It is halftime here at Ryan Field as Northwestern heads to the locker room with a 17-0 lead. It is a strong bounce back performance following the loss to Duke as the Wildcats look to improve to 2-2 on the season. Read below to get the main takeaways from the first half of action and what to expect in the second half.
Take advantage of turnovers.
It is no secret that the Northwestern defense has struggled to get off the field at times this season, allowing points in bunches against Duke and Michigan State. However, they have caused some timely turnovers when they needed to. On the other side of the ball though, the Wildcats' offense would then struggle to score. That was not the case early in the first as the Wildcat defense forced a fumble, which would eventually lead to a 17-yard rushing touchdown for running back Evan Hull. Good things will happen when you points on the board following a turnover.
Seriously, feed Evan Hull.
125 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. That would be a solid final stat line for any running back on any given Saturday. For Evan Hull? That was just his stat line at the end of the first quarter. Hull was unstoppable to start the game, including a 90-yard touchdown run that would put Northwestern up 14-0 after the first quarter. Hull finished the half with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and will look to continue his momentum into the second half.
No slow start today.
Slow starts have plagued Northwestern to start the season, falling behind and putting themselves in big holes against both Duke and Michigan State. That was not the case to start the game today though as both sides of the ball came out ready to play. The defense gave up some early third down conversions but stiffened up and got off the field, including a forced fumble. Offensively, Northwestern was led by Hull as he carried the Wildcat offense to put them up 14-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Defense bounces back in strong fashion.
The Wildcat defense appeared to be on track for another iffy performance, as the Ohio offense drove down the field on their opening drive, going 61 yards in 13 plays before ultimately missing their field goal attempt. Since the opening drive the Northwestern defense has been lights out, allowing only 178 yards of total offense and pitching a first half shutout.
Don't let off the gas in the second half
The Northwestern offense has been absolutely rolling in the first half, racking up 178 yards of total offense. and going into the locker room with a 17-0 lead Instead of going conservative and playing safe to start the second half, the Wildcats should pour it on to build momentum and gain confidence as they get ready to enter the grind of conference play.
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