Why Northwestern Will Win The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
– It’s done with a little bit of smoke and a few mirrors, but the Northwestern run defense has been fantastic all year long. Purdue ran for 202 yards in the opener, and Nebraska ripped off 231 yards. That’s it for the teams that hit the 200-yard mark – the Wildcats won both games – including games against Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Michigan. The Utah passing attack is okay, but it needs to grind out the running game to keep things moving.
– Turnovers might be a problem at times, and the Cats aren’t great when it comes to turnover margin, but they don’t get hit with the little issues. It’s the least-penalized team in the country, getting flagged fewer than three times per game – just 37 times overall – for 26 yards. For a team that struggles a bit to move the offense, it doesn’t take steps back.
– The Cats aren’t going to give away fumbles. QB Clayton Thorson might throw a few picks here and there as he tries forcing things with the offense, but the team has only given up three fumbles on the year. There was one against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, and that was about it. Even Thorson is relatively stingy with the mistakes at times, going three of the last four pre-Big Ten championship games without giving up an interception.