Northwestern aims for ‘complementary football’ vs. Howard

Before returning to its Big Ten slate for the rest of the season, Northwestern will try to fix some problems when it welcomes FCS foe Howard on Saturday in Evanston, Ill.

Northwestern (2-3) dropped to 1-2 in the Big Ten last Saturday with a 41-13 loss to No. 6 Penn State. The score was 10-10 at halftime before the Nittany Lions pulled away.

Northwestern rushed for just 45 yards on 32 carries and ranks 118th in the FBS in rushing offense this season (98 yards per game).

Interim coach David Braun said the offensive line was strained from the Wildcats playing from behind and becoming one-dimensional.

“We need to find balance, we need to hone into complementary football, and we need to find ways to play with a lead,” Braun said.

Ben Bryant completed 14 of 25 passes for 122 yards against Penn State before landing on his right shoulder during a sack in the fourth quarter. Braun called Bryant “tough” but was vague about whether he would be ready for Saturday.

Brendan Sullivan will start at quarterback if Bryant can’t play.

Howard (2-2) has a productive offense that first showed up Sept. 1 in a 33-23 loss to another FBS opponent, Eastern Michigan.

The Bison enter this week off a 35-10 rout of Robert Morris. Quarterback Quinton Williams completed 13 of 16 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing touchdowns as Howard bounced back from a 35-34 loss to Hampton.

“The theme for this game was go out and hunt,” safety Kenny Gallop Jr. told Howard’s athletics website. “Coach (Larry) Scott preached it all week, and we played well as a unit. We were humbled after the Hampton loss. We had the halftime lead and did not finish.”

Braun came to Northwestern from the coaching staff at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State and can draw on that experience to make sure his team doesn’t overlook Howard.

“There’s darn good football at all levels,” Braun said. “We look at this opponent the same that we would look at any opponent, an opponent that’s plenty capable of giving us a run for our money and beating us if we don’t show up at our best.”

–Field Level Media