EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald held his weekly press conference Monday. Here are some notes:
-- Two players who left Saturday’s game early with injuries (Venric Mark and Kain Colter) are listed as day-to-day. Colter returned to the game after aggravating an ankle tweak he suffered during practice last Tuesday, while Mark, who also injured his ankle, did not return. "I think both guys will be day-to-day. We'll hope to have those guys going later in the week," Fitzgerald said of Mark and Colter.
-- After putting up some of the best offensive numbers in the Big Ten over its first five games of the season, Northwestern registered just 241 yards of total offense against Wisconsin. A seven-play drive early in the first quarter that ended in a field goal (and spanned 3 minutes 32 seconds) was the best stretch of offense the Wildcats put together all game. Fitzgerald attributed the offensive struggles to poor execution and dropped passes. “We had too many drops, that’s the bottom-line,” he said.
-- To lighten the mood after a punishing loss, players were “attacked” with water balloons at the end of a team meeting Monday morning. Fitzgerald’s explanation: “Once in a while, you gotta shake ‘em up a little.” Whatever the effect on Northwestern’s players, there was plenty of grumbling from the assembled media, and for good reason: my jeans are soaked from sitting in the same seats players were ambushed in this morning.
-- While Minnesota doesn’t have as many big-name players as Ohio State and Wisconsin, one guy to keep an eye on is defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, a likely future first-round draft pick. “I’m glad he’s a senior,” Fitzgerald said of the 6-foot-6, 311-pound lineman.
-- Saturday’s game against Minnesota is an 11 AM kickoff. This is the second straight week Northwestern will face an opponent coming off its bye week.