Looking at their last 5 games:
- Illinois: A home game against a team that finished 2-7. Final score 24-16. The game was never really in question, going into the half 21-6. Hard to take anything away from this game. Worth noting that Bowser put up 166 yards in this game and the team had 261 yards on the ground, compared to 110 in the air. All in a game where they admit they were playing vanilla and spending time prepping for us.
- @Minnesota: A team that our defense made look like all-stars even though they finished 3-6. NU's D held them to 109 yards rushing. Hell, I'm pretty sure they had 109 yards of rushing against us in the first 3 minutes of our game against them. Bowser didn't have a great game here.
- @Iowa: Beat a 5-4 team 14-10. Not too shabby, but certainly not a high-scoring affair. Bowser again monsters up - 165 yards. Iowa couldn't rush against them, though - 64 total yards for the Hawkeyes.
- ND at home: 31-21 loss. Kind of expected, but they did put up points and Bowser got 93 and Thorson managed to get two rushing TDs.
On the overall, they're putting up yards and doing so with a scrappy little guy. This is the exact thing we've struggled to defend all year long. Fitz is going to look at the games we've played this year, find our defensive weaknesses and exploit the hell out of them. Crossing routes. Getting rushers to the edge. Making our LBs and secondary tackle in space and take good angles.
Offensively, even with them in zone, I think we can simply overwhelm them. Longer sustained drives that get us into the EZ.
This makes for a perfect recipe of suck to watch. We're likely to go into halftime very close, or even down, due to some stupid big plays that should never have happened. By quarter:
- "We've got these guys" is how we'll go in, quickly followed by, "How did Schiano not plan for this crap?!? It's not like everyone hasn't done the same damned thing to us!"
- "Thank you for Haskins and Chrisman, keeping us alive! Here's to hoping for halftime adjustments"
- "Why didn't our D play like this during the first half"
- "Finally, pulling away. I hate it when we let teams hang around like that."
We win by 2 scores after a tight first half.