While the news on Matt Harris’ injury is much better than it looked like it was going to be while Northwestern’s junior cornerback was lying face down in a silent Michigan Stadium, Harris will still be sidelined for what head coach Pat Fitzgerald called “the foreseeable future” on Monday.
Harris has multiple broken bones in his face after taking a knee to the helmet in Saturday's 38-0 loss to Michigan and won’t be returning to the field any time soon for the 20th-ranked Wildcats.
“Matt will be out for at least the foreseeable future,” Fitzgerald said. “So what that means, I’m not going to put a timetable on it. He’s got a couple of broken bones in his face. So we’ll probably evaluate where he’s at, and probably a good time to ask me would be after the bye week.”
The Cats host Iowa this weekend and travel to Nebraska before the team's bye week.
Harris leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten with three interceptions. Only Iowa's Desmond King, with five, has more picks. Harris' 94 interception-return yards are tops in the conference.
Harris, a Lyons Township High School product, started five games as a freshman and all 12 last year as a sophomore. He started the first six games of this season, bringing his career total to 23. He ranks sixth on the team with 25 total tackles.
This is the third straight season in which Harris has suffered a scary-looking injury. Against Cal in 2013 and against Penn State in 2014, Harris suffered serious-looking injuries, but he’s bounced back both times.
Northwestern’s secondary — the “Sky Team” — has been among the country’s best this season, ranking seventh in the FBS in passing defense, allowing just 138.2 yards through the air each game. The loss of Harris is certainly a big blow to a foursome of Harris, Nick VanHoose, Traveon Henry and Godwin Igwebuike that has been lights out this season.
Harris was left off Monday’s depth chart, with Keith Watkins listed as a starter at corner alongside VanHoose.
Up against a potent Iowa offense in Saturday’s game, Harris will surely be missed.