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Stats of the Week - Northwestern vs. Minnesota

As everyone knows, Northwestern played a dud of a game against Wisconsin, and while we're all disappointed in all phases of that game for the 'Cats, it is worth looking back on the quality run NU was on prior to that.

Northwestern fell out of both major polls (AP & Coaches) after the loss, ending a run of being ranked in 10 straight polls. NU has received votes in 23 consecutive Coaches polls dating back to week 2 of the 2012 season (and only didn't receive votes in one of those AP polls).

The 'Cats' run of 7 consecutive games scoring 30 or more points is the longest in school history, and Northwestern had scored in double digits for 78 games prior to Saturday. The prior instance was at OSU in 2007 where NU's only points came off of a kickoff return for touchdown by Stephen Simmons.

Also, Northwestern had won 6 consecutive games by double digits (spanning from last year's regular season finale vs. Illinois through the win over Maine), which is the second longest such streak in school history. The longest was a span of 7 double-digit wins in 1930, and there was also a streak of 6 in 1895.

NU has had a .500 or better overall record for 23 games running, which is the longest such streak since Fitzgerald's team had a run of 50 such games between 2007 and 2011. That 50 game streak at .500 or better is NU's longest streak in the modern era (the next closest would be 40 games between 1928 and 1932). The longest NU streak ever is 80 games over .500 between 1899 and 1909 (which included 2 years without playing as well as many local or lower level opponents).

Speaking of rankings, going back to the span of games starting with the Texas Bowl appearance versus Texas A&M in 2011 up until the OSU game this year, NU faced 18 consecutive unranked opponents (AP & Coaches), marking the longest such streak of unranked opponents NU has faced since the inception of the AP poll in 1936. Prior to that, the longest such streak was 15 games (vs. AP unranked, 1981-82).

Northwestern has been tabbed as a 13 point favorite this week versus Minnesota, marking the 43rd time that Fitz's team has been a favorite (35 games with a published line plus 8 games vs. FCS opponents). Fitz has gone 35-7 in these games (0.833), which compares favorably to his predecessors: Walker went 19-6 (0.760) and Barnett went 17-7 (0.708) as favorites. NU's last loss as a favorite was Sept. 2011 at Army, and the 'Cats' last home loss as a favorite was Oct. 2010 versus Purdue.

Not only is NU a favorite, but it is a double-digit favorite, and Fitz's teams have gone 13-1 (0.929) as a favorite by 10 or more points. In the same situation, Walker's teams went 9-5 (0.643) and Barnett's went 7-2 (0.777).

The Wildcats have won 6 straight games when appearing on ESPN2, and under Fitz are 9-6 when appearing on that network.

This week is NU's first 11AM (CT) kickoff of the season, which fares well for NU since under Fitz they are 35-19 in early kickoffs (0.648).

Over the last 15 regular season games (not counting the season opener), 7 of Northwestern's opponents were coming off of a bye, including this week's Gopher team. This is also the third time in that span the 'Cats have faced two consecutive opponents coming off of a bye. NU has gone 4-2 against the other opponents coming off of a bye in that span.

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