Posted by: marcmwm | September 26, 2008

Gameday — Bacher looks to brush off pickoffs

Northwestern’s Bacher looks to brush off picks

By Marc Morehouse
Photo

(AP)
Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher rolls out of the pocket last Saturday against Ohio University in Evanston, Ill. Bacher threw for 133 yards and rushed for 37 yards in a 16-8 Northwestern victory.

IOWA CITY — Interceptions don’t get to C.J. Bacher. Well, they do, but he’s not going to let you see that.

He knows, especially in Northwestern’s spread offense, there’s always another throw and probably another and another.

“You’ve got to flush it and really respond to any adversity that’s thrown your way,” the senior quarterback said. “You can’t be thinking about a pick the next time you go out there, the next drive, the next rep, the next practice or the next week. You’ve got to really flush it and be able to execute the next play.”

After throwing four interceptions in the Wildcats’ (4-0) victory over Ohio last week, Bacher has 33 for his career, with five this season to three TD passes. In two games against the Hawkeyes (3-1), Bacher has thrown five interceptions, but he’s still 1-1 against Iowa, with his first career victory coming in the Cats’ 21-7 win at Kinnick Stadium in 2006.

“We focus a lot on managing the game and taking care of the football, so it is a big deal to us,” Bacher said. “In this offense you really have to be able to take care of the football.”

Bacher isn’t careless or sloppy. The fifth-year senior is pursuing a master’s degree in communications at NU this year. You know he’s not careless or sloppy.

Before a first-quarter pick against Ohio, Bacher had thrown 101 passes without an interception. Iowa quarterbacks Jake Christensen and Ricky Stanzi have combined for three interceptions in 104 attempts this season.

There is some “no duh” math to this. When Bacher starts and throws more than one interception, NU is 3-9, with last week’s victory going against that grain. The Cats are 9-0 when Bacher throws one or none.

“I let a few get away from me this last game,” Bacher said. “To that point, there was one pick this year. There’s going to be a huge focus on that coming into this game. I’ve got to manage the game, distribute the ball and take care of it.”

Also against Ohio, Bacher suffered a minor thumb injury and a sprained finger. He practiced Wednesday and pronounced himself good to go.

“When we win and the quarterback plays well, C.J. gets all the credit,” NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When we win and we don’t put up 150 points, the quarterback gets all the blame. It all depends on who you’re listening to.”

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