Northwestern first fielded a football team in 1876. The program wouldn't adopt the name Wildcats until 1924. The Wildcats were ranked #1 during the 1936 and 1962 seasons, a feat they haven't managed since. Northwestern does manage, however, to graduate an impressive percentage of their athletes, and have managed to develop talented players that have gone on to have stellar NFL careers such as Napoleon Harris, Luis Castillo, and Steve Tasker. Score with TicketCity - the place to go for Northwestern Wildcats football tickets.
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2017 Northwestern Season Preview
The Northwestern Wildcats started the 2015 season off winning their first 5 games, and then ended the season with an impressive 10-3 record. Coming into the 2016 season, head coach Pat Fitzgerald will have a lot of work to do to maintain the success the Wildcats achieved last season. Quarterback Clayton Thorson will be starting his second year leading the offensive team. A key to a winning season will be for the offense to lean on star running back Justin Jackson, who had 2,605 rushing yards in his first two seasons. Northwestern defense should be able to maintain its status as one of the best in the Big Ten with strong recruiting to replace Deonte Gibson and Dean Lowry. The 2016 schedule for the Wildcats will be tougher this season and they will be playing important games against Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa all in October.
Northwestern Wildcats Football at Ryan Field Address: 1501 Central St, Evanston, Illinois, 60201
The Northwestern Wildcats play their home games at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. Opened in 1926, the stadium holds just under 50,000 spectators. Who could forget the double overtime game in 2004 against then #6 Ohio State at Ryan Field, when the Wildcats managed to pull off the upset? The Northwestern Wildcats home bench is on the Ryan Field sideline with sections 122-136. Ryan Field parking information is covered in our Wildcats event guide.
Northwestern vs. Illinois
This state of Illinois rivalry was once played for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk, but that ended in 2008 when the NCAA mandated Native American imagery be removed from competition. Northwestern won the last game, so they got to keep it, but now the Land of Lincoln trophy goes back and forth as each team wins the game. Northwester leads the all-time series, and it really isn’t even close.
Northwestern in the College Football Playoff, Bowl Games, and Big Ten Championship
From 1995 to 2011 the Wildcats suffered nine straight bowl game losses but reversed the trend in 2012 with a win in the Gator Bowl over Mississippi State. The Wildcats struggled mightily from 1970-1990 but have bounced back quite impressively in recent history, conquering the Big Ten Conference Championship three times since 1995. Ticketcity offers tickets to all college football bowl games and the Big Ten Championship Game.
2015 Northwestern Football Preview
Northwestern had a season of up and downs last year, which included beating Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin. The Wildcats will look to build on that momentum in 2015, but will have to rely on group of inexperienced quarterbacks to get them there. Northwestern will likely rely heavily on sophomore running back Justin Jackson, who rushed for over 1100 yards as a freshman, and is one of the best returning backs in the Big Ten. As always, Northwestern will have to navigate a difficult Big Ten West division schedule, but should be able to pull out a number of other big wins this season. Top games for the 2015 Northwestern Wildcats will be against Stanford, Iowa, and Penn State.
2014 Northwestern Football Preview
The Wildcats come into the 2014 season with a number of question marks. Most notably at the quarterback position. Gone is athletic leader Kain Colter, who had been the focal point of much of Northwestern’s success over the past two seasons. He is replaced with Trevor Siemian, who has received high praise from teammates, but is still unproven. Pat Fitzgerald is in his 8th season as head coach and saw the Wildcats rise up ranks of the Big 10 in 2012, only to fall flat in 2013. A veteran group of skill position players anchored by senior running back Treyvon Green will try to return the Cats to their 2012 success. Games to look forward to on Northwestern’s schedule include at Penn State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
2013 Northwestern Football Preview
Fresh off a 10-win season, the Northwestern Wildcats are hoping to make 2012 the norm and not the exception. Pat Fitzgerald continues to do a solid job as the leader of the Wildcats. Northwestern has now been to a bowl game for five consecutive seasons. The Wildcats’ defense applied more pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and with great success last year and will look to continue that in 2013. As for the offense, many of the key contributors return including senior running back Venric Mark. Mark rushed for over 1,300 yards with 12 touchdowns and was a presence in the receiving game with 20 catches. Fitzgerald will probably still use a 2-quarterback system with Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian sharing the duties. Northwestern will welcome Ohio State and Michigan to Evanston while traveling to Wisconsin and Nebraska in 2013.
2011 Northwestern Football Preview
Northwestern is coming off an extremely up-and-down season last year, and one that saw it compete in the first ever TicketCity Bowl. After starting 5-0, the Wildcats finished 7-6, and despite showing flashes of greatness, left a lot of fans puzzled. With coach Pat Fitzgerald back at the helm and many starters returning, fans are likely hoping to take things to the next level.
Dan Persa, who showed considerable efficiency last season, will be back under center for the Wildcats, but it remains to be seen if he will be surrounded by enough talent to really jump start the offense. In the backfield, Mike Trumpy may be the go-to option as he established himself as a reliable runner last season. As for the other skill positions, Jeremy Ebert will be the go-to option at wide receiver as he is coming off a stellar campaign in which he caught 62 passes going for 8 touchdowns last season.
On defense, Northwestern is returning seven starters, but the four that they graduated will leave a big hole. However, that's not to say there aren't plenty of reliable options on the Wildcat defense. Most notably, senior defensive end Vince Browne is back after a stellar junior campaign. Strong safety Brian Peters will be back as well after leading the team in tackles and interceptions last season.
2010 Northwestern Football Preview
Last year, Northwestern had one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. Coach Pat Fitzgerald led the Wildcats to an 8-5 finish that ended in a tough overtime loss to Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Northwestern's success in 2009 was largely due to the success of quarterback Mike Kafka, who Fitzgerald lost to graduation. It will be up to junior quarterback Dan Persa to fill his shoes, but it certainly won't be easy as Kafka threw for over 3,300 yards last season. However, Persa will have a strong offensive line, led by junior Al Netter, to protect him.
The defense has an outstanding linebacker corp led by seniors Quentin Davie and Nate Williams that should make up for a less-than-stellar secondary. The defensive line should play well, especially senior tackle Corbin Bryant.
Northwestern has won a combined 17 games the past two seasons, which is certainly the most success the team has seen in quite some time. Maintaining the level of wins is the goal, but it will be tough with a gaping hole in the quarterback play. Hopefully for the Wildcats, the absence of Ohio State and Michigan on the schedule will help.
2009 Northwestern Football Preview
2009 marks the 4th season in Evanston for Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has brought energy to the Wildcats football program and their fans hope this season is the year they break through in a big way in the always tough Big 10 Conference. To have huge success Northwestern will have to take care of business at Ryan Field and also win a few big conference road games.
2008 Northwestern Football Preview
The Northwestern University Wildcats football team has proven itself to be a perennial underdog, and an exciting one to watch every year. Whether it's posting a record losing streak, or playing in close exciting games, or making a big turnaround and becoming a Big Ten contender, Northwestern has done it all over the years. After the tragic passing of Randy Walker, new head coach Pat Fitzgerald managed to lead the tem to a solid .500 season in 2007 and will expect to improve on that next year.