarterback Kain Colter with backup Trevor Siemian with Northwestern down by six points with two minutes, 40 seconds left in Saturday's game against Syracuse.

It was Colter, who bruised his non-throwing shoulder earlier in the game, who told offensive coordinator Mick McCall that a change was needed.

"This was probably the most telling statement of Kain's leadership and unselfishness," Fitzgerald said Monday. "He got a little bruised up in the game and said to Mick in the headphones: 'Trevor gives us a better chance to win.' To me, that's a pretty strong statement from a guy who is, No. 1, selfless in his leadership style to say right now I might not be able to go out and do the things my teammates need me to do for our team to win. That's a pretty strong statement of his leadership."

Colter was the first person to congratulate Siemian after the sophomore completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Fields with 44 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 42-41 victory.

"I talked about the chemistry of this team early in camp and I think that's about as strong a statement as you're going to see," Fitzgerald said. "I wouldn't read into it any further than that."

The Carrier Dome is named after an air conditioning and heating company but it's not air conditioned, which can turn the Syracuse's home field into a sauna. The temperature was 68 degrees two hours before the game but had soared to 82 at kickoff and 95 at halftime and remained that temperature for the rest of the game.

"We didn't have one single cramp," coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "Not one guy. That talks to our athletic training staff."

Defensive end Gibson hurt

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Gibson hurt

Defensive end Deonte Gibson left the game with an injured elbow and did not return. Although the severity of his injury was not immediately known, he was wearing a sling afterwards.

The Northwestern secondary had four pass interference calls on the day, three by senior cornerback Demetrius Dugar. All three of his penalties came on deep sideline routes when he was face guarding opposing receivers, which is legal in college football. There was also contact on all three plays.

Safety Devon Fleming was flagged on a similar play on a drive that resulted in a touchdown. Two of Dugar's penalties came on third-and-six or longer. The Orange scored touchdowns on both drives.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said the penalties made secondary members more tentative, resulting in even more big plays.

"That took our stinger away a little bit," he said.

Kain Colter injured his non-throwing shoulder in the second quarter, although whether that was a factor in Pat Fitzgerald going with backup Trevor Siemian on the game-winning drive is not clear.

Fitzgerald seemed to indicate that Colter's injury was not a factor while Colter said that it was the reason why he remained on the sideline.

Either way, Fitzgerald said Colter remains the starting quarterback. Colter, meanwhile, said he doesn't expect his injury to prevent him from starting against Vanderbilt next week.

"It happened in the second quarter," Colter said. "I went out and played with it. Give it some time and I'll be all right."

Both quarterbacks performed well. Colter completed 14 of 21 passes for 135 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 40 yards on 14 carries. Siemian 8-of-11 for 78 yards and a score.

"We're really confident in Kain and Trevor as well," receiver Demetrius Fields said. "We're confident in them and they are confident in us."

The Bears acquired former NU standout Sherrick McManis from the Houston Texans today in exchange for fullback Tyler Clutts.

McManis has appeared in 23 games over two seasons with Houston after being selected by the Texans in the fifth round (144th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The 6-1, 193-pound cornerback had two tackles and one interception with the Texans. On special teams, McManis had 16 tackles, 11 kickoff returns for 230 yards (20.9 ypr) and a forced fumble.
McManis will be reunited with former Wildcat teammates --- defensive end Corey Wootton and linebacker Nick Roach.

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