College Football News Preview 2020: Northwestern Wildcats

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern

College Football News Preview 2020: Northwestern Wildcats

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College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Northwestern Wildcats season with what you need to know.


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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Schedule Analysis
– Northwestern Previews 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2019 Record: 3-9 overall, 1-8 in Big Ten
Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald, 15th year, 99-79
2019 CFN Final Opinion Ranking: 95
2019 CFN Final Season Formula Ranking: 110
2019 CFN Preview Ranking: 47

No one knows what’s going to happen to the 2020 college football season. We’ll take a general look at where each team stands – doing it without spring ball to go by – while crossing our fingers that we’ll all have some well-deserved fun this fall. Hoping you and yours are safe and healthy.

5. College Football News Preview 2020: Northwestern Wildcats Offense 3 Things To Know

It was one of the strangest disasters of the entire 2020 college football season on a national scale. The Northwestern offense, really, really didn’t work, averaging just 297 yards and 16 points per game, scoring 15 points or fewer seven times.

New offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian comes in from Boston College where he was Steve Addazio’s guy for a year, but he has NFL coaching experience. He has a ton of work to do.

The passing game was the least-efficient in the nation, averaging just nine yards per completion with six touchdown passes and 15 picks, averaging a mere 4.5 yards per throw. Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson was ineffective, and hurt. Aidan Smith was ineffective, and hurt. In all, the four quarterbacks thrown into the mix couldn’t get anything going, but junior Andrew Marty was able to lead the way to a win over Illinois to close things out.

Johnson is still the most talented prospect on the roster – he was a huge get for Clemson until that Trevor Lawrence guy showed up – but on the way is Peyton Ramsey, a transfer from Indiana who led the team with 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns with five picks with seven rushing scores. However, when Michael Penix is healthy, he’s IU’s guy – and now Ramsey might be Northwestern’s guy.


CFN in 60 Video: Northwestern Wildcats Preview


Bennett Skowronek took off for Notre Dame, but overall the other top seven wideouts are back. the pieces are there to get this thing going again. The receiving corps didn’t get any help from the spotty quarterback play, but there’s experience returning.

Senior Riley Lees came up with a breakout season with 51 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns, and that was it. The No. 2 target – senior Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman – only caught 17 passes for 188 yards.

For all of the issues on offense, the line wasn’t all that bad. The ground game was decent, the pass protection wasn’t miserable, and the group was decent enough to consider it a plus going into the season with four starters back.

Drake Anderson was a relative positive, leading the team in rushing in his freshman season with 634 yards and three scores, and Evan Hull led the way scored four times and was second on the team with just 286 yards. Throw in the return of Isaiah Bowser – 2018’s leading rusher with 866 yards and six scores, but got hurt last year – and the backfield is set.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Northwestern Wildcats Defense 3 Things To Know

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