Kup’s Top 3 Plays from Northwestern vs. Rutgers
By Andrew Kupfer
On Homecoming Saturday, in front of a crowd of current and future alumni at Ryan Field, the Wildcats came up huge with a 21-7 win over Rutgers. Here are my three biggest impact plays of the game that solidified the team’s success:
1. Ryan Hilinski connects with Stephon Robinson Jr.
Ryan Hilinski unloads a DEEP BALL to who else but Stephon Robinson Jr. for a gain of 47 yards. This play put the ‘Cats solidly into Rutgers territory on only the second play from scrimmage. Though Northwestern ended up gaining only one more yard on the drive and missed a 44-yard field goal, this bomb set the tone for Hilinksi and Robinson’s chemistry. Robinson went on to lead the team with 155 yards on five catches, but what’s missing from the stat sheet are two key pass interference draws by Robinson that set the ‘Cats up on the goalline. Northwestern scored on both of those goal-to-go situations. Hilinski and Robinson kept the Rutgers defense on edge and their huge first-quarter connection was the catalyst.
2. Jeremy Meiser takes down Noah Vedral
Jeremy Meiser gets credit for a sack with Bryce Gallagher and Samdup Miller applying pressure in the backfield. This sack occurred on the first drive of the third quarter for Rutgers, setting the tone for how stingy the defense was going to continue to be. Throughout the season, the Rutgers offense has usually gotten better as the game goes on, but as hinted in this play, Northwestern’s defense showed no hints of breaking down. Just like in the Duke game a month ago, Northwestern’s defense allowed no points in the second half. The ‘Cats made some huge plays in the backfield with four sacks and eleven tackles for loss. This Meiser sack closed the door quickly on any hopes the Scarlet Knights had of quickly tying the score.
3. Another Vedral take down: Chris Bergin edition
Chris Bergin makes the biggest tackle of the game. As Rutgers’ Noah Vedral took off to the left sideline on a designed QB run, Bergin sprinted to meet the Knights’ passer at the ten-yard line, three yards short of the first down. Rutgers was in the midst of a five-minute drive toward the Northwestern endzone. On a key third-down play inside of the red zone, Bergin came up huge to force a fourth down. Rutgers would go on to miss a 33-yard field goal after being pushed back for delay of game (shoutout to the NU student section). The Bergin stop on third down stymied the Rutgers drive and stopped the momentum that was going Rutgers’ way.