Pat Fitzgerald is entering his 10th season as Northwestern’s Head Football Coach. During the first 9 years of his tenure there have been many ups, and certainly many downs as well. Despite current sentiment of the Warriors’ (which ranges somewhere between neutral to negative) of Fitz – we will focus on the positives from his career to date.
#10 – NU vs Iowa 2008
Iowa sort of gave this one to us, but it was a solid road win against a solid team (which beat South Carolina in their bowl game and ended up #20 in the final AP Poll).
#9 – NU vs Vanderbilt 2010
Despite the fact that this was a bad Vanderbilt team (they went 2-10 that year), a season opener in SEC territory is never easy. It was Dan Persa’s first game as the starter which helped sneak this one on the list.
#8 – NU vs Indiana 2009
In one of the wildest NU games I’ve ever seen, Northwestern rallied to come back from a 28-3 deficit (at which point the entire student section left save myself and Patrick Grayhack) to win 29-28. They held Indiana scoreless for the entire second half to pull off the win.
#7 – NU vs Minnesota 2007
Speaking of comebacks – NU rallied from a 35-14 deficit in the 2nd half to win 49-48 in double overtime. A stopped two point conversion sealed the win for the ‘Cats.
#6 – NU vs #10 Nebraska 2011
A near must-win game for the ‘Cats as they fought for bowl eligibility, the ‘Cats came out victorious in their first trip to Lincoln. The game featured a great second half performance from Kain Colter in place of an injured Dan Persa.
#5 – NU vs #13 Iowa 2010
A win that might be higher had it not lead to the end of Dan Persa’s season (and effectively Northwestern’s season), NU won in dramatic fashion with a late minute TD grab by Demetrius Fields.
#4 – NU vs #18 Notre Dame 2014
In a game we had all but written off, Trevor Seimian and the ‘Cats beat the Fighting Irish in dramatic fashion, recovering a fumble and forcing overtime with a last second Jack Mitchell field goal. Were the rest of this season not a total disaster, this could have been even higher.
#3 – NU vs #13 Minnesota 2008
This game had one of the craziest finishes in program history. Kafka gets his first start in 2 years replacing an injured CJ Bacher and runs all over Minnesota for a big win.
#2 – NU vs #16 Wisconsin
In one of my favorite seasons in Northwestern history, the ‘Cats held their ground at home against a strong Wisconsin team to propel them to an Outback Bowl bid.
#1 – NU vs Mississippi State 2012
Obviously getting the first bowl victory since the 1949 Rose Bowl was kind of a big deal. The ‘Cats beat a solid SEC team to finally get the monkey off their back. Ironically, the ‘Cats haven’t been back to a bowl since.
Look for another post tomorrow with Pat Fitzgerald’s Top 10 Worst Losses.