The college footb…

Sarah Mitchell

The college football season is less than half over, but already Northwestern has accomplished near-impossible feats.
The Wildcats have two Big Ten win and have busted into the nation’s top 25.
After going on the road and winning a pair of conference games against ranked teams, the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) find themselves ranked at No. 22. This is their first national ranking since Sept. 1, 1997.
On Sept. 23, Northwestern upset then-No. 7 Wisconsin 47-44 in double overtime. Over the weekend the Wildcats continued their run, defeating Michigan State 37-17.
“We’ve believed all along we’re a better football team than we’ve played like sometimes,” Wildcats coach Randy Walker said. “I’m proud of the way the players have continued to trust the program and what we’re trying to do and the direction we’re trying to take.”
The string of upsets has allowed Northwestern to keep pace with Michigan (4-1, 2-0) for the Big Ten championship. Heading into this weekend, the two teams share the top spot.
Indiana gets the next chance to bring the Wildcats down on Saturday in Evanston, Illinois.

Only the lonely
Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) is the only remaining conference team with a perfect overall record.
Fresno State, Arizona, Miami (Ohio) and Penn State have all fallen to the No. 8 Buckeyes. Ohio State is coming off a bye-week and travels to Wisconsin this weekend.
The Badgers have dropped their first two conference games for the first time since 1996 — making the stakes high on Saturday.
“This is a big ball game for them and it is a big ball game for us,” Ohio State coach John Cooper said. “If we’re going to remain with Michigan and Northwestern and some of the other undefeated teams in this conference, we have got to go up there and play better than we have had to play against anyone this year.”
The Wolverines, Wildcats and Hoosiers (2-2, 1-0) are the three unbeaten teams in conference play.

Players of the Week
Wildcats running back Damien Anderson and Gophers running back Tellis Redmon shared the Big Ten’s offensive player of the week award.
Anderson rushed for 219 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns against the Spartans Saturday. Prior to the game, the Spartans were allowing their opponents just over 100 rushing yards a game.
Redmon racked up 314 all-purpose yards against Illinois. His mark is the best all-purpose yardage game in the conference this year. Redmon rushed 31 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 116 yards.
Indiana linebacker Justin Smith earned defensive player of the week after helping the Hoosiers defeat Iowa, 45-33. Smith posted a career-high 13 tackles — including six tackles for a loss of 35 yards — four of which were sacks for a total loss of 31 yards.
Michigan placekicker Jeff Del Verne was awarded the special teams honor after kicking the Wolverines to a 13-10 win over Wisconsin.
The senior accounted for seven of his team’s points. Del Verne booted a pair of field goals from 33 yards out and added an extra point.

Sarah Mitchell covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]