Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Scratching out Points No Problem for 'Cats, IU

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Scratching out Points No Problem for 'Cats, IU

Article excerpt

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald realizes Saturday's football game against Indiana University projects to be another high-scoring affair. He's hoping the numbers are wrong. "I'm a defensive guy, so a 2-0 win would be great," said Fitzgerald on Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference.

That's not likely, The two teams combined for 97 points last season in the Wildcats' 59-38 win.

This season Indiana (2-1) has the conference's fourth-best scoring offense at 36.0 points per game and the league's No. 1 passing attack at 326.0 yards per game, which ranks No. 13 nationally. Unbeaten Northwestern (4-0) is No. 5 in scoring offense at 31.2 points per game and has the thirdbest rushing attack at 221.2 yards per game.

Meanwhile, both rank in the bottom five in the Big Ten in scoring defense and total defense. Northwestern is allowing 367.5 yards per game (11th) and 18.5 points (7th). Indiana is 10th in total defense (363.7) and scoring defense (21.3).

"I've been in a lot of games that were going to be high scoring and they ended up being 17-14," said IU head coach Kevin Wilson about Saturday's 11 a.m. road game that will be televised by BTN. "Our defense needs to rise to the occasion."

From watching film, Fitzgerald said it's obvious the Hoosiers have gotten better defensively in the past year.

"They are being very aggressive from the standpoint of being physical at the point of the attack," said Fitzgerald. "They do a terrific job of scheming what you do, kind of taking away your right hand to make you play left handed."

The telling difference between the two teams may be the way each has prepared for Big Ten competition.

Indiana's two wins came against FCS schools Indiana State (24- 17) and Massachusetts (45-6). Then before taking a week off the Hoosiers lost a highscoring duel, falling 41-39 to Ball State.

Of Northwestern's four victories, three have come against teams from BCS conferences - Syracuse (42-41), Vanderbilt (23-13) and Boston College (22-13).

With Wisconsin struggling for answers on offense, Purdue's chances of reaching the Big Ten Championship game are looking more and more favorable. …

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