Tigers use no-huddle offense in win
Northwestern coach Josh Snyder was happy with his team's 26-0 win over Wilson Friday night, but he could have been happier. His team played well enough to win, but didn't execute as well as he would have liked and certainly didn't play as well as they did in their 43-6 win over Salisbury in week two.
"We always preach that every Friday night should be our best game of the season; that we want to be better than we were the week before and we didn't do that," said head coach Josh Snyder. "We have some things to work on this week, but we still put together a pretty good effort and were able to get a win."
Most of Snyder's concerns with his team weren't with the offense, which finished the night with 369 total yards, with 204 of those yards coming through the ground game, thanks in part to 76 yards rushing from Taylor Breininger. The junior running back carried the ball eight times and scored his first offensive touchdown of the season on a 59-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Junior quarterback Frank Dangello threw for 179 yards and three touchdown passes, including a season long 64-yard strike to Harry Hall that helped Northwestern push its lead to 13-0 in the second quarter. Hall also ran for 65 yards on the night, giving him 129 total yards against Wilson.
"Offensively, we were clicking on all cylinders tonight, in terms of running the ball and a couple screens popped for big plays. We got the ball to our speed guys and they did the rest," said Snyder. "We shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties that were questionable, in my opinion, but we threw the ball well when we had to and our playmakers did a nice job for us."
The defense handled the Warriors offense and sacked Wilson quarterback Michael Glovas four times. Snyder managed the clock well late in the first half and his defense stopped a Wilson drive to give the Tigers the ball back with two minutes on the clock. Northwestern picked up a first down and then decided to go for a game-breaker, which was Dangello's toss to Hall in the final minute of the first-half.
Wilson was held to 169 yards of total offense, 45 yards of which came when quarterback Michael Glovas hit Izayah Johnson early in the game, but the Warriors couldn't capitalize as the Tigers defense stiffened to stop the Wilson drive.
"When you look at the scoreboard and it says 26-0, you're pretty happy about your defensive effort. We sort of played the bend, but don't break defense tonight and that's not our style. We strive for stops. We left our offense with some long drives tonight, but they were able to convert," said Snyder.
Northwestern got the ball to start the second half and wasted no time in getting on the board again. Breininger sprinted through the middle of the Wilson defense for his touchdown run, giving Northwestern scores on back-to-back offensive plays.
Northwestern capped the scoring when Dangello again hit Richardson, this time for 16 yards, to put the Tigers up 26-0 after Brandon Miller nailed the extra point.
One wrinkle was the use of a no-huddle offense throughout the game, something that was just added to the Tigers' scheme this week.
"We put a little package together tonight, playing against a 4-3 team," said Snyder. "We felt like we could see from up top and coach [Dave] Kerschner, our line coach, and we could see where guys were and it worked out pretty well. We may add to it or change it up a little for next week, we'll have to see what happens."
With the loss, Wilson falls to 0-3 on the season. Northwestern is 2-1 and travels to Southern Lehigh next Friday night to take on the Spartans, who are also 2-1 after pounding Bangor 47-6 last night.
The game will present a strong test for Northwestern as they look to slow down a Southern Lehigh offense that has put 131 points on the board in three games, while allowing just 68 points on the season.