Nadkarni: Imagining what could have been

Rohan Nadkarni

Many times in life, we are reminded of what could have been. Every day, I think about how my life would be different if I went to a warm weather school with a lax curriculum and bikini weather for nine months out of the year. Instead, I’m at a school focused mainly on rigorous academics, and the closest thing we get to bikinis on the beach is controversial human sexuality demonstrations. (Alright, so that’s not too bad.) But more importantly, the Wildcats’ performance against the Hoosiers last weekend had me reminiscing on how this season could have played out successfully, instead of leading us into the doldrums we are in today.

The offense looked crisp last weekend in Bloomington. Although Dan Persa limps around the field like the grandpa from Hey Arnold, he can still sling the ball with the best of them. Jacob Schmidt ran for over 100 yards. (Actually, I’m still not sure if Jacob Schmidt truly runs. Let’s say instead that Jacob Schmidt produced over 100 yards on the ground.) Either way, the offense was rolling and putting up 59 points is an impressive feat. Drake Dunsmore finally returned to the offense as well, catching four touchdowns after he was seemingly living in exile the past few weeks. Sure, the defense struggled a bit. The tackling was horrendous. I’ve seen better take downs by angry spouses on Cheaters. But against Indiana, there was no collapse, something every Northwestern fan has become all too accustomed to this year. For the first time in what felt like forever, the Cats played a consistent game for a full 60 minutes.

Unfortunately for NU, the only thing in 2011 that ended faster than its season was Kim Kardashian’s marriage. Despite their win over Indiana, the Cats are still in last place in the Legends division, one half game behind a macabre Minnesota squad . Instead of sparking grandiose thoughts about Florida bowl games, NU’s win simply makes fans think of how we slipped up in previous games. Where was Dunsmore against Michigan and Penn State? Why couldn’t the offense keep its foot on the throttle every game of the season?

For Pat Fitzgerald, the team’s rout of the Hoosiers probably made him realize just how much talent this team actually had. The real shame is how this season could very well be a waste of some of the biggest fan favorites to ever play in Evanston. At this season’s end, Dan Persa will make his last patented scramble out of a sack for a big completion, Jeremy Ebert will catch his last bubble screen, and Jeravin Matthews will give up his last big touchdown catch that makes you swear loudly in the NMQ lounge and threaten to transfer to a state school.

Of course, this current season is hardly over, but Michigan State and Nebraska loom as potentially unsurmountable opponents. As a fan, I can think of a lot of plays this year in which our team fell just short. Dan Persa running around without a helmet against Michigan and getting a throw off, before the play was called dead. Jeremy Ebert just dropping a tough over-the-shoulder touchdown catch against Penn State. If only a few plays like that had turned out differently, the Cats could be one of the teams contending for the Legends Division spot in the Big Ten Championship game. Instead, we will always wonder what could have been.

Sports writer Rohan Nadkarni is a Medill freshman. He can be reached at [email protected]