Earlier today, I posted a link to Lake the Posts, where I answered some of LTP's questions in anticipation of tomorrow's game. LTP's answers to my questions are below:
1. Northwestern has typically been able to run the ball successfully, but> not this year. What's the problem? I expected Tyrell Sutton to be a big loss, but it must be bigger than that, right?
Much bigger. It has been a bizarro year to be understated. Essentially everything we thought would be a strength has been a weakness and vice versa, EXCEPT the ground game. We feared it was this potentially bad, however, our OL was solid last year albeit extremely green. The big assumption was they'd improve -many had our O-line picked as one of the better in the Big Ten - and thus, the ground game wouldn't be as bad as we thought. It's beyond bad. Our OL has been brutal and we have no one in the backfield with any degree of elusiveness which makes for a disastrous 1-2 combo. Kind of like Orange juice and toothpaste.
2. Given Mike Kafka's numbers, it's not surprising that the Wildcats have a number of receivers with impressive stats. Which Wildcat receivers should Hoosier fans worry about the most?
Andrew Brewer reawakened last week and can be a downfield threat. Zeke Markshausen is having a tremendous season and is coming off a 16 reception week vs MSU (not a misprint) and is our clutch receiver, although usually short yardage. We're loaded with great hands across the board including Sidney Stewart, but lack a true gamebreaker.
3. How about on defense? Which part of your defense presents the biggest problem for the Hoosier offense?
The secondary is our strength, but they're dinged badly. Preseason All-American Corey Wootton, our Greg Middleton (but better in '08) has not recovered well from the torn ACL and has yet to register a sack.It's been sad to watch him struggle so. Our DL has recently comealive, but Sherrick McManis, our CB is the clear difference maker on D. Both our senior starting safeties - Brendan Smith (out) and Brad Phillips (likely out) are huge losses. MSU exploited this once Phillips went out of the game after we pitched a 1st half shutout.
4. If there is any Big Ten fan base than can sympathize with Northwestern's
attendance woes, it's IU's. But over the last couple of years, despite
plenty of success and optimism, you guys have been making us look like Ohio
State. I know you have dedicated many posts to this topic, but what's the
problem in a nutshell?
NU is infamous for playing to the level of the opponent - both the very good and the very bad. For us to take the next step, we need to learn how to step on teams' throats when we get up. We almost emit a"nice guy" image and lack the OSU kick your ass instinct. This applies to IU. No offense, but we've actually had more talent most of this decade, but you always play us tough. We don't take IU lightly, although we did last year - as a fan base anyway. We both look at this as "W" every year the schedule comes out, but the confidence is clearly lacking in Wildcat Nation. I can't remember a more disappointing season since 2001 - our post Big Ten champion year when we returned most of our weapons.
5. And finally, what's your prediction for tomorrow?
Possibly wishful thinking but the revenge factor from 08 + homecoming+ must win for bowl hopes gives us the slightest of edge:NU 30 IU 27 (OT).