Walker fatigued but feeling fine

Tania Ganguli

Northwestern coach Randy Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game due to a heart condition that resulted in him spending two nights at Evanston Hospital. But Walker coached the Wildcats’ game against Purdue from the sidelines, and his doctor joined him just to keep an eye on his condition. After the game, Walker said he felt fine but was a little bit tired.

“I’ve been on my feet today more than I’ve been all week,” Walker said. “They checked me out briefly, and they feel good about where things are at.”

Walker was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, on Tuesday afternoon.

Running back Noah Herron said he worried about Walker during the game and during the week when he coached from a golf cart.

“I’d sit there looking at him and think he’s going to fall out,” Herron said. “I feel like his dad sometimes.”

Knocked knee

Another victory over a 17th-ranked team, another knee injury for receiver Mark Philmore.

Just after Mark Philmore caught a 10-yard pass from Brett Basanez in the Cats’ final drive of the game, he collapsed on the field.

The receiver sprained his right knee and is questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker said the injury did not seem to be surgical, and the team hopes to know more about his condition Monday.

Philmore hurt his left knee last season during NU’s 16-7 win over then-No. 17 Wisconsin and was out for the rest of the regular season.

“At first I thought he was being smart and getting us an extra time out,” Basanez said. “But then he wasn’t getting up.”

Punt problems

After being critical of special team performance last week, Walker decided to make some changes.

Ryan Pederson replaced Brian Huffman on punts and kickoffs. Pederson averaged 34.4 yards per punt but punted a 10- and 12 -yarder in the third quarter. Those punts elicited boos from the crowd on his next punt.

“It fed me,” Pederson said. “I really felt that it was a calling for me to hit some good punts, and I think I answered that.”

Reach Tania Ganguli at [email protected]