Winning is Winning, I Guess

Northwestern vs. UMinn result: 21-13

It’s good to see Northwestern winning again. Granted, it’s just one game, but after last week’s loss, I was very worried about the future of this team.

The Penn State loss was brutal. So much so, that I forgot to write about it because I was too busy drowning in my sad, purple tears. It’s not the first Northwestern loss that I’ve witnessed. In my time as a student, I’ve witnessed 13 of them. I’m used to a little disappointment. This game was different. We were supposed to be the better team. We had the offensive weapons. We still do. We had a good run defense. Yes, Matt McGloin, the Leprechaun wonder, had a good history against NU, but we had a good enough offense to mitigate that.

And then we lost. We had two huge weapons in Kain Colter and Venric Mark that we for some reason neglected to use. Instead of trying to run out the clock with our running game, we insisted on having Trevor Siemian throw, which was not working well at all. Shit.

Penn State may not have been the better team on the field, but in the end they were by far the better coached. That, and Penn State is so damned loud. The noise was a problem for me, and I was watching the game on TV. Is it any wonder that first year starter Siemian couldn’t focus?

But that’s last week. This week would surely be better, right?

Sort of. We won, so that’s nice. I never felt good about the outcome of the game until the clock ran out, though, and against a team like Minnesota, that’s not a good sign for our team. If the last two games have taught me anything, it’s that Northwestern doesn’t have a killer edge. We were up 27-0 against Indiana before giving up 29 points (thank God our offense was better that day) and we had an 11 point lead against Penn State in the 4th quarter before losing to them by 11 points. This team needs to learn how to kick a man when he’s down, not let him lie and regain composure.

Against Minnesota I thought the same thing was going to happen. Sure, we were up the whole game, and we never gave up the lead. Hell, Minnesota only scored once in the second half, and that was on a field goal. We kept an 8 point lead for most of the second half. But it never felt safe.

All 21 of our points came in the first half, and they all came from exceptional runs by Venric “God” Mark. It looked like it would be a blow out, but after that our offense never posed a serious threat again.

Trevor Siemian should not start another game this season. I remember when he led the touchdown drive against Syracuse, many were talking about how he might be the starter over Colter. This game should have silenced any such talk for good for the season. He went 1 for 7 on pass attempts against Minnesota. The Gilded Gophers are not a good team, and he should have done better.

A shout out is necessary for Minnesota’s MarQuies Gray. He used our game against us, Coltering all over the field. If he wasn’t injured in the third quarter, there’s a good chance we would have lost the game. Even after he went out we were having trouble stopping the run, and he was easily the best runner the Golden Gophers had. I shudder thinking about the outcome had Gray stayed in the game.

I don’t want to sound too critical, though. In the end, we still won the game. Winning is winning, I guess, and we should have no problem with winning, no matter how ugly. Rebecca Crown gets to be purple again this week. The Cats are now 6-1, and are still technically in the race to win the Legends/West/Whatever division. All of the teams they face from here on are either hilaribad or beatable.

I’m not giving up on this team yet. Rose Bowl, bitches?

 

photo: Mike Egeberg

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