The Wildcats seemed to live on the edge last season, using some of their nine lives to secure an upset or two. The team ranked 99th in scoring (24.2 PPG), while they were 41st in defensive points (23.2 PPG). That left little room for error. Overall, Northwestern ranked 107th in total offensive yards (354.3 PG), while averaging 114.9 YPG on the ground (119th) and 239.4 YPG in the air (58th). The D allowed opponents 390.9 YPG in total yards (64th). They were tough versus the rush, earning a ranking of 26th (129.6 YPG) and weak versus the pass, giving up 261.2 YPG (109th).
Northwestern Wildcats Preview 2019 – Offense
Four of the team’s top six pass catchers return, with three having caught a minimum of 20 passes last season. Senior wideout Bennett Skowronek (45 REC, 12.5 AVG, 3 TDs) is the top returning receiver. Juniors Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman (20 REC, 11.9 AVG, 0 TDs) and Riley Lees (22 REC, 9.7 AVG, 3 TDs) help fill out the unit. The Wildcats do not have a thousand-yard rusher. Isaiah Bowser (866 YDs, 4.4 AVG, 6 TDs) and John Moten (204 YDs, 4.4 AVG, 3 TDs) will be the running tandem. Bowser led all Wildcat runners in yards gained and touchdowns.
Defense and Special Teams
Junior placekicker Charlie Kuhbander (28-28 XP, 5-9 FG) struggled last season due to injury. He’s healthy and should put up some decent numbers. Premium punter Jake Collins will be replaced by sophomore Cody Gronewood. He’s expected to come in and perform well. Kyric McGowan (13 RT, 24.1 AVG, 0 TDs) did a fine job on kick returns, while Lees (20 RT, 5.4 AVG, 0 TDs) struggled on punt bring backs.
Coaching and Recruitment
Pat Fitzgerald (96-70 Northwestern and Overall), who starts his 14th season with the Wildcats, earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year award last year. Mick McCall, formerly with Bowling Green, starts his 12th season as Northwestern’s offensive coordinator. DC Mike Hankwitz also starts his 12th year with the Cats. This is a solid coaching group. This Northwestern Wildcats Preview 2019 notes that the team brings in 19 new players, all of whom are three-star recruits. In recruiting for 2019, the Wildcats are ranked 12th in the Big Ten.
Our Northwestern Wildcats Preview 2019 – Final Word
Our Northwestern Wildcats Preview 2019 wonders how this team will do in 2019? We don’t expect them to repeat their feats from last season. They open their season away against a tough Stanford team. Then in late September into early October, they host Michigan State and are away at Wisconsin and Nebraska. Ohio State and Iowa are also in October. The last five games of the season, which includes Indiana, Purdue, and Massachusetts, are less intimidating. If the Wildcats survive October, they’ll virtually be home free.