Wisconsin hands Northwestern second loss of season
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter October 12, 2013 6:36PM
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon (25) runs against Northwestern's Collin Ellis and Chi Chi Ariguzo on Gordon's 61-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Madison, Wis., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Northwestern 3 3 0 0 — 6
Wisconsin 7 14 7 7 — 35
NU—FG Budzien 27, 9:46.
Wis—Abbrederis 63 pass from Stave (French kick), 4:09.
Wis—White 1 run (French kick), 7:06.
Wis—Gordon 71 run (Russell kick), 2:03.
NU—FG Budzien 43, :12.
Wis—Pedersen 1 pass from Stave (Russell kick), 10:16.
Wis—D.Watt 3 pass from Stave (Russell kick), 12:29.
TEAM STATISTICS NU Wis
First downs 10 24
Rushes-yards 25-44 51-286
Passing 197 241
Comp-Att-Int 17-39-1 17-28-2
Return Yards 0 9
Punts-Avg. 11-37.6 4-35.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 2-10
Time of Possession 21:45 38:15
RUSHING—Northwestern, Buckley 3-19, Odom 3-17, Colter 6-10, Mark 3-8, Green 3-6, Trumpy 1-5, Siemian 6-(minus 21). Wisconsin, Gordon 22-172, White 19-101, Clement 4-19, Duckworth 1-6, Team 1-(minus 1), Stave 4-(minus 11).
PASSING—Northwestern, Siemian 13-34-0-163, Colter 4-5-1-34. Wisconsin, Stave 17-28-2-241.
RECEIVING—Northwestern, Lawrence 4-67, C.Jones 4-49, Vitale 3-21, T.Jones 2-19, K.Prater 2-10, Jensen 1-18, Dickerson 1-13. Wisconsin, Pedersen 4-30, White 3-29, Abbrederis 2-74, Duckworth 2-36, Fredrick 2-20, Erickson 1-35, Clement 1-9, Gordon 1-5, D.Watt 1-3.
Updated: November 14, 2013 6:55AM
MADISON, Wis. — At his postgame news conference, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was handed the final stats from the Wildcats’ 35-6 loss to Wisconsin.
Fitzgerald said he already had gone over the stats and passed them back more out of disgust than anything.
There was plenty for Fitzgerald to be disgusted with. The last time the Wildcats failed to score a touchdown was in a 17-3 loss at Michigan on Oct. 28, 2006.
“We were as held in check offensively as maybe my last five years [at Northwestern],” Fitzgerald said. “So we’ll start always with us as coaches, look at what happened schematically.
“I hope it gives our guys a punch right in the face and wakes them up. It’s hard to win Big Ten football games. In my opinion, in sport, it’s the hardest thing to do, and when you get punched in the face, you got to shake the cobwebs out and you got to respond.”
The Wildcats didn’t run the ball well, and they lost running back Venric Mark in the first quarter to an ankle injury. But the most serious concerns surrounded a passing game that totaled only 197 yards.
Trevor Siemian played most of the game at quarterback after Kain Colter re-injured his ankle in the first quarter.
Colter injured the ankle Tuesday in practice. He was a partial participant Wednesday and practiced fully the rest of the week before being cleared to play without any concern Saturday.
He re-entered the game at quarterback on the first drive of the second quarter and played receiver in the third quarter before being ruled out for the rest of the game.
But Colter was just as ineffective in the running game and as a passer as Siemian was throughout the second half. Colter ran six times for 22 yards, and Siemian completed only 13 of 34 passes.
It seemed Siemian either overthrew his receivers or hung on to the ball too long. He took five sacks; Colter took two.
In the last two games, Siemian and Colter have been sacked 12 times. At least one was a coverage sack, but Fitzgerald wasn’t prepared to place blame on the offensive line or quarterbacks before watching the film of the game.
Regardless of who is to blame, the relentless pressure the quarterbacks are seeing is hampering the passing game. Like in any game in which the offense is inept, there were several other breakdowns.
But it begins with protecting the quarterback.
“Obviously, a lot of stuff went wrong on offense for us,” Siemian said. “Give a lot of credit to Wisconsin, they’re a real good team. I thought they were really prepared for us. Just didn’t get it done.”