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August 22, 2009KENOSHA, Wis. -- It's always difficult to determine how a team looks in an intrasquad tussle, and that was even more true during Northwestern's scrimmage on Saturday as six defensive starters were held out of the action and starting quarterback Mike Kafka played just one series.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald, however, was pleased with his team's overall effort in the 100-play scrimmage, played in front of about 500 fans at Tremper High School's Ameche Field.
"I saw a lot of positives," said Fitzgerald, who added that he liked what he saw from many of the young players forced into action as the Wildcats rested starters by choice.
Among the defensive starters, end Corey Wootton and tackle Corbin Bryant were both sidelined, as were cornerbacks Sherrick McManis and Jordan Mabin, and safeties Brad Phillips and Brendan Smith.
Still, the three defensive units were able to force four three-and-outs in nine offensive series, force four fumbles and create one turnover.
WildcatReport watched the action from the press box and walked away with these observations.
Play of the Day
Many would think that linebacker Ben Johnson's 62-yard pick-six was the highlight of the game, but WildcatReport is going with a play that wasn't -- John Plasencia's near-miraculous touchdown catch. The freshman superback was draped by rookie safety Cooper Gerami in the end zone but somehow managed to reach around Gerami's body and get his hands on Evan Watkins' pass behind Gerami's back. (Gerami was facing away from the throw.) Plasencia then batted it in the air a couple times - all with his arms behind Gerami's No. 36 jersey - before it fell to the ground, just beyond his outstretched hands as the two became untangled.
It went down in the book as an incomplete pass but it drew the biggest "ooh" of the day from the crowd, who also applauded Plasencia's effort.
The following Wildcat players stood out during the scrimmage: