After a loss to Maryland two weeks ago, where the ‘Cats actually played well at times, Northwestern traveled to Iowa City last Saturday only to get thumped by the Hawkeyes.
Losing to Miami of Ohio and SIU earlier this year was embarrassing enough, as Northwestern beat Nebraska in the season opener and had high hopes for an easy schedule to start the season. Yet, last week’s loss against Iowa may have sucked any remaining life out of this 1-7 team.
Giving up 33 points to a team having averaged 14 all year, making Spencer Petras look good and allowing over 170 yards on the ground to a bad run team marks the end of any hope there’s to be had for this squad.
And Northwestern plays No. 2 Ohio State at home this week. On Parents’ Weekend; who thought that was a good idea?
Ohio State, riding high after a quality win against a solid Penn State team, currently sits at 8-0. Let’s not mince words. The Buckeyes are going to come to Evanston and knock the ‘Cats out of Ryan Field, forcing students to look ahead to the winter sports season and the prospect of at least staying warm during games.
Northwestern looks lifeless right now. Even Evan Hull, who’s been the offensive answer all year for the ‘Cats, sputtered on Saturday, gaining only 32 yards on the ground. The defense continues to look like swiss cheese against the run and with the plethora of talent on the offensive side of the ball for Ohio State, C.J. Stroud and Co. are going to find success.
With scouts guaranteed to be in attendance to watch an Ohio State team loaded with NFL talent, the best thing the ‘Cats could have happen is have their own high-ranked prospects, Peter Skoronski and Adetomiwa Adebawore, play well against one of the best teams in the nation.
With four games left in the year, and no potential of turning the season around, Northwestern needs to look toward the future. In these last few weeks of the season, Pat Fitzgerald needs to get some younger guys involved, give some other players a chance and not be afraid to crack down on implementing the culture he wants this football team to have. There will inevitably be changes to this squad next year, as having one win in eight games is not something the ‘Cats want to make the norm. For now, however, the ‘Cats will ride the wave, try and make games interesting and go out and have fun.
At this point it’s all they can do.