Record: 10-3 (5-3 B1G)
Standing: Third place in the Legends Division
Offensive Stat Leaders: Passing: Trevor Siemian - 1,312 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs and Cain Kolter - 872 yards, 8 TDs and 4 INTs... Rushing: Venric Mark - 226 atts., 1,366 yards, 12 TDs and Kolter - 170 atts., 894 yards, 12 TDs.... Receiving: Tony Jones - 29 recs., 335 yards, 4 TDs
2012 was one of the greatest seasons in Northwestern football history. The Wildcats won their first bowl game since the 1948 Rose Bowl and won 10 games for the first time since 1995. While they had almost no passing offense to speak off, the two headed running monster of RB Venric Mark and QB Kain Colter led them to the 19th-best ground attack in the nation. Colter and Seimian also did just enough through the air to keep defenses honest.
The Wildcats started the season 5-0 for the second time in three years and made an appearance at #24 in the polls when arriving in Happy Valley on October 6th. Mark took a punt return 75 yards to the house near the end of the third quarter to give Northwestern an 11-point lead, but Matt McGloin put the offense on his back throwing for a touchdown and running for another in the fourth quarter to lead Penn State to a 39-28 victory. That game also gave us this moment in GIF history.
HEY MCGLOIN, DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!
Northwestern would go on to win four of its next six games, falling only to Nebraska by a single point and a Devin Gardner-led Michigan comeback win in overtime. It's crazy to think that this team was only a few plays away from going undefeated last year. They made the Big Ten proud in the Gator Bowl, though, taking out SEC early-season darling Mississippi State to prove that B1G > SEC*
*This may or may not be a big enough sample size to make this assumption.
A Quick Look Ahead
Recruiting: 247Sports - #52... Rivals - #53... Scout - #47
Way too early prediction: 11-2 (6-2 B1G)
The Wildcats don't really lose anyone of dire importance which is very scary. Luckily, Penn State doesn't play them this year so we don't have to worry about it. California and new coach Sonny Dykes provide a test to start off the season, but if they can get by them, it should be smooth sailing until the Big Ten slate. They get Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State all at home and should be able to win at least two of those games. They have to go to Camp Randall, but who knows how that team will look this year with Bert out of the picture.
I really like this Northwestern team, especially this year and I think they can do amazing things on the field. Have a few breaks go their way this year that didn't go their way last year and, dare I say it, this team could sniff a BCS bowl.
For more Illinois information, head to Sippin' On Purple
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