Monday, October 3, 2011
Northwestern's rushing attack suffers blow
By Adam Rittenberg
Northwestern has made no secret about its intention to establish the run game this season.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they will have to do so without their most talented running back.
Sophomore Mike Trumpy will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL in Saturday's loss to Illinois. Trumpy suffered the knee injury early in the third quarter and had to be carted off the field.
Although Jacob Schmidt and Trumpy have shared the starting job through the first five games, Trumpy has been Northwestern's most effective ball-carrier aside from quarterback Kain Colter. Trumpy leads Northwestern in yards per carry (5.2) and ranks second in both carries (35) and rushing yards (182).
The Wildcats will turn to Schmidt, sophomore Adonis Smith and freshman Treyvon Green at running back.
It will be interesting to see how Trumpy's absence affects the carries distribution, and more important, how it affects the run-pass balance.
Northwestern got some good news Monday as starting quarterback Dan Persa practiced. Coach Pat Fitzgerald expects Persa, who missed the end of the Illinois game after aggravating his Achilles tendon, to play this week against No. 12 Michigan.
Persa provides the passing threat Northwestern has lacked this season, and he fired four touchdown passes on only 14 attempts against Illinois. Expect the Wildcats to air it out more this week and utilize their weapons at receiver and tight end to test Michigan's secondary.