Being the opponent of a Big 10 team isn’t going to be particularly easy, and head coach Joe Glenn understands his football team will face an uphill battle as they travel to Evanston, Ill., to take on the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday.
“They are 3-0 and heavily favored,” Glenn said. “However, I expect each individual on our team to walk into that stadium with the attitude that we are going to upset them.”
The Coyotes first priority will be to slow down junior running back Venric Mark, who is averaging 5 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per catch in 2012. Mark is also a threat on special teams, averaging over 37 yards per punt return.
“He is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands,” Glenn said. “We’re going to make it a point of emphasis to punt the ball out of bounds and try to limit his touches.”
The Coyotes are coming off of a bye week, which gave them ample time to prepare for the Saturday showdown.
“(Coming off a bye week is) definitely going to benefit us,” senior linebacker Tyler Starr said. “It’s always good to get extra time to strategize, as well as extra time to rest and focus and for an opponent like this.
Senior running back Marcus Sims said the team is confident and ready to attack the Wildcat defense.
“The Montana game gave us good competition and we learned from it, and then the Colgate game gave us all a lot of extra confidence,” Sims said. “For me personally, I’m definitely very confident that I’m going to be able to make the big plays when my team needs them.”
Sims is coming off a game in which he carried the ball 14 times for 127 yards.
“Our running game is our DNA,” Glenn said. “We love setting the tempo with the run regardless of who’s carrying it and using that to set up our play-action.”
Northwestern comes into this game with victories over Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Boston College.
Starr said if everyone is focused, the ship will stay afloat
“We are going to stick to our plan and execute,” Starr said. “Our defense is slowly, but surely, getting to the level we want, and we’re all confident about that.”
In order to turn some heads and garner attention, the team cannot be scared.
“The old saying goes, there are more Division I players than Division i scholarships,” Glenn said.