Northwestern says missed tackles an aberration
NU says yes, vows to fix errors vs. Iowa
- Photos (1)
Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden scrambles out of the pocket with Northwestern's Vince Browne in pursuit Saturday at State College, Pa.
If you thought Northwestern whiffed on 400 tackles Saturday as an ode to Joe Paterno's milestone victory, you weren't off by much.
When the Wildcats' coaches dissected the tape of the 35-21 loss at Penn State during which NU surrendered touchdowns on five consecutive drives they came up with 27 missed tackles.
"We missed more tackles on Saturday than we've missed in the previous, I think, five or six games combined," said Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.
In that case, it's little wonder the Wildcats surrendered 375 total yards and 35 points in the final 30 minutes and 50 seconds. Northwestern can't afford anything close to that disaster this week if it intends to knock off Iowa for the fifth time in six years.
The Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-1), who sit at No. 13 in the BCS ratings, average 30 yards and 8 points per game more than Penn State.
"It's not real hard, it's not real complicated," Fitzgerald said. "You play defense and tackle people. Your number gets called, you're at the point of attack, you've got to tackle.
"I guess that's what I would expect from our defense, is that we're going to tackle better."
Senior defensive tackle Corbin Bryant believes the Penn State debacle will turn out to be more of a one-week aberration than a disturbing trend.
"We always find ways to improve after seeing the bad things that we've done," Bryant said. "Like I said, we'll be better."
Iowa senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi ranks third nationally in pass efficiency thanks largely to his 20-3 TD-INT ratio and his 68.3 percent completion rate.
Pat Fitzgerald knows a little bit about efficient quarterbacks NU's Dan Persa ranks 10th in the country and loves what he sees on tape.
"When I study quarterbacks and I'm looking at them, I look at mistakes that they make," Fitzgerald said. "And I haven't seen one mistake that I've seen Ricky make. I haven't watched every rep of the year, but I have not seen him make a poor choice yet. And I think that's what makes him so impressive."
Northwestern fans might recall the Wildcats' fortunes turned at Iowa last year when Corey Wootton injured Stanzi on a sack that became a fumble recovered by Marshall Thomas for a touchdown.
Northwestern serves as the home team for next week's game against Illinois at Wrigley Field, but the Wildcats seniors decided Saturday's finale at Ryan Field should serve as their official Senior Day.
NU bids farewell to a small but impactful class. Of the 12 seniors, five have started every game this year (DT Corbin Bryant, OLB Quentin Davie, MLB Nate Williams, CB Justan Vaughn and WR Sidney Stewart).
RG Keegan Grant has started 13 of the last 17 games, superback Josh Rooks plays regularly and K Stefan Demos and long snapper John Henry Pace have been long-time staples.
Most of the seniors are fifth-year guys and they're the first group coached exclusively by Fitzgerald. They've been a part of 33 wins that includes three over Top 25 teams.
"We've done a lot of good things," Bryant said. "But we're not done yet."
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close