2011 Northwestern Wildcats Football
Northwestern Wildcats vs Eastern Illinois Football Recap
Northwestern 42, Eastern Illinois 21
This wasn’t a featured game of the week. It wasn’t an earth-shaking moment. It wasn’t a defining pivot point in a season, the kind of moment that reshapes a locker room or transforms a mindset amongst a bunch of brothers in helmets and shoulder pads. It was just an ordinary game.
Just the way the Northwestern Wildcats wanted it to be.
This was not a game to dominate, not a game in which to prove a point or make a statement. It was simply a game in which a Big Ten team needed to win with an appreciable degree of comfort yet without needing its star quarterback. In short, one solid and workmanlike no-frills Saturday bought Northwestern a little extra time. The Wildcats gained another week in which they didn’t have to play Dan Persa.
In his second career start, filling in for the injured Persa, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter did what he needed to do, leading the Cats past their overmatched FCS opponent from Eastern Illinois. Colter was an efficient 10-for-13, throwing for 104 yards, and carried 15 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Colter did sit out a series during the third quarter, after a hard hit on his third touchdown run of the afternoon left him with a sore shoulder. However, Colter wasn’t banged up to the point that he couldn’t function. He returned to the game and maintained order for NU, which moved one step closer to bringing Persa back to the gridiron on a Saturday gameday.
The highlight of the afternoon for the Panthers was a 72-yard TD strike from Jimmy Garoppolo to Kenny Whittaker that cut Northwestern’s lead to 14-7 about halfway through the second quarter. Northwestern answered with rushing touchdowns by Colter and Treyvon Green to take a 28-7 halftime lead.
Green would finish with 70 yards on 14 carries. Fullback Jacob Schmidt carried eleven times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Adonis Smith carried 17 times for 55 yards, but left the game with a leg injury and was on crutches after the game.
Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian completed two of his three pass attempts, including a one-yard fourth-quarter touchdown toss to Tyris Jones. Garoppolo completed 14 of 25 passes for 209 yards to lead Eastern Illinois. That entirely solid stat line included the long touchdown to Whittaker. Panthers running back A.J. Woodson had 14 carries for 49 yards. Freshman running back Jimmy Lera had a 76-yard run, the Panthers’ longest play from scrimmage, in the final minute, to set up the final touchdown of the game, a three-yard run by Taylor Duncan with seven seconds to play.
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