Game 1 Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Aug. 11, 2010

Northwestern at Vanderbilt
Date: September 4, 2010 (Kickoff 6:30 p.m. CT)
Location: Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773) Nashville, Tenn.
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About Northwestern

Coach: Pat Fitzgerald (5th year, 27-23)

Conference: Big Ten

2009 record: 8-5, 5-3 Big Ten

Postseason: Outback Bowl (Lost to Auburn, 38-35)

Highest ranking/Final ranking: Unranked/Unranked

Returning starters/Lost starters: 15/8

Most impressive win of 2009: The Wildcats went to previously undefeated Iowa on Nov. 7 and knocked off the Hawkeyes 17-10, spoiling their national championship hopes. It snapped a 13-game winning streak for Iowa dating back to 2008.

Worst loss: Syracuse, who wound up just 4-8 on the season, edged Northwestern on Sept. 19, 37-34, in the Carrier Dome. The Orange rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter and overcame a 390-yard passing performance by Northwestern's All Big-Ten quarterback Mike Kafka.

Last time Northwestern played Vanderbilt: Harry Truman was President. It was Oct. 4, 1952, and the teams battled to a 20-20 tie in Evanston. That year would mark the first losing season for the Commodores since 1945.

Vanderbilt-Northwestern series: Vanderbilt leads 1-0-1. Other than the tie, their only meeting was in 1947, a 3-0 Commodore victory. This game marks the first time Vanderbilt and Northwestern will play each other in Nashville.

Notes: Vanderbilt and Northwestern share the distinction of being the only private institutions in their respective power conferences ... The Commodores will be seeking their fourth straight season-opening victory; their current three-year streak is their best since winning six in a row from 1970-1975 ... The Wildcats are only the second Big Ten opponents for the Commodores since 1979, the other being the season opener against Michigan in 2006 ... Vanderbilt holds a 7-17-2 all-time record against Big Ten opponents ... With a 9-4 record in 2008 and 8-5 record in 2009, Northwestern won at least 8 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995-1996.



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