Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Regan: All wins aren’t created equal

This was supposed to be a tasty, frosted cakewalk. Instead, despite an advantage on paper in just about everything, Northwestern managed to stink up the three-quarters empty kitten box known as Ryan Field and let a sorry Eastern Michigan team keep tabs with a wannabe major conference power.

Or maybe this is just the state of Big Ten football these days. Considering the rest of the dismal outings by other members of the league, maybe the Wildcats are lucky.

Moments after Stefan Demos hit a monster 49-yard field goal for the 27-24 NU win, the team went over to the depleted student section and lead the band in the fight song.

Sadly, the band played and the fans cheered their heroes rather than boo the victors off the field.

“It’s exciting to win, I know that,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It’s great to be 1-0 today. You feel a lot better, you feel you can coach guys harder and get after them, and be a little but more demanding.”

I sure hope so, for this season’s sake.

Yes, they won and I love to see the Cats win as much as the next fan, but this game was straight-up embarrassing. I would be ashamed if I was the coach of this team.

Additionally, this sets a bad precedent that the team can take a half off and still eke out a win. Aside from Demos’ two field goals and the play of the linebackers, there weren’t many bright spots in this game.

NU gave up a 21-0 advantage and mustered just six points in the second half. When the team finally arose from their hour-long siesta, the score was tied at 24 with less than three minutes to play, thanks in part to a porous NU defensive line. If fans were expecting quarterback Mike Kafka to channel a Brett Favre-type two-minute drill, they were to be disappointed.

Thanks to several consecutive penalties and questionable throws to the middle with time running out, the Cats had to pin their hopes on an unproven talent in Demos. That is not a smart way to play.

“We need to execute better in all aspects,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s easy when you see the ball run the way it was today, to point the finger at the defensive line. But I’m not prepared to do that yet. I need to watch some video.”

Hopefully, after Fitzgerald watches some video, he can assign blame both in the locker room and in the mirror.

While some coaches use these non-conference games as in-season tune-ups, the game needs to be safely out-of-reach before backup players start showing up.

When Scott Concannon is running horizontal, NU is not a threatening team, and ditto when Dan Persa makes an ineffective cameo.

Cats Nation does not need Charlie Weis-type blood pressure with close calls every week. Follow the lead of our national championship-winning women’s lacrosse team and keep the pedal to the metal until the final whistle blows. Run up the score and deal with the ethics later.

I don’t care.

In a program with a history of blowing leads, I’m sick of this, especially against inferior opponents.

Despite the win, I can only fear for next week’s game on the road against the Greg Paulus-led Syracuse Orange.

While it can be debated whether NU should continue to play cupcakes like Eastern Michigan and Towson and underachievers like Syracuse, the truth is that the Cats without a doubt play to level of their competition.

And in this case, that is not helping anyone.

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Regan: All wins aren’t created equal