Freshmen giving Wildcats lift so far

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Pat Fitzgerald really doesn't like playing true freshmen.

You know if the Northwestern coach gives in, the player has some game. And it's showing up today.

Northwestern already has received production from three true freshmen as it leads Michigan State 7-0 after the first quarter.

Receiver Rashad Lawrence had a huge 44-yard reception to set up Northwestern's touchdown. Venric Mark has provided a nice lift on punt returns, a chronic area of weakness for the Wildcats.

But the biggest contribution has come from Adonis Smith, who might be the Wildcats' answer at running back. Smith is showing good moves against a strong MSU defense and running well on zone plays.