Oct. 15, 2013
Full News Conference (All-Access)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Head coach Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern aim to get back to their winning ways when they play their first Legends Division game of the Big Ten season Saturday, hosting Minnesota at 11 a.m. at Ryan Field. The game will air live on ESPN2 and be carried on the radio by WGN720.
NORTHWESTERN PITCHES IN WITH SPECIAL GAMEDAY INITIATIVES
In an effort to make Northwestern Football available to all interested fans, Northwestern Athletics announced that Saturday's game vs. Minnesota will be a Peanut-Free Day at Ryan Field. According to FoodAllergy.org, the number of children in the U.S. with peanut allergies more than tripled between 1997 and 2008, with even casual or airborne contact with peanut residue can potentially triggering a severe reaction for those allergic. Ryan Field is believed to be among the first college venues to host an entirely peanut-free event.
Once again this year, NU has entered the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Game Day Recycling Challenge to highlight and promote football game recycling. In support of this effort, Northwestern is supplying student volunteers in the tailgate lots before and after the game and in stadium aisles during timeouts to promote and collect recycling items among fans. For more on the Game Day Recycling Challenge and to do your part to pitch in, visit GamedayChallenge.org.
Gameday Promotions (Call 888-GO-PURPLE for more information on any of the following promotions):
Wildcat Alley Fan Fest Presented by Cricket Wireless: Wildcat Alley is the FREE pregame fan fest area located only 100 yards northeast of Ryan Field. Wildcat Alley opens three hours before kickoff at each home game. Wildcat Alley is fun for guests of all ages and features interactive games, face painting, giveaways, Willie the Wildcat, cheerleaders, a performance by the Northwestern marching band and much more. For more information on Wildcat Alley or the new Wildcat Alley Tailgate Garden, CLICK HERE
Family Weekend: Family members of current Northwestern students are invited to Evanston to experience the spirit that embraces our campus. This weekend provides a snapshot of the campus culture, the community's academic excellence and the energy that moves from the seats of Ryan Field down through the Arch. For more information on this great weekend, CLICK HERE.
Fans are reminded that parking in the lots on the east and west sides of Ryan Field is restricted only to season ticket holders who are in possession of a season-long parking pass. If you do not have a parking pass, please head directly to the FREE lots on campus to park. Please be advised that due to ongoing construction on Northwestern's lakefront campus -- specifically at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center -- parking will be limited this fall. All free lots on campus are available on a first-come, first-earned basis, and tailgating IS permitted in these lots. Free shuttles run between campus and Ryan Field before, during and after games.
Additionally, Ryan Field is conveniently located less than three blocks away from both the CTA Purple Line (Central Street station) and the Metra (Central Street/Evanston Station). Visit transitchicago.com or metrarail.com for gameday transit schedules.
Northwestern Game Notes
Defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz' unit has been on a tear in the turnover department over the last 10 games the Wildcats have played. Consider:
* NU ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and fifth nationally in total takeaways with 17 (13 INTs, four FR). Last season, NU finished in a tie for 20th in the country with 29 turnovers gained.
* NU's 13 interceptions at the midway point of the season already match their total for a full 13- game season a year ago. The Northwestern record for interceptions in a season is 20, set in
1948 (10 games) and 2005 (12 games).
* Northwestern has notched at least one INT in each of the last 10 games it has played dating to
last season, collecting 23 total picks in those 10 games.
* The 23 interceptions since Nov. 10, 2012, are the most in the country in that timeframe
(Arizona State and Buffalo are tied for second with 19).
* The last FBS team with 23+ interceptions in a 10-game span was Oregon, which also had 23
last season between Sept. 22 and Jan. 1. Northwestern, however, is the first Big Ten team since at least 1996
with 23 interceptions in any 10-game span.
Since the beginning of 2012, junior LB Chi Chi Ariguzo has gained a reputation as a "right place, right time" defender. Ariguzo has four interceptions and five fumble recoveries since the start of last year, with his five recoveries moving him into a tie for fifth all-time at Northwestern. He also has seized the team lead for total tackles on the year with 52, four more than Damien Proby in second. Ariguzo's 8.7 tackles per game are fourth-best in the Big Ten, and his 5.5 solo tackles per outing place him fourth among all Big Ten defenders and 36th in the nation -- a testament to his ability to win the battle at the point of attack.
QB Kain Colter is well-known for being a dual-threat with his arm and his legs, and Saturday he has a chance to become a 2,000-yard man two times over. Colter enters the game with an eerily similar 1,979 career passing yards and 1,954 career rushing yards, moving him into 10th on the school's career rushing list and 11th all-time in total offense. Additionally, with four rushing TDs this season, Colter has brought his career total to 27 rushing touchdowns, tied with Noah Herron for fifth-most all-time at Northwestern.
Northwestern enters Saturday's matchup having won five of the last six meetings with Minnesota since 2007, with NU suffering its lone defeat in its 2009 Big Ten opener (a 35-24 Gopher win at Ryan Field). The two teams have had a penchant for staging some nail-biters over the last decade, beginning with Northwestern's fourth-quarter comeback from a 14-point deficit in 2000, which culminated in Zak Kustok's Hail Mary pass being caught in the end zone on the final play of the game.
On Oct. 10, Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced that Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill is continuing to take time to focus on his medical treatment and better manage his Epilepsy. Kill most recently was forced to miss Minnesota's Oct. 5 road game at Michigan. As he has done in previous situations, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach while Kill is away. Claeys is in his 19th year as a member of Kill's staff.
Redshirt freshman tight end Maxx Williams has 10 catches this year for 153 yards. He has two touchdowns this year, which leads all Minnesota receivers. Williams had a breakout game at Michigan, where he caught five passes (one touchdown) for 54 yards. Dating back to last season, four of Minnesota's last six passing touchdowns have gone to a tight end.
Download the PDFs linked at the top of the page for complete Northwestern and Minnesota game notes.
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