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Northwestern Wildcats season opener preview vs Nevada

College football is back this Saturday in Evanston as the Wildcats host the Nevada Wolf Pack in the season opener at 2:30 CT.  Game will air on the Big Ten Network and WGN Radio.

Jay Norvell is the first year head coach for the Wolfpack.  Nevada had parted ways with former head coach Brian Polian after the end of last season.  Their record under Polian was 23-27 dating back to the start of the 2013 season.  For Norvell this will be the first time he’s the head coach of a team.  For most of his coaching career which has spanned different universities since 1986, he has mostly been a wide receivers coach.  In 1986-87 he was mostly a graduate assistant with Iowa

The Wolf Pack record last season was 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Mountain Western Conference.

As for predictions, the Wolf Pack are expected to finish last in the West Division of their conference.

The Wildcats are coming off quite a season as they had a couple of big road wins over Iowa and Michigan State.  On December 28th of last year the Cats played the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Pinstriple Bowl at Yankee Stadium winning 31-24.

Austin Carr and Anthony Walker may be gone, but the defense has 9 starters coming back.  Justin Jackson will be the focal point for NU’s offense.  QB Clayton Thorson will also return as he had over 3,000 passing yards and 27 TDs.

This year the Cats will not face Michigan or Ohio State which will be a big plus.

Outlook on the season:  Big Ten is usually full of surprises good or bad.  I believe going forward the Cats will do well this year.  With the returning guys who were a big part of the win over Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl, you figure that they will play better compared to the start of last season.