Northwestern Football: Wildcat Seniors Not Up to Pat Fitzgerald's Challenge

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIOctober 26, 2011

Pat Fitzgerald Challenges His Seniors
Pat Fitzgerald Challenges His SeniorsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Saturday, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald shook up his defense and challenged the seniors.

Fitzgerald apparently had seen enough poor defense of late and benched four of his defensive regulars. David Arnold replaced Ibraheim Campbell at safety, Quentin Williams replaced Vince Browne at end, and Damien Proby and Chi Chi Ariguzo replaced linebackers David Nwabuisi and Bryce McNaul.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported in his postgame article that Fitzgerald told his seniors prior to Northwestern's 34-24 loss to Penn State,"You're either going to have six opportunities (remaining) or seven—you choose."

The shake up and challenge produced the same results, less than 60 minutes of effort. Only this time the defensive effort was lacking in the first half.

Penn State scored on every possession in the first half, scoring 27 points and taking a 27-24 lead into halftime.

Penn State QB Matt McGloin enjoyed one of his best performances of the season. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, while tailback Silas Redd rushed for 164 yards and one touchdown.

Northwestern senior quarterback Dan Persa enjoyed another successful day. Persa completed 26 of 34 passes for 294 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately, early in the fourth quarter Persa left the game with an apparent turf-toe injury on his left foot.

Fitzgerald gave an update on Persa in his Monday press conference.

"Right now we've got him in a boot, so right now he'll be questionable for the game. I'll probably be able to let you know more on Thursday," Fitzgerald said.

Saturday Fitzgerald and the Wildcats head to Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana to face the Indiana Hoosiers. Kickoff is set for noon EDT and one of these teams will walk away with their first Big Ten win of the season. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.