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September 15, 2012

Cats grind out a win

EVANSTON-Northwestern's red zone offense was as inefficient as a Winnebago towing a Hummer, but five Jeff Budzien field goals proved to be just enough fuel for the Wildcats to get to the finish line with a 22-13 win over Boston College on Saturday at Ryan Field.

The Wildcats, who outgained the Eagles 560-316, were a well-oiled machine between the 20s but seemed to fall apart whenever they got into scoring range. They reached the BC 23-yard line or deeper seven times but couldn't cross the goal line until just 1:37 remained, when Mike Trumpy broke through the middle of the line for a 27-yard touchdown run to put the game away.

Their six previous forays into scoring range produced just 15 points. Even a gargantuan 19-play, 94-yard, fourth-quarter drive produced just three points.

Despite being outplayed, Boston College hung around throughout the game. The Eagles' offense consisted, for the most part, of one drive: a 7-play, 95-yarder that ended with a 31-yard touchdown strike from Chase Rettig to Johnathan Coleman. That gave the Eagles a 10-9 lead with 2:35 left in the second quarter.

Northwestern responded to that drive, however, with a 55-yard march of its own, capped by -- what else? -- a 41-yard Budzien field goal with just :02 left, sending the Wildcats into the locker room at halftime leading 12-10.

Kain Colter got the start at quarterback for Northwestern, but he and Trevor Siemian split drives in the first half before Colter played the entire second half.

Colter had his best game as a passer, completing 16-of-20 passes for 144 yards, including a 41-yarder to Tony Jones in the first quarter. He was not immune to sporadic play near the end zone, however, missing a wide open Christian Jones for what would have been a sure TD in the third quarter.

Siemian finished 14-of-20 for 123 yards. His last play was a second-quarter fumble on a fourth-and-1 at the BC 5-yard line that resulted in the Wildcats turning the ball over on downs.

Trumpy, who got the lion's share of carries after Venric Mark was dinged up in the third quarter, had a game-high 106 yards on 16 carries. Mark finished with 77 yards on 16 rushes.

Rettig was 24-of-44 for 291 yards and one TD. The Eagles managed just 25 rushing yards.



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