The Northwestern Wildcats have much more at steak than any other game when they take the field against in-state rival Illinois this weekend. The Wildcats need a win to solidify a spot in one of the many bowl games next month, but will be without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian head coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday. Siemian tore his ACL during the team’s win over Purdue this weekend and will miss the remainder of the season. The injury occurred on a fourth and one play early in the second quarter when Siemian lunged forward for the extra yardage before being clobbered by Boilermaker defenders.
“He’s real disappointed,” said Fitzgerald of Siemian, whom the coach trusts will be “a great teammate” for the rest of the season. “He’ll be what Trevor is, always upbeat, always positive.”
The senior has been a major part of coach Fitzgerald’s success in 2014, throwing for 2,214 yards and seven touchdowns. Despite throwing 11 interceptions, Siemian has been able to manage games well, guiding the Wildcats to a 5-6 record and more importantly an opportunity to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2012, when the Wildcats won the Gator Bowl against Mississippi State.
Siemian will finish up his Wildcat career with 5,931 yards passing and 27 touchdowns.
Northwestern will likely turn to junior Zach Oliver, who has appeared in three games this season. So far, Oliver has completed seven of 19 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown in relief duty. Freshman Matt Alviti seems to be in line for the backup job, but should only have to play in case of emergency. Over the course of the season, the squad has lost a large amount of player including two captains and three starters. Fitzgerald’s ability to rebound his team from these injuries has been impressive and is a bright spot on his nine-year tenure in Evanston.
*Section Photo credit to John Gress, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jerry Lai, USA Today Sports