Then, against all expectations, last week the Wildcats somehow beat Penn State, ranked #27, at Penn State's own stadium on homecoming.
The question was -- was it just some bizarre fluke, or did coach Pat Fitzgerald figure out some way to turn the entire team around 180 degrees in just one week?
This being Northwestern, the jury is still out. Especially since this week they were playing Wisconsin, who is ranked even better than Penn State, the #17 team in the country. But for inexplicable reasons the evidence is pointing towards tentatively "turn around." Because they just beat Wisconsin, 20-14!!.
Wisconsin came back to score another touchdown, but it was too little, too late, and as time was ticking down, they threw yet another interception, their fourth. (Remarkably, three of them, including those last two, were by freshman Godwin Igwebuike.) And NU ran out the clock. Helping, too, was another freshman, Justin Jackson, who ran for 162 yards. All this bodes well for the future. Yet remind utterly unexpected for the present.
I don't even begin to understand it. This team really, actually truly look pathetic after the first two weeks. And now -- now, they're 3-3, and (as I write this) the only 2-0 team in the Big Ten, and bizarrely have an unexpected chance to win six games and become "bowl eligible."
But hey, this is Northwestern, the "Cardiac Cats," so I'm not counting anything out, including being routed the rest of the way. But...after the last two weeks, they have at least made things respectable. Stunningly.