Northwestern Showed Vastly Improved Offense This Season

Northwestern Showed Vastly Improved Offense This Season
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

As turnarounds go, Northwestern fans must be relieved that the Wildcats football program, at least on the field in 2023, has rallied from a horrendous 2022. That’s not to ignore the football program’s additional woes.

There is just one game left in the NCAA college football season, the national championship battle between Michigan and Washington on Jan. 8. So, — your source for Illinois sportsbook promos — decided to recognize those college football teams that improved on offense immensely from 2022 to the 2023 season. 

Perhaps, it was a change in offensive schemes, or maybe improved talent on the roster. Whatever was the case in each instance, utilized to calculate the biggest positive changes in average points scored per game by every Power 5 college football team. And Northwestern was in the Top 10.

Most Improved Offenses in College Football

This breakdown was compiled by and would not be found on Illinois betting apps.

RankTeam2023 Avg. Points Per Game2022 Avg. Points Per GameDifference
1Georgia Tech29.715.514.2
3Virginia Tech29.518.511.0
4Texas A&M32.922.010.9
10Boston College24.315.98.4


Northwestern Comes in No. 8 on List

At the top of the list was Georgia Tech as it improved its scoring more than two touchdowns, actually 14.2 points a game, as the Yellow Jackets raised their scoring to 29.7 points per game.

Regarding Northwestern, the Wildcats were the No. 8 team in improved points scored per game.

In 2023, Northwestern scored 22 points a game, which was a 9.2 points-per-game improvement over 2022’s average of 12.8 points per game.

In truth, the improvement was due largely to the modest baseline that the Wildcats were working on. Last season, the Wildcats finished 1-11 and scored a total of just 22 points in their last four games. After winning its opening game of the 2022 season against Nebraska in Ireland, Northwestern’s subsequent season results were described as going 0-for-America.

And things got worse. A hazing scandal eventually broke. Multiple former players filed lawsuits. Pat Fitzgerald, who had been the head coach for 17 years, was fired. Fitzgerald filed a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, defensive coordinator David Braun was named interim head coach, and after a 5-5 start this past season, he was named the Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach.

Northwestern finished strongly. The Wildcats won their final three games to finish 8-5 overall, including a 14-7 triumph over Utah in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. 

That’s plenty to look forward to for next year’s revamped top 10. Fellow Big 10 member Michigan is a 4.5-point and -190 favorite at ESPN Bet Illinois over Washington for the national title in Houston. Northwestern did not meet the Wolverines this season but will play them next season in late November.

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Bill Ordine covers state gambling issues for He was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years.

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