MadTown Badgers: Nine-Point Play(ers) for Week 7
This week’s foe is Northwestern. Fun fact: Kanye and Kim named their baby after the school. Not really, but still.
Wisconsin will attempt to soothe its ailments this Saturday with some good ol’ fashioned home cooking, Y’ALL. I tell yew whut: them thar smart peoples from close to Chicago are comin’ up heer, tryin tew win on OUR homecoming, and get outta town with their horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors intact.
I don’t know how much input the team had regarding their uniforms after the school switched to Under Armour apparel, but the Wildcats might be my favorite look out there… The “Northwestern stripe” looks great, and the uniforms as a whole are just so CLEAN. /unigasm.
REFRESHER: Article Background/Basis
Remember - it’s impossible to score nine points on one play in football. Some people are going to troll me and say that you can’t score seven or eight points on one play alone. The reality is that a touchdown directly leads to an extra point or two point conversion attempt, and there is no way for the offense to score three points on the post-touchdown conversion.
In baseball, people sometimes refer to hitters as “trying to hit a five-run homer” when they take huge swings that usually end up making little-to-no contact with the ball. Similarly, this segment is going to look at the nine players on the opposing team that will either try their hardest to, or be in the best position to score nine points on a single play and upend our beloved Badgers on the upcoming Saturday.
(1) Kain Colter: Quarterback, Senior. Height: 6-2 Weight: 195
Kolter, #2, is well-known for being a dual-threat with his arm and his legs, and Saturday he has a chance to become a 2,000-yard man two times over. Colter enters the game with an eerily similar 1,945 career passing yards and 1,944 career rushing yards -- moving him into 10th place on the school's career rushing list. His 9-yard TD catch vs. Ohio State also raised his career receiving total to 676 yards.
Colter was a little bitty freshman the last time Northwestern visited Wisconsin. You may recall that game as the time when GOLLY GOOD OL’ BERT PUT UP 70 ON THEM THAR WILDKITTIES. Colter was 0-3 with an interception that Aaron Henry returned for a touchdown. This time around, Colter is the wily vet completing a Scott Tolzein-esque 83% of his passes (albeit on only 47 attempts) and has rushed for 253 yards (5.4 average) and 4 touchdowns. Control him, and Wisconsin wins.
(2) Trevor Siemian: Quarterback, Redshirt Junior. Height: 6-3 Weight: 210
Siemian, #13, is a backup that isn’t really a backup. He’s a better pure passer than Colter (I keep wanting to spell it Kolter) and will see plenty of action this Saturday. The Floridian has completed 60 of his 88 pass attempts this season for 916 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. He isn’t going to run when he’s in (18 carries for 27 yards) so Wisconsin should be able to pin its ears back and unleash the hounds of hell for once. We needta get us somea them quarterback sacks, people.
It remains to be seen whether our big uglies could bring down Siemian, though. That’s because he added a whole seven pounds this offseason!
(3) Venric Mark: Running Back, Senior. Height: 5-8 Weight: 175
Mark, #5, was having a modest true freshman season as a reserve wide receiver and special teams performer in 2010--modest until the regular-season finale at Wisconsin. Mark exploded that day at Camp Randall for a Northwestern-record 273 kickoff return yards -- a total that was just 10 yards shy of the Big Ten single-game record -- while his nine kickoff returns matched the all-time conference mark. He also ran away with a 94-yard return for a touchdown, still the most recent kickoff return TD by a Wildcat. Mark's 281 all-purpose yards against the Badgers also represented a Northwestern freshman record, cracking the previous mark of 253 set by Tyrell Sutton (shudder) in 2005, also against the Badgers.
Mark has been quiet this season, as he left the first game with an injury after 11 carries for 29 yards. He missed the next three games and returned last week against Ohio $tate, where he had 17 carries for a measly 60 yards. He did have 4 catches for 48 yards, however, and Wisconsin’s outside linebackers will need to sniff out screens early to prevent big plays.
(4) Rashad Lawrence: Wide Receiver, Senior. Height: 6-2 Weight: 190
Lawrence, #17, played against Wisconsin in 2010 as a true freshman. He had two catches for 19 yards in that beautiful bloodbath. Since then, he hasn’t produced nearly as much as you would expect a receiver to contribute in the Northwestern spread offense, especially for a player that was good enough to have 12 receptions as a true freshman. His highest reception total for a season came last year, when he logged 34 catches for 321 yards.
This season, he has 11 grabs for 185 yards. What’s interesting is that he has failed to catch a pass in three out of five games this season – he had 3 catches for 36 yards against Syracuse – and suddenly was like WHOA LET’S START DOING SOMETHING WITH THIS WHOLE SENIOR-YEAR THING GOING ON and balled out last Saturday on the big stage with eight catches for 149 yards. Hopefully Wisconsin can send him back to his miserable, catchless ways.
(5) Dwight White: Cornerback, Redshirt Freshman. Height: 5-10 Weight: 185
White, #2, was pressed into a starting role when starter Daniel Jones was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Kudos to White’s parents for making his name sound so cool. Seriously. Dwight White just rolls off the tongue so easily! Back to football… White has 20 tackles on the season while adapting to a full-time role in the secondary. He has been criticized almost non-stop by Northwestern backers so far this season, despite, you know, being a freshman that wasn’t expected to be forced into a starting role before he was ready.
Northwestern doesn’t have the depth Wisconsin has, so the non-starters are those guys that really need more time to develop in the Wildcats’ system. White is prone to giving up big plays on deep passes, so look for Stave to
float up a duck DROP A BOMB into Jared Abbrederis’s waiting hands at least two times this weekend.
(6) Chi Chi (‼!) Ariguzo: Linebacker, Redshirt Junior. Height: 6-3 Weight: 235
Ariguzo, #44, is a playmaker for the Wildcat defense because he’s always in the right place at the right time. He was a preseason third-team all B1G pick, despite switching from strong-side linebacker to weak-side before the season.
ERMAHGERD I LURVE THIS GUY’S NAME. I ALSO LURVE HOW HE SPINS LIKE A BALLERINA. THIS
Wisconsin offered Ariguzo a scholarship coming out of Gahanna, Ohio. He ranked as a three-star guy, No. 47 amongst outside linebackers per Scout and No. 38 amongst Ohioans per Rivals. Chi Chi turned down Stanford, Wisconsin, and a host of other B1G schools probably because HE CAME TO PLAY SCHOOL. Last season, Ariguzo recovered four fumbles (tied for most in the conference) and wrangled down three quarterbacks for sacks, and sprinkled in 10.5 tackles for loss as a nice little garnish.
(7) Ibraheim Campbell: Safety, Redshirt Junior. Height: 5-11 Weight: 205
Campbell, #24 is the primary ball hawk for the Wildcats, as he is tied for fifth nationally with nearly one interception per game. The team is tied for first in the nation with 2.20 interceptions per game. Campbell had a streak of five straight games with an interception snapped earlier this season, but still has three interceptions in five games. The Wildcat safety was on preseason watch lists for the Jim Thorpe and Lott IMPACT Awards; he’s earned his place on those lists.
It seems to me like this guy has been at Northwestern for ten years – that’s what happens when he shows up on just about every game highlight. This is Campbell’s third year playing, and it’s worth noting that it’s his second year as a member of the team’s 12-man leadership council. Clearly, his teammates and coaches trust him to make the right decisions at the right times, on and off the field. He has rewarded their faith by being a very solid player. His productive play can’t explain why he has to be so difficult grammatically…so much for the old saying “I before E, except after C.” Y U have to be so difficult, Ibraheim?
(8) Collin Ellis: Linebacker, Redshirt Junior. Height: 6-2 Weight: 230
Ellis, #45, was a second-string player coming into the season. He got a chance to start in the opener at California and made his claim to the iron throne by recording two interceptions AND returning them both for touchdowns, because he understands geometry and physics and all the stuff necessary to calculate exactly the correct angle to take to get to the end zone while using an optimal amount of energy, force, and momentum to get there. His accomplishments led to him being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week for the first week of the season. Since then, he hasn’t made any more interceptions, but he has confessed his love for ‘chick flicks.’ He probably also enjoys long walks on the beach, gossiping, Pinterest, and wine night with the girls. Seriously though, this guy has had a tough life and it’s neat to see him succeeding.
(9) Pat Fitzgerald: Head Coach, Seventh(!) Year. 2012 Record: 10-3 (5-3) Overall: 50-39
Although Wisconsin hasn’t played Northwestern since 2010, B1G fans have heard a lot about this team in the past few years. Credit Pat Fitzgerald for developing his program to the point where they’re nationally relevant. His teams have been able to beat Wisconsin at home, but in Madison they haven’t had a good time. Wisconsin has won the two meetings in Madison since 2006 by a combined score of 111-32. Can you believe the teams have only played three times in the past seven seasons? The third meeting was a 33-31 Northwestern win in Evanston. Let’s pretend that one never happened.
Last season the ‘Cats won their first bowl game since 1949 when they defeated Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl. This was their third time in five years playing in a New Year's Day bowl game. Their three losses all came after holding leads late in the fourth quarter, and they may have been one of the worst teams ever to go undefeated had they held onto their leads. I’m pretty sure WIsocnsin would’ve demolished them in the B1G championship anyway. Interestingly, Northwestern finished last season as the highest-ranked B1G team - it earned a No. 17 year-end ranking in the USA Today/Coaches Poll.
Vegas Line: Wisconsin -10.5
Paul’s Pompous Prediction: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 27