Tigers must bounce back
If the last two weeks proved anything about Northwestern's football team, it is that the Tigers' season-opening loss had no lingering effect.
This week the team will have to prove that its second loss of the season isn't going to dampen any hopes or expectations.
"We definitely learned from past experience that we are capable of bouncing back and putting a few wins together," said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder. "We said at the beginning of the year that our goal is to play more than 10 games this year. After Friday's game we said the goal is still to play more than 10 games."
To keep that goal within reach, the Tigers need to rebound from last week's loss to Southern Lehigh with a homecoming win over Notre Dame (Green Pond) this Friday night. With some tough games looming in the second half of the season, the Tigers (2-2) need to get back over .500 before facing five straight games against Colonial League North Division opponents.
The upstart Crusaders' only win is over a struggling Palmerton team, but they have played close games with Bangor and Northern Lehigh.
Last Friday Notre Dame played its second straight game without quarterback Kordell Theadford. Receiver Noah Miller filled in at quarterback in a wildcat scheme. He completed just five of 14 passes and threw three interceptions in his first start under center. Miller was also injured for a few weeks before coming back to a new position.
"They designed a lot of runs for him," Snyder said. "If they have another week to prepare with him at quarterback, they will probably be better. We're going to prepare and be ready for both quarterbacks."
On defense Notre Dame usually lines up in a 4-4, but the outside linebackers can walk up to make a 6-man front.
The Tigers will look to keep their offense balanced. If the Crusaders put eight in the box, Northwestern will try to beat them in the passing game.
The Tigers have to be ready for a Notre Dame team that's looking for a win it can hang its hat on. It's win over Palmerton and close losses to Bangor and Northern Lehigh only go so far. What the Crusaders really need is a win over a quality opponent like Northwestern.
"Their coach (Chuck Muller) has done a fine job of turning the program around," said Snyder. "You can see their discipline. They're battling each week into the fourth quarter."
The Tigers, which field a young team that is getting better each week, need another successful bounce back game in order to keep their goals in sight.