What coach schedules a mandatory nap time when his team has a 2:30 p.m. start? Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, who took heed when team leaders told him that the reason the Wildcats came out sluggish against Boston College on Sept. 15 was that the mid-afternoon kickoff interfered with their normal nap time.
As detailed by the Chicago Tribune’s, Northwestern players typically begin their day at 6:50 a.m. with meetings, attend practice from 8:50 to 10:30, head to class and then nap in the early afternoon.
Those 2:30 p.m. Central Time starts were coming just as the team’s inner clock was calling for some shuteye, not kickoff. So Fitzgerald implemented a new plan for this Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
Breakfast at 7:30. Position meetings at 8:30.
A “mandatory cat nap” at 9:30.
Another meal at 10:15. Dress, stretch, play.
This game goes down on the ESPNU network and it features the Northwestern University Wildcats taking on Texas Tech University Red Raiders in the first ever TicketCity Bowl, which is taking place in the Cotton Bowl Stadium at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas.
Northwestern, 7-5, 3-5 Big Ten, Head coach Pat Fitzgerald had his Wildcats storming out of the gates this season, winning their first five games but stumbled down the stretch losing five of their last seven games.
The Wildcats were nothing special offensively and especially not now that starting quarterback Dan Persa is out, who was completing 73.5 percent of his passes. Evan Watkins will take over for Persa in this game. That leaves Northwestern with only one real impact player going into the TicketCity Bowl and that is wideout Jeremy Ebert, who led the team in three categories: receptions with 59, 919 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Texas Tech, 7-5, 3-5 Big 12, the Red Raiders came into this season with a new head in Tommy Tuberville and new offensive philosophy quite different from that of its former head coach Mike Leach and his high powered passing attack. Tuberville’s team finished the year with three wins in its last four matchups to end the year.
Quarterback Taylor Potts will look to abuse the Wildcats through the air, as he leads the Red Raiders offense that is producing 32 ppg. Potts completed over 65 percent of his throws this season, and finished the regular season with 3,357 yards and 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Potts favorite targets are Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong with Lewis grabbing a team best 79 receptions for 803 yards and 6 touchdowns while Leong collected 64 catches for 808 yards and a crazy 17 touchdowns.
Usually overlooked at Texas Tech is the ground game however these Red Raiders have found success on the ground this season with running back Baron Batch who has 805 yards and 5 touchdowns. Backup Eric Stephens also helped in the backfield scoring 5 touchdowns to go along with 542 rushing yards.
The defense was hit with the unexpected announcement that defensive coordinator James Willis has left the program.
PICK: Texas Tech University Red Raiders
Only one end zone will be used for offense Saturday at Wrigley Field for the Illinois-Northwestern game because of safety concerns, the Big Ten announced. The east end zone is just feet away from the right-field wall, and although there is padding, there still were concerns that players could be injured there.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald had said this week that he would have different game plans for each end zone to avoid the possibility of injury.
In a statement issued by the Big Ten, the following changes will be made:
- All offensive plays will head toward the west end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
- All kickoffs will be kicked toward the east end zone.
- After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the west end zone.
- As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the west team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the west team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.
This game goes down on the Big Ten network and it features the Purdue University Boilermakers taking on Northwestern University Wildcats at Ryan Field.
Head coach Danny Hope brings his Boilmakers to Evanston, Illinois for their first Big Ten conference game but at a 2-2 overall record. Purdue had an extra week to prepare for this matchup as they had an open date last weekend.
The Boilermakers have been hit with the injury bug early and it has taken hold of their offense in particular. Redshirt freshman quarterback Rob Henry, 233 yards 2 touchdowns 1 INT, since coming in for junior quarterback Robert Marve who was lost for the season due to a knee injury. The injury bug doesn’t stop there, as the team is without All-Big Ten wide receiver Keith Smith for the remainder of the season. It still to early to see who Henry feels comfortable passing to but senior tight end Kyle Adams, 106 yards 1 touchdown, has been a big target for him.
The Boilermakers are led by impressive senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan on the other side of the ball. Kerrigan has 19 tackles, 3.5 for loss, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks just last week alone against Toledo. Kerrigan helps a fierce Boilermaker defense which leads the Big Ten in sacks so far this season with 12.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald has his Wildcats perfect on the season and are entering their second Big Ten conference game after defeating Minnesota last weekend 29-28. Dating back to last year Northwestern has won it’s last 8 regular season games, the longest streak for them since 1995.
Northwestern is lead by junior quarterback Dan Persa, 1358 yards 10 touchdowns 2 INTs, is completing an unprecedented 79.4 percent to lead the nation in that category. In addition to Persa’s effectiveness throwing the ball he can also run with the ball as he leads the team in rushing with 271 yards and 2 touchdowns on 68 attempts. When Persa’s looks down field he’s often looking for his favorite target which is junior wide receiver Jemery Ebert, 436 yards 5 touchdowns.
Northwestern’s defense is only allowing its opponents to score 18 ppg, which is 29th best in the nation.
The Boilermakers hold a 49-27-1 edge in the all-time series however Northwestern has won four of the last six meetings, including last year’s 27-21 decision at Purdue.
PICK: Northwestern University Wildcats