Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/25/12

After their wild season opening victory over Syracuse, it looked like Northwestern fans would have to endure another season of the "Cardiac Cats".

Ever since September 1st the Wildcats defense has improved tremendously. In the three games since the opener, Northwestern has only allowed a combined 33 points compared to the 41 they allowed in Week 1.

They've also only allowed opposing teams to gain an average of 270 yards per game in that stretch.

What's even more impressive is some of the teams they've defeated along the way. Despite having to make a comeback at the 11th hour, the Syracuse victory was still huge for both the Wildcats and the Big Ten Conference.

In Week 2, Northwestern successfully defended their home turf in a 23-13 victory over Vanderbilt. Even though Vandy's football program has been a door mat since guys like Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett moved on to the NFL, it's not often that a Big Ten team defeats an SEC team.

The victory over the Commodores isn't just a win for Northwestern, it's also a win for the Big Ten who has struggled against the Southeast Conference in recent years.

Northwestern has actually won two in-a-row over Vanderbilt, the Wildcats defeated Vandy on their home field in the 2010 season opener.

The next team to fall to Pat Fitzgerald's squad were the Eagles from Boston College. The Eagles came into the game averaging 30 points and 400 offensive yards per game.

The Cats' soundly defeated the Eagles 22-13 and the defense held BC's powerful offense to under 400 yards. Northwestern was the first team to keep BC's offense from reaching their season averages.

This past week, the Wildcats took on the lower division South Dakota Coyotes. It wasn't a surprise that they defeated SDU, but the final score of 38-7 may have surprised some.

Thanks to this re-energized defense, the Wildcats are now just to wins away from bowl eligibility. What's more important, the Cats' are one of only three unbeaten teams left in the Big Ten.

The other teams are Ohio State and Minnesota. Northwestern does not play OSU this year, but they will meet division rival Minnesota on October 13th. 

If the Wildcats can keep up this aggressive mentality on defense they will continue to have success down the line.

Of course the best course of action for them will be to take things one game at a time. This weekend the Wildcats complete the fourth game of this homestand when they play host to Indiana.

The Hoosiers seemed to be an improved team this year. They are 2-1, they're coming off a bye week, and their offense averages 30 points and 500 yards per game.

This is not the same Hoosiers team that has been in the gutter in years past. This week they will come to play and they will look to ruin NU's undefeated campaign.

This will be another big test for Pat Fitzgerald's defense, the question is can Northwestern rise to the challenge again?


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Michael Bennett to Seahawks: Pay me or 'get rid of me'

Victor Cruz expects to be 'ready to go' for training camp

DeMarcus Cousins: All-NBA vote ‘absurd’ and ‘a joke’

Andrew Luck: Colts were 'gutsy' to keep Pagano, Grigson

White Sox suspend Chris Sale for 'destroying team equipment'


Report: Cubs pushing hard to land Aroldis Chapman

Report: Lesnar, Jones tested positive for same substance

Todd Bowles: Geno Smith 'can be a good starter' for Jets

Former 49ers OL: Gabbert will likely start over Kaepernick

Report: Le'Veon Bell recently completed DUI probation

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker