Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Saturday, September 18, 2010
Dominant defense leads Wildcats to win

By Adam Rittenberg

Another game is in the books, and another win for the Big Ten.

Northwestern 30, Rice 13: After looking vulnerable in the opener against Vanderbilt, Northwestern's defense has locked it down in a big way. Linebacker Quentin Davie led a dominant performance by the Wildcats' D on the road at Rice, as Northwestern forced four turnovers and kept the Owls out of the end zone until just 14 seconds remained and the starters had been pulled. Davie recorded his third interception in the last two games and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown to give Northwestern a 13-0 lead. Northwestern shut down the Rice run game and limited big pass plays. The Wildcats offense took some time to get going, but quarterback Dan Persa (24-for-32, 307 pass yards, 1 TD, rush TD) came up big once again, especially in the second half. After Rice held its own against Texas, I expected this one to be a lot closer. Northwestern still needs to spark its rushing attack, which doesn't look Big Ten-ready, but it certainly will take a convincing road win.