Northwestern hosts FCS number 25 Maine in its final non-conference game of the 2013 season, hoping to go 4-0 before they start the Big Ten Season on October 5th against Ohio State. Like the Wildcats, Maine has started 3-0. This includes a win over FBS Massachusetts.
Northwestern enters the game 3-0 largely on the strength of its offense and opportunistic defense. The Wildcats rank third in the Big Ten in scoring and total offense. Their defense has been more bend than break. They have seized the opportunities when they had to. NU is first in the nation in interceptions and ranks second in the Big Ten with a +3 turnover margin.
Northwestern's balance on offense has been critical to their success this season. The Wildcats average 520 yards of offense per game. They have put up 271 YPG through the air and 249 on the ground.
With Venric Mark out the first three games Treyvon Green has been Northwestern's Most Valuable Player. Green ranks 21st nationally and fourth in the Big Ten with 117.7 YPG.
Kain Colter has been sensational through the first two games. If he continues his stellar play, he has a chance to capture the Big Ten Silver Football as the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. Colter has completed 22 of 26 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns and on interception and has rushed for 219 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns. Both Colter and Green rushed for over 100 yards in NU's win against Western Michigan last week.
Colter co-Quarterback Trevor Simien is fourth in the Big Ten and Colter sixth in the Big Ten in pass efficiency. Simien shredded Cal in the Wildcats opener when Colter was knocked out of the game with a concussion. On the season, he averaging 211 yards per game with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Maine brings their own explosive offense into the teams first meeting. Black Bear Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski ranks eighth in FBS in total offense with 311 yards per game. Like Colter, Wasilewski is a dual threat. He has 204 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Receiver Derrick Johnson has 22 receptions for 189 yards through the first two weeks.
While the offense has put up excellent number through the first two weeks, the defense has limited the opposition to 14 points per game. The Black Bears rank 19th overall in total defense in FBS, giving up just 316 yards per game.
A week after rushing for 332 yards against Western Michigan, the Wildcats should continue to get it down on the ground. Maine allowed 224 yards on the ground against Bryant last week.
Northwestern hasn't lost a game to an FCS opponent since 2006, 34-17 to New Hampshire in their home opener. That is six game winning streak.
The Wildcats and Black Bears will kickoff at 2:30 CT on the Big Ten Network.