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Preview: Northwestern vs Eastern Illinois University

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Northwestern hosts FCS foe Eastern Illinois

Last week Northwestern hosted #18 Stanford, and fortunately for all of us who bleed purple Northwestern soundly defeated #18 Stanford 16-6! Redshirt freshman QB Clayton Thorson was electrifying in his debut with 105 yards passing and 68 yards rushing with a touchdown. Sophomore running back Justin Jackson had with 28 carries for 134 yards. The Wildcat defense led by Anthony Walker limited Stanford to 240 yards of total offense and 0 touchdowns, as Stanford only completed 3-15 third down attempts. Senior defensive end Dean Lowry basically lived in Stanford's backfield with 8 tackles for loss, three sacks, and 5 QB hurries.

Stanford v Northwestern Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This week Northwestern hosts the Panthers from Eastern Illinois University in only their second trip to Evanston. Their last trip to Northwestern resulted on Sept 10th, 2011 resulted in a 42-21 Northwestern victory. EIU is the alma mater of Jimmy Garrapolo and Tony Romo, but unfortunately for them they do not have any more eligibility left

EIU Last Season and This Season

The guys at InsideNU as always have the scoop. I'll let them expand on it:

After a historic 12-2 season in 2013 which saw quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo dominate the Ohio Valley Conference and entire FCS, Eastern Illinois came back to earth in 2014 in the first year of coach Kim Dameron's tenure. Former coach, Dino Babers, left for Bowling Green the summer before and Garoppolo went on to the New England Patriots, so EIU was left to pick up the pieces. That led to a rough 5-7 campaign without a postseason appearance just one year after the Panthers won their first FCS playoff game since 1989. But, there some bright spots amid the losing as quarterback Jalen Whitlow emerged as a big playmaker while senior wide receiver Adam Drake accumulated over 1200 receiving yards.

Northwestern Offense vs EIU Defense

Expect NU's O-Line to give plenty of time to Clayton Thorson to make throws to Christian Jones, Dan Vitale and Miles Shuler. Justin Jackson should have another big day rushing.

Last week Pat Fitzgerald was *not* happy with the performance of NU's offense. As always, here's the quote from InsideNU:

Fitzgerald was especially displeased with the offense. "We've got a long way to go," he said. "We've got a long, long way to go offensively.

"I thought we had too many one-man breakdowns that left a lot of yards and a lot of opportunity out there."

The biggest issues, according to Fitzgerald, were on the offensive line. "They were very average," he said of the unit. "We've got a long way to go there. Very inconsistent. I thought our body language at times was very poor."

"When we started going with some tempo, the last group to get lined up was the o-line. The last group to make a call was the o-line. The last group to do what was right was the o-line. That's not acceptable. They've got a lot of work to do. They are far, far from being a finished product."

Northwestern Defense vs EIU Offense

DE Dean Lowry should live in EIU's backfield with Anthony Walker and Ifeadi Odenigbo and all of them should make life miserable for EIU QB Jalen Whitlow and RB Jerron Seymour.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Special Teams

Miles Shuler will do a good job returning punts, and Solomon Vault will do a good job returning kickoffs. Jack Mitchell will continue to be a good kicker.


This game should get out of hand fairly quickly, and Northwestern should be able to play a lot of the reserves.


Retro Program Analysis

This is a custom one, exhibiting a catfight. Sadly, EIU comes into this fight declawed since Romo and Garrapolo don't play for the Panthers anymore.