Halftime reaction: Northwestern 0, Michigan 0


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman quarterback Matt Alviti made his Northwestern debut Saturday. Alviti carried three times for -2 yards in the Wildcats’ scoreless first half against Michigan.

Bobby Pillote, Assistant Sports Editor

Even after a drubbing at the hands of Iowa last week, Northwestern hasn’t given up on its season.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Alviti made his Wildcats debut, spelling maligned senior Trevor Siemian for several plays with a special option running package.

It isn’t the full changeover many fans have been clamoring for, but it was a sign of life for an offense that has been ineffective all season. Siemian’s struggles continued as the senior completed 13 of 20 passes for 119 yards and two interceptions.

Offensive coordinator Mick McCall also introduced two new formations: a pistol with Siemian and freshman running back Justin Jackson and a split-back look with Siemian, Jackson and sophomore running back Warren Long. NU didn’t get on the board but looked improved by gaining 128 total yards.

On the other side of the ball the defense seemed revitalized, buoyed by the return of senior safety Ibraheim Campbell from a hamstring injury, and did a good job containing a Michigan offense that scored 34 points a week ago. The Wolverines managed just 107 yards in the first half and had a costly interception in the red zone at the end of the second quarter.

NU’s special teams had a mixed performance, with the punting and punt-returning games once again struggling. The Wolverines had consistently better starting field position than the Cats, but NU managed to keep the game scoreless by blocking a field goal at the end of the half.

Facing a tough matchup at Notre Dame next week, the Cats need a win to keep any realistic bowl hopes alive. NU has put itself in decent position, but the offense needs to finish drives and the defense needs to hold the line.

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