Northwestern Football is Back

Oh, that was two weeks ago. Punctuality is not a strong point of mine.

The average Northwestern fan's view of Saturday's game.
The average Northwestern fan’s view of Saturday’s game.
Photo by Andrea Schmitz

I’d like to pose a question. If Northwestern beats Syracuse but nobody is on campus to hear it, does it make a sound?

Normally I like the quarter system. I enjoy the broad range of classes it allows me to take, as well as the quirk of being the only person from my old high school I know that’s at a school on the quarter system (I’m a stickler for attention like that). But I don’t like how late it starts.

Northwestern officially begins classes September 24. By that point, four games will have been played. Three of them will have been home games. We have seven home games to begin with. By the time school starts, most students will have missed out on a third of the season.

That sucks. Sports are some of the great joys of college in America, where we build a sense of community and school pride around a common interest, the school team. It’s why we’re so awesome (USA #1) and Europe blows.

So when we miss out on a large part of the season, we miss out on a part of the great American college experience.

That’s a problem, because if you haven’t heard, Saturday’s game against Syracuse was a hell of an experience.

I go into every season with the same feeling – one of cautious optimism laced with a foreboding sense of doom. After the win against Cal, that optimism grew a little stronger. Sure, the game was close and sometimes worrisome, but a win is a win. Bad things happen when Big Ten teams go out west, and we escaped.

After the win against Syracuse, I’m feeling even better about this team.

It took 51 seconds for Northwestern to score the first touchdown of the game.

At the half, Northwestern was up on Syracuse 34-7, capped off by a brilliant, 49 second drive in the closing seconds that ended in a touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian to Christian Jones. It was the highlight of a very solid game by Northwestern’s two quarterbacks in which they combined for 30 of 37 completed passes and 375 yards for four touchdowns and no interceptions. If anybody is still questioning our two quarterback system, they are foolish peasants who can shut the hell up because this shit works. Imagine if they did the Fusion Dance; Johnny Manziel would surely piss himself in fear.

Wide receiver Tony Jones had a huge game, catching nine passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. We also got to see a touchdown pass to Christian Jones, proving that nobody can keep up with the Joneses.

Aside from a slight scare in the third quarter, the defense handled Syracuse easily. Though they managed 27 points, two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter at a point when it didn’t really matter.

Northwestern’s defense made some pretty impressive plays, picking off Syracuse QB Drew Allen four times. That brings the Wildcats’ interception total to seven. Last year, Northwestern intercepted 13 passes all season, including that sweet, sweet Gator Bowl. This season, we are two games in and have seven. Oh, and we’re also currently number one in the nation in that category (tied with Tennessee but nobody cares GO U NU).

I don’t want to sound overconfident right now, but Northwestern looks really, really good right now. Like, not good by Northwestern standards, but legitimately good. From what I saw in the last two games, I think we have something great on our hands.

America seems to agree with me. Northwestern started the season ranked 22nd in the AP and Coaches polls. After two weeks of play, we’re now ranked 17th in the AP and 16th in the Coaches Poll. My personal goal for the team is 15th in both, so that we can continue to use relevant Taylor Swift songs to describe Northwestern’s success.

Northwestern’s next opponent is Western Michigan at home this Saturday. The line is currently at -30.5 (subject to change), so oddsmakers are pretty confident that this is going to be an easy win. I have a hard time disagreeing.

All of this is just foreplay, of course, for the game on October 5th. Ohio State, at home, on homecoming, under the lights. We win out, and I think we will, and we’ll have two potentially top ten teams squaring off at night. College Gameday, anyone?

I have a feeling that we’re looking at something special here in Evanston. These Wildcats ain’t your granddaddy’s Wildcats.

Is it foolish to be thinking about roses right now?

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