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October 14, 2013
EVANSTON-After getting mauled by Wisconsin on Saturday, the Wildcats found themselves under siege once again on Monday morning.
This attack, though, was much more light-hearted.
As Northwestern's morning meeting came to a close, coaches and staffers appeared with coolers full of water balloons and began to pelt the team. The players never really had a chance.
"It was very much of a surprise," Chance Carter said.
For this team, which has lost two games in a row despite high expectations for the season, the barrage gave them a chance to relax and have fun. As his team heads into a must-win game against Minnesota, Pat Fitzgerald said he thinks enjoying the moment and getting back to the basics will help his team be successful.
So, despite the 35-6 drubbing the Cats took on Saturday, Fitzgerald chose not to chew out his team. He's got other methods of motivating the team.
"You pelt 'em with water balloons, man," Fitzgerald said. "We've got a darn good football team. That's what you do, you just get back going at what you do."
Though the Cats sit at 0-2 in conference play, Michigan's loss to Penn State means Northwestern is still very much alive. Though the team will likely need to win out to get to Indianapolis, the possibility of a title game appearance still exists.
For now, however, the team will focus internally.
"We don't talk about those things until they matter," Fitzgerald said. "We're right in the heart of the grind here in October."
And, at least in Fitzgerald's mind, water balloons are the way to minimize the pressure.
At the very least, it's a good thing he chose to soak the players. He said the media was on his mind, as well.
The sacks allowed on Saturday were a bit misleading, Fitzgerald said, as several of them came outside of the pocket. He only attributed two sacks to offensive line miscues.
Both Colter and Venric Mark are listed as "day-to-day." Fitz hopes to get them back as the week progresses.
Northwestern donated its allocated amount of Penn State's bowl revenues to several different charities.