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Northwestern 2017 Cocktail Party

Let’s talk about the Wildcats

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh
We won another bowl game!
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to 2017 Northwestern week on OffTackleEmpire. MNWildcat and I are here to tell you all about Chicago’s Big Ten Team! Plop down on a chair at the yacht club and enjoy a purple-colored cocktail or a Goose Island or Revolution Brewing beer and let’s talk about the Cats.

About Last Season

We won a bowl game for the third time in school history (against the Pittsburgh Panthers), and were only one of three big ten teams to win a bowl game (/casts side eye at rest of conference).

We retained the Land of Lincoln trophy over hapless Illinois, curbstomped Michigan State for the first time in probably a decade.

We also lost to Illinois State and PJ Fleck-coached Western Michigan, causing inexplicable consumption of Malort and tons of consternation of Northwestern fans all across the nation.

We took Ohio State to the wall and really should of beat them for the first time since 2004. Dammit.

Losing to Nebraska and Minnesota stunk.


Northwestern returns QB Clayton Thorson, who had a 2016 campaign that our friends from InsideNU will sum up:

280 for 478 (58.58 completion percentage), 3182 yards, 22 touchdowns, nine interceptions; 97 rushes for 98 yards, five touchdowns

Justin Jackson THE BALL CARRIER™® returns for his senior season after a 2016 season putting up 1524 yards on 198 carries for 5.1 yards an attempt. He currently has 4129 career rushing yards, good for second place amongst all NU running backs. He only needs 356 yards to surpass Damien Anderson to be the all-time leading NU running back and will most likely climb into the top ten all-time Big Ten rushers by the time the season is done. If you want to shut down NU, starting with shutting down JJ is a good start. Good luck.

WR (and walkon) Austin Carr departs a season comprised of 1247 yards, 90 catches, and 12 touchdowns. Flynn Nagel will lead the WR corps for 2017 with Jalen Brown and Bennet Skowornek.

Garrett Dickerson had four touchdowns as a Superback (TE).

Northwestern only had to place Eric Olson on the OL, and the line comprised of Tommy Doles, Brad North, JB Butler, Connor Mahoney and Blake Hance should be better next year.


Northwestern loses Ifeadi Odegnibo, CJ Robbins and Xavier Washington ED NOTE: Washington suspended indefinitely for cocaine possession on the defensive line and returns Joe Gaziano, and Tyler Lancaster. Gaziano had a very good freshman season.

Anthony Walker Jr heads to the NFL (a very rare NU early NFL draft entry, I think the last ones were Hudhaifa Ismaeli or Darnell Autry) and Jaylen Prater to graduation, leaving Nate Hall, Brett Walsh and Nathan Fox, amongst others to step up for 2017.

Montre Hartage, Trae Williams, Marcus McShephard, Godwin Igwebuike, and Kyle Quiero (of the monster one handed catch off of Indiana QB Richard Lagow) return for 2017

Special Teams

Northwestern loses Solomon Vault to a lower body injury (no pun intended: this hurts), and K Jack Mitchell to graduation. It looks like Flynn Nagel will handle punt returns with Jelani Roberts returning kicks and Hunter Niswander punting and probably Charlie Kuhbander kicking.


Pat Fitzgerald signed a ten year contract extension!

As usual, Pat Fitzgerald (the all-time winningest coach in NU history btw) has not changed his coaching staff for yet another year. Here’s the thing: when a particular side of the team is doing poorly, most Northwestern fans call for that respective coaches firing. I used to be quite harsh on DB Coach Jerry Brown in the past, but as they’ve recruited better players, my criticism has turned to praise.

I’m flabbergasted that OL coach Adam Cushing and OC Mick McCall still have jobs, especially after the Illinois State debacle.

Northwestern 2017 Schedule

Date Opponent
Date Opponent
Sep. 2 Nevada Wolf Pack
Sep. 9 at Duke Blue Devils
Sep. 16 Bowling Green Falcons
Sep. 23 OFF
Sep. 30 at Wisconsin Badgers
Oct. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions (HC)
Oct. 14 at Maryland Terrapins
Oct. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes
Oct. 28 Michigan State Spartans
Nov. 4 at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nov. 11 Purdue Boilermakers
Nov. 18 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Nov. 25 at Illinois Fighting Illini
Dec. 2 Big Ten Championship Game

When Talking to a Wildcats Fan, Don’t Mention:

Losing to Illinois State, Western Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, the fact that Cushing and McCall still have jobs, not enough NU fans in the stands. Xavier Washington’s arrest.

Do Mention:

HAT! HAT! Being one of three teams to win a bowl last year, our new lakefront facilities, Justin Jackson the Ball Carrier, Clayton Thorson getting better, tailgating on Lake Michigan, we’re Chicago’s Big Ten team, beating Illinois in recruiting, high APR scores, Trevor Siemian starting in the NFL, having a 20 year win streak against Notre Dame (its two games, shut up, beating Notre Dame is sweet). Also curbstomping Michigan State (man, that was sweet). Under Armour is also doing an amazing job outfitting us.


Monday: Cocktail Party (you are here)

Tuesday: Pat Fitzgerald is Teflon

Wednesday: Northwestern Traditions and New Facilities

Thursday: Northwestern is probably better than your team.


Potlucks everyday


How many wins will Northwestern get this year?

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166 votes total Vote Now