During Saturday’s game at Iowa, junior linebacker Brett Walsh was carted off the field after an injury suffered during a kickoff return in the third quarter.
Walsh was laying motionless on the field following the play, and trainers removed his jersey and pads before lifting him onto the cart. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was carted off the field following a lengthy delay.
UPDATE (1:36 p.m.): Walsh was taken to a hospital across the street from Kinnick Stadium. He was fully conscious and moving all extremities, according to the team’s official Twitter.
UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): Coach Pat Fitzgerald concluded his post-game press conference saying that all of Walsh’s tests were negative and he will likely be returning to Evanston tonight, though not with the team.
In a major blow to Northwestern’s secondary, junior cornerback Keith Watkins II will miss the 2016 season with a knee injury, the program announced Tuesday.
As the No. 3 cornerback on the roster last year, Watkins II was a valuable fill-in player in the secondary. He tied for ninth on the team with 41 tackles and tied for third with six passes broken up.
“I’m really disappointed for him, he’s worked so hard, but we’ve got great depth at that position (and I’m) excited about the guys that now get that opportunity from somebody else’s tough situation,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said via a video on the team’s Twitter account.
Watkins II said via the video that he twisted his left knee in practice last week but played through it until it swelled up after practice. He will have surgery next week.
He had nine tackles, including eight solo tackles, in a breakout performance against Iowa before following it up with eight tackles the following week against Nebraska. With cornerback Nick VanHoose injured for the Outback Bowl against Tennessee, Watkins II recorded a career-high three pass break-ups.
The injury will leave NU more shorthanded than expected at cornerback after VanHoose’s graduation and junior Marcus McShepard’s spring position transfer to wide receiver. Fitzgerald named sophomore Montre Hartage, redshirt freshman Trae Williams and redshirt freshman Alonzo Mayo as possible replacements for the cornerback spot opposite returning starter senior Matthew Harris.
#B1GCats CB Keith Watkins II to miss 2016 season after knee injury.
A former Northwestern quarterback has (sort of) locked down an NFL starting job heading into the preseason.
Ex-Wildcat Trevor Siemian, who played QB for NU from 2010-2014, has been named “co-starter” for the Denver Broncos, according to the team’s first depth chart. Siemian shares the starting job with former New York Jets quarterback and 2009 No. 6 overall draft pick Mark Sanchez.
In his Cats career, Siemian threw for 5,931 yards, fourth-most in NU history, in addition to 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Broncos and spent almost all of his rookie season on the bench, though he did play one snap in 2015 — a kneel-down to close out the first half in Denver’s Dec. 20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers the Super Bowl in February and, following the retirement of Peyton Manning and departure of Brock Osweiler in free agency, have been searching for a quarterback. Denver traded for Sanchez in March and drafted ex-Memphis QB Paxton Lynch in the first round of April’s draft (26th overall) but so far no one has run away with the job.
Sanchez started his NFL career with the Jets, tagging along at QB as coach Rex Ryan’s defense led them to two straight AFC Conference Championship appearances. He underwent shoulder surgery during the 2013 season and, after being released following that season, spent the last two years as the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup.
At Memphis, Lynch passed for 8,865 yards over three seasons, tossing 59 touchdowns against 23 interceptions. In 2015, his 28:4 TD:INT ratio helped boost his draft stock and was the third quarterback taken, following Cal’s Jared Goff by the Los Angeles Rams and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz by the Eagles.
Denver begins its preseason schedule on Thursday against the Chicago Bears at 7 p.m.
No. 3 seed Northwestern fell to No. 1 seed Maryland 12-9 in the Big Ten Championship on Sunday at Martin Stadium. The Terrapins are undefeated thus far.
Despite several lead changes and ties, a 5-0 second-half run by the Terrapins proved to be too much for the Wildcats. Junior attacker Christina Esposito led the Wildcats with 3 goals while sophomore midfielder Selena Lasota and senior midfielder Kaleigh Craig each added 2.
However, the Cats stay above .500 and are eligible for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats received their 18th-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, the NCAA announced on Tuesday. Ranked No. 30 in the nation, the Cats (13-10, 10-1 Big Ten) draw No. 42 Ole Miss (13-11, 3-10 SEC) in the first round, which will be hosted by North Carolina and will be played on Friday, May 13.
A first-round victory would pit Northwestern against the winner of No. 3 North Carolina and East Tennessee State in a second-round duel, also hosted by the Tar Heels. Subsequent matches will be played in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Northwestern has advanced to the tournament’s Round of 16 in 12 of their last 17 berths, and to the national quarterfinals three times.
Northwestern’s game at Ohio State on October 29 will be played at 5:30 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, the Big Ten and ESPN announced Monday.
The Wildcats and Buckeyes last met on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, when ESPN’s College GameDay show visited campus for the first time since 1995. NU narrowly lost that game, 40-30, and went on to lose another six straight and finish the season 5-7.