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2013 Opponent Review: Northwestern Wildcats

Going back to check on how Michigan's opponents did in 2013, who is coming back for that program, and checking to see if they're on the schedule in 2014.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

There were some high expectations for the Wildcats going into 2013, buuuuuuuut things didn't go quite as well as fans had hoped.

How They Did

Date Opponent Result
8/31 @ Cal W 44-30
9/7 Syracuse W 48-27
9/14 Western Michigan W 38-17
9/21 Maine W 35-21
10/5 Ohio State L 40-30
10/12 @ Wisconsin L 35-6
10/19 Minnesota L 20-17
10/26 @ Iowa L 17-10 OT
11/2 @ Nebraska L 27-24
11/16 Michigan L 27-19 3OT
11/23 Michigan State L 30-6
11/30 @ Illinois W 37-34

So the Wildcats started out "hot", the B1G season started, and then Northwestern fell apart. Well, they did beat Illinois. Congratulations!

Versus Michigan: Trevor Siemian was the leading passer for Northwestern, with 159 yards on 20 attempts, and no TDs. Kain Colter and Mike Trumpy were the leaders on the ground, combining for 120 yards on 30 carries. Colter scored the lone touchdown in regulation for the Wildcats, otherwise it was a field goal fest until overtime. Although Siemian had opportunities to win the game, Michigan's Jibreel Black and Thomas Gordon used a sack and INT to seal the win for the Wolverines.

When Michigan had the ball: this wasn't the game winner, but it's all you need to know...

Derrick Green found some positive yards on the ground for Michigan, and put together a 79 yard day; the team put up 137 total yards rushing. Devin Gardner had a good day with 226 yards, 1 TD, and thankfully 0 INTS. The game belongs to the leg of Brendan Gibbons, though.

Best Win: I guess it would have to be Syracuse. The Orange finished the season at 7-6 after beating the Golden Gophers in the Texas Bowl, but other than the 8-5 Gophers, Syracuse hadn't beaten anyone with greater than 7 wins. Way to go on beating Wagner, though; good job. Between Northwestern and Syracuse, though, the Wildcats put together a 581 yard performance on the arm of Trevor Siemian and his 259 yards and 3 TDs. The Fightin' Fitzgeralds also gained 206 yards on the ground. Defensively, Northwestern was able to take the ball away from Syracuse four times and score 17 points off of three of those turnovers.

Worst Loss: all of them. The Wildcats lost seven games in a row to legitimately good teams (yeah, I'll say that Michigan was a good team when they met up), but other than Wisconsin and Michigan State, Northwestern had a chance in all of the other games. They had a lead against an Ohio State program that was going to the BCS Championship until they met the Spartans; they took the Hawkeyes to OT, and then were up on Nebraska until a painful Hail Mary loss as time ran out.

The fact that they could not take advantage of anyone in those close games was just pathetic, and if you can find a Northwestern fan out there who would disagree with me, I'll give you $1 billion dollars.*

* Offer not valid in MN, VT, MT...actually, it isn't valid anywhere, so please don't try to find anyone who would disagree with me.

Outlook for 2014

Trevor Siemian will be returning for his senior season at the quarterback position, but will he have anyone to catch his passes? He'll still have Treyvon Green running and catching out of the backfield, and the Joneses (Christian and Tony) at the wide receiver position. Green was the team's leading rusher in 2013 with 736 yards and 8 TDs. But losing Venric Mark, Mike Trumpy and Kain Colter is a ton of production to give up, and I don't know who is going to pick up that slack...not that they were much of a running team, anyway. Did Northwestern have a defense? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Do they play Michigan in 2014?

Yes. Michigan will return to Evanston on November 8 to see if they can work some more magic. Okay, that magic part isn't true; the Wolverines are going to go to Evanston in the hopes of putting the Wildcats away early and comfortably under Doug Nussmeier's brilliant coordinating.