Halftime reaction: Northwestern 10, Wisconsin 0


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior superback Dan Vitale reigns in a Trevor Siemian pass for Northwestern’s only touchdown of the first half.

Zach Moore, Reporter

Northwestern ​played physical at the point of attack​.​

Other than a 58-yard run by No. 17 Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon in the first quarter, the NU defense contained the Badgers’ rushing attack. The defense line was able to get pressure on Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mc​Ev​oy.

The big play of the first quarter occurred when junior Max Chapman put a hit on McEvoy as he released the ball, causing a wobbly pass. The ball hung in the air and was intercepted in the end zone by redshirt freshman safety Godwin Igwebuike.

Igwebuike was all over the field in his first career start, laying hard hits and timely tackles getting the defense off the field on third down.

Following the interception, NU drove down the field into the redzone. The offense stalled on the six yard line. However, the Cats came away with the first points of the game going up 3-0 thanks to a 22-yard field goal by Jack Mitchell.

NU’s offense moved the ball well with a balanced playcalling. Senior quarterback Trevor Siemian took some shots down the field, keeping the Wisconsin defense honest. This created running lanes for freshman running back Justin Jackson, who carried 16 times for 82 yards in the half.

The Cats’ special teams had an impact in the half. Punter Chris Gradone pinned the Badgers inside their own 10-yard line twice.

Siemian led the Cats down the field at the end of the second quarter, putting together an impressive 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a​n NU​ touchdown. The key play of the drive came on a risky call by Coach​ Pat​ Fitzgerald in the red zone on fourth and four. The drive was capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass from Siemian to junior superback Dan Vitale.

NU controlled the time of possession in the first half — possessing the ball for 17:58 compared to Wisconsin’s 12:02 — and it paid off handsomely.

The half ended with a bang for the Cats, as Xavier Washington and Collin Ellis combined to sack Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, who replaced McEvoy on the final drive.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Trevor Siemian’s name. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]northwestern.edu

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