Healthy Wolverines roll into East Lansing

Originally Published: October 29, 2003
By Herb Gould | Special to
With a 16-7 upset of Wisconsin, its biggest win in at least a couple of years, Northwestern didn't simply give its homecoming crowd a lot to cheer about. The Wildcats also turned themselves into a team that has a legitimate chance to become the Big Ten's eighth bowl-eligible team.

NU faces difficult games against Purdue and Michigan, but could qualify for a bowl trip if it handles its other remaining opponents, at home against Penn State and on the road at Illinois. And the bowl-rich Big Ten, which has seven bowl tie-ins, stands a good chance of securing eight bowl bids if it qualifies eight teams. The Big Ten has sent seven teams to bowls five times, including last year, but eight bowl-bound teams would be a record.

  • The Wildcats caught Wisconsin off-guard with a trick play, a fake field goal that turned into a 21-yard gain and an insurance touchdown with 2:08 left in the third quarter. On the play, holder Eric Batis placed the ball between the legs of running back Noah Herron, who waited for one or two seconds, then ran right while Batis went left. From fourth-and-seven at the Badgers 24, NU wound up with a first down at the 3 yardline.