Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Football: Northwestern prevails in the Battle of Chestnut Hill

Pat Fitzgerald is the biggest fan of the new time rules the NCAA instituted this season.

Boston College was called for a false start with 14 seconds left in the game and lost not only the customary five yards, but also 10 precious seconds off the clock thanks to the new NCAA rules. The new rule states that 10 seconds will come off the clock for any penalty in the last minute of a half that would normally stop the clock.

The Eagles had the ball in Northwestern’s red zone with 14 seconds remaining when the penalty left Boston College with just four seconds to move 24 yards for a touchdown. Senior defensive end Vince Browne brought Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig to the ground on that last play to seal a 24-17 Wildcats victory.

NU had a 24-10 lead before a 10-play, 80-yard drive by Boston College brought the Eagles within a touchdown with just over six minutes remaining. The Cats’ last drive stalled around midfield, when sophomore quarterback Kain Colter was stopped on fourth and one on an option play.

“We get that first down at the end of the game, you take two kneels and call it a day and we didn’t get it done,” coach Fitzgerald said. “They brought in pressure and we just need to get our eyes up and we block the safety coming, (Colter) gets six yards, takes a knee and the games over, but we didn’t.”

The game started out poorly for NU when Boston College tailback Andre Williams busted a 69-yard run down the field to the Cats’ four yard line. The Cats did not panic, however, mustering an impressive goal-line stand to hold the Eagles to a 19-yard field goal.

“Those things happen,” senior cornerback Jordan Mabin said. “One person was out of their gap and they busted it. We focused up and we made them kick a field goal. That was a huge win for the defense.”

The teams traded punts before NU was able to finally get on the scoreboard. Colter, making his first career start at quarterback in place of injured senior quarterback Dan Persa, led the Cats 50 yards on just nine plays.

Colter went 2-of-3 on that drive including a beautiful throw to senior receiver Jeremy Ebert for 17 yards. Colter also used his legs quite a bit, twice turning potential sacks into positive yardage. However, the third time was not the charm as Colter was forced to throw the ball away on third and seven and settle for a 43-yarder from sophomore kicker Jeff Budzien.

The second quarter started off with sloppy play on both sides as the first three drives of the quarter ended in turnovers. Colter fumbled the snap on fourth-and-one from the Boston College 10-yard line and recovered it for no gain. Rettig used the next drive to get the Eagles to NU’s 41, before Mabin picked off Rettig’s pass at the 17. Three plays later, Colter threw behind Ebert and into the hands of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly who took the pass to NU’s two yard line.

Ebert called it “a little miscommunication,” and said that Colter and he talked on the sidelines afterward. Boston College almost wasted its golden opportunity with a false start on second down, but Williams was able to punch it in from six yards out to give the Eagles the 10-3 lead.

The Cats responded to the deficit by producing three touchdown drives in their last seven drives. Colter showed his potential in those three drives going a combined 9-for-9 passing for 113 yards and also running for 27 yards including a three-yard scamper with 38 seconds left in the first half.

“(Colter) presented a lot of difficulties for us,” Kuechly said. “Especially getting outside the pocket, getting some good runs and converting some third-down situations.”

Colter was solid in his quarterbacking debut going 17-for-24 for 197 yards and the one interception. On the ground, Colter was electrifying, escaping pressure in the pocket several times and turning busted plays into positive gains. His best was a first quarter 26-yard run where he juked three defenders and used a key block by a NU wide receiver to spring him down the sidelines. He finished the day with 90 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown.

“You wouldn’t know he is only a second year player,” senior tackle Al Netter said. “He is real confident back there, he is confident in his calls. He is confident giving guys directions. He’s real confident and a good leader back there.”

Colter was not the only Wildcats player who found success on the ground as NU pounded out 227 yards on 54 rushes. The Cats were the first team to grind out 200 yards on the ground against the Eagles’ defense since Virginia Tech in October 2009.

The lone bright spot defensively for Boston College was Kuechly, who was once again in dominating form with 19 tackles, his 23rd consecutive game with 10 or more tackles.

“We were softer than we need to be, or than we’re accustomed to being,” Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said. “We had some mental mistakes out here that hurt us.”

For NU, the defense made giant strides from the end of last season. The Cats held the Eagles to 104 yards rushing on 30 attempts. NU also kept the pressure on the Eagles, notching three sacks and eight tackles-for-loss. A big surprise on NU’s defense was sophomore defensive end Tyler Scott, who beat out senior Kevin Watt for a starting spot. Scott had four tackles and a sack and generally wreaked havoc in the Boston College backfield.

“I’ve been a big fan of Tyler’s since he’s been in high school and it starts with his attitude,” Fitzgerald said. “He knows only one way to operate and that’s give everything he’s got. He’s one of those coach’s dreams from the standpoint that he is low maintenance and he is first to show and last to go. If he can just continue to grow in his confidence from the way he took a step today, the sky’s the limit for him. He’s a big powerful guy who can do a lot of things.”

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Football: Northwestern prevails in the Battle of Chestnut Hill