Northwestern's goal is to play better each week than they did the week before. The bad news is that they didn't play as well last night as they did last week against Salisbury. The good news is that they still played well enough to beat Wilson 26-0 to up their season record to 2-1.
"We always preach that every Friday night should be our best game of the season; that we want to be better than we were the week before and we didn't do that tonight," said head coach Josh Snyder. "We have some things to work on this week, but we still put together a pretty good effort and were able to get a win."
The Tigers picked up 369 yards of total offense, with 204 of those yards coming through their ground game, thanks in part to 76 yards rushing from Taylor Breininger. The junior running back carried the ball eight times and scored his first offensive touchdown of the season on a 59-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Breininger's dash gave Northwestern a commanding 19-0 lead.
Junior quarterback Frank Dangello threw for 179 yards and three touchdown passes, including a season long 64-yard strike to Harry Hall that helped Northwestern push their lead to 13-0 in the second quarter. Hall also ran for 65 yards on the night, giving him 129 total yards against Wilson.
"Offensively, we were clicking on all cylinders tonight, in terms of running the ball and a couple screens popped for big plays. We got the ball to our speed guys and they did the rest," said Snyder.
Defensively, the Tigers shut down the Warriors offense, thanks in part to four sacks and a key stop of a Wilson drive late in the second quarter. Thanks to their use of timeouts, the Tigers stalled the Wilson drive and got the ball back with two minutes on the clock and picked up a first down before deciding to go for a big play, which was Dangello's toss to Hall in the final minute of the first half.
Wilson was held to 169 yards of total offense, 45 yards of which came when quarterback Michael Glovas hit Izayah Johnson early in the game, but the Warriors couldn't capitalize as the Tigers defense stiffened to stop the Wilson drive.
"When you look at the scoreboard and it says 26-0, you're pretty happy about your defensive effort. We sort of played the bend, but don't break defense tonight and that's not our style; we strive for stops. We left our offense with some long drives tonight, but they were able to convert," said Snyder.
Northwestern got the ball to start the second half and Breininger sprinted through the middle of the Wilson defense for his touchdown run, giving Northwestern scores on back-to-back offensive plays.
The Tigers opened the scoring with Dangello hitting Cameron Richardson for 38-yards and a touchdown mid-way through the second quarter. Wilson blocked the extra point attempt, but the Tigers had a 6-0 lead.
Northwestern capped the scoring when Dangello again hit Richardson, this time for 16-yards, to put the Tigers up 26-0 after Brandon Miller nailed the extra point.
One wrinkle was the use of a no-huddle offense throughout the game, something that was just added to the offensive scheme this week.
"We put a little package together tonight, playing against a 4-3 team," said Snyder. "We felt like we could see from up top and coach Kerschner, our line coach, and we could see where guys were and it worked out pretty well. We may add to it or change it up a little for next week, we'll have to see what happens."
With the loss, Wilson falls to 0-3 on the season. Northwestern is 2-1 and travels to Southern Lehigh next Friday night to take on the Spartans, who are also 2-1 after pounding Bangor 47-6 last night.