Walker’s wounded on road to recovery (Football)

Tania Ganguli

As the season has progressed, Northwestern seemed to lose a player to injury each week, from kickers to running backs to safeties.

On the cusp of the Wildcats’ final game of the season Walker is still unsure about injured receivers Roger Jordan and Mark Philmore, but said there was a chance they would play.

Injured kicker Slade Larscheid will most likely not be healthy enough for Illinois, but regardless, Walker said Brian Huffman will be the kicker.

Also questionable were running backs Terrell Jordan and Jason Wright.

“Terrell’s back,” Walker said. “He’s back and close to full speed.”

Wright rested his left ankle and stayed out of practice until this week. Although he said the rest helped the healing process, he felt that it was important to get practice time.

“This wouldn’t be a big thing if it weren’t in the midst of the season you were continuing to try and play on it,” Wright said. “(Walker) did explain to me that at a certain point it isn’t going to get better.”

Mixing bowls: After last weekend the Cats’ bowl situation took a slight twist.

With a win over Illinois, NU will finish .500 and become bowl eligible with six wins.

“They need to not be concerned about all that,” Walker said. “The concern and the focus needs to be on Illinois.”

But bowl eligibility is no guarantee for a bowl game. The Big Ten already has seven bowl eligible teams that will finish above .500. The only way there will be room for NU in one of the Big Ten bowls is if two Big Ten teams go to a Bowl Championship Series game. The BCS consists of four bowls played by eight teams out of the BCS top 12: the Rose and Orange Bowls on Jan. 1, the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, and the Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl played by the BCS No. 1 and No. 2 teams.

Ohio State is currently No. 2 and Michigan is No. 9.

The Cats know that a large part of their bowl outlook is out of their hands, and so they are trying not to think about it.

“It’s in the back of everybody’s mind,” safety Torri Stuckey said. “But we also know that we can’t control it. The fact is, if we lose to Illinois, it won’t make a difference anyway.”

Inches to go: After rushing for 34 yards against Michigan, Jason Wright is now 100 yards away from 1,000 for the season. Wright is also fifth in the Big Ten in rushing yards, third in scoring and fourth in all purpose yards … Wright, cornerback Jeff Backes and defensive tackle Luis Castillo are three of 18 Big Ten football players who were honored as members of the Academic All-District First Team … Receiver Kunle Patrick extended his consecutive-games-with-a-catch streak to 45 against Michigan. He is tied with Wes Welker of Texas Tech and Roy Williams of Texas.