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September 21, 2013

A sloppy start

Damien Proby chose a good time to record his first career interception, as he pulled the ball in after a tipped pass and ran it back to the house with 42 seconds to go in the first half.

The 49-yard return for a touchdown gave Northwestern a 14-0 lead after a half in which the team was thoroughly outplayed. The Cats lost the yardage and time-of-possession battles, and there were very few moments when the 18th-ranked Wildcats actually looked like the FBS team in the contest.

Repeatedly, though, the Black Bears, who held the ball for seven minutes longer than the Wildcats and marched down the field on several occasions, shot themselves in the foot. Maine kicker Sean Decloux had a 32-yard field goal blocked and missed a 38-yarder later in the game. Late in the first half, the Black Bears failed to complete a fourth-down conversion from Northwestern's 30-yard line.

Though Proby's touchdown allowed Northwestern fans to breathe a little easier, there was nothing pretty about the first half. Kain Colter picked up 48 yards on the ground, but he took a big sack, threw an interception and missed on several throws down the field.

Northwestern's defense, meanwhile, notched its ninth interception of the season but was unable to record a sack of its own. Since racking up four sacks against Cal, the Wildcats have gotten just one in their last two-and-a-half games.

Tony Jones provided one of the only bright spots of the first half when he broke a tackle and made a nifty move for a 27-yard touchdown. Jones led all receivers with five receptions for 45 yards.

Game Facts

Matchup: No. 18 Northwestern (3-0) vs. Maine (3-0)

Time: 2:30 p.m. CT

Place: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill. (cap. 47,130)

TV: BTN, BTN2Go.com

Radio: WMVP-ESPN 1000, WNUR Sports Online

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