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Week 4 Depth Chart: Northwestern's Starting Quarterback Remains a Mystery

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald wants his quarterbacks to step up.

Northwestern (1-2) released its depth chart for its Week 4 contest against Ohio (0-3). A major, albeit expected, change to the lineup is at quarterback. The program lists three QB's as potential starters for the Wildcats. You can see how the Wildcats will line up below.

Week 4 Depth Chart

Week 4 Depth Chart

Northwestern fielded three quarterbacks in their most recent contest against Duke: senior Hunter Johnson, senior Andrew Marty, and sophomore Ryan Hilinski.

"I thought [Marty] gave us a spark," Fitzgerald told the press following Saturday's loss. "I'm really proud of him ... The way that he responded was excellent. At the point that he got hurt, we went to Ryan next. Ryan got a limited amount of reps in the game plan. It's hard to get one quarterback ready, let alone three, but I'm proud of the way that he went out there and put some drives together."

Johnson started under center in the Wildcats' first three contests, but stumbled in the Wildcats' most recent contest at Duke. Johnson played the majority of the first half, completing 6-of-16 passes for 75 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions and a sack.

Marty relieved Johnson late in the second quarter in Durham, when the Wildcats trailed the Blue Devils 27-0. In his first drive, Marty completed 3-of-5 passes for 61 yards and capped it off with a touchdown pass to freshman receiver Jacob Gil. Marty threw a second 20-yard touchdown to sophomore tight end Marshall Lang early in the third quarter. Marty rushed for 44 yards and completed 11-of-16 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions before going down on a fumble play with 13:24 remaining in the game. Northwestern announced Marty would not re-enter the game after receiving medical attention for an upper body injury sustained during the fumble play.  

Hilinski replaced Marty in the fourth quarter. Hilinski, a South Carolina transfer, threw three consecutive incomplete passes on his first drive. On his second drive, Hilinski appeared more composed, but time wasn't on Northwestern's side. Hilinski completed 2-of-7 passes for 34 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions.

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Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has not yet announced who will be starting on Saturday against Ohio. Whichever quarterback rises to the challenge and gains the team's confidence throughout practice this week will have the best chance. When asked about how the team can build confidence in the quarterback room, Fitzgerald pinned the responsibility on the players: 

"Our quarterbacks need to do it, right? I mean, it's not rocket science here."

The Wildcats and Bobcats will kick off at Ryan Field at 11:00 am CT on Saturday, September 25. 

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