Monday , March 8 2021

WATCH: Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald tells his players after the division's title crown after winning Iowa

Northwestern strike No. 21 in Iowa 14-10 on Saturday in Iowa City, along Big Ten West. Northwest players did not know this, however, because division of the division was not as easy as winning Hawkeys. When Wisconsin lost to Penn State earlier in the day, Wildcats knew that they would catch up if they hit Iowa, but they also needed the loss of Purdue to Minnesota.

What, surprisingly, Purdue did, crushed 41-10. But the game was played while Northwestern was still in the game as his team celebrated victory in the field, coach Pat Fitzgerald met his players in the midfield to share some news.

The path to Northwestern's first division crown for school history was not a routine because it was a strange season for Wildcats. They opened the season 31-27 with the victory of Purdue, but followed it with three straight losses at Duke, Akron and Michigan. Akron's losses were the most striking because Zips got two defensive goals during the fourth quarter to get a terrific 39-34 shock.

Wildcats also lost Jeremy Larkin, who withdrew from football due to cervical stenosis. On Saturday in the September match against Iowa, he remained the leader of the team in the rusher season, despite not having played after the Akron game.

Still, as strange as things are, losing Michigan is the only Big Ten loss that Wildcats have suffered (their fourth defeat was Notre Dame) so far. They have also been pretty dramatic since none of their six winnings this season have reached more than 14 points and four have been in contact or less.

In a season where the Northwestern artistic form won ugly, it used the same formula to overcome its division.

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