Anybody ever notice the job Pat Fitzgerald is doing?
Northwestern's 21-17 win over Iowa ensures the Wildcats third consecutive 7-win season. In 2008, Pat Fitzgerald's team won nine games. A year ago, the Wildcats won eight games and lost to Auburn on the dead last play of the game in the Outback Bowl.
Yet, outside of Colin Cowherd's "Fitz might be the single best coach in college football," @CoachFitz51 probably doesn't get as much credit as he should.
Following Northwestern's win on Saturday, Fitzgerald said, "I could not be more proud or pleased of our senior class. They will now be tied with last year's class as the winningest class in program history during the modern era. What a special day for them. They've earned it and they deserve it. We lift up this game to them and to all the seniors that have been here before us. It's been a long road for us to build a consistent winner, and to get to number seven gets us into postseason play, so we move forward from there.”
Iowa finished 2 of 14 on third-down opportunities. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa finished 32 of 43 passing including a number of drops. In reference to our “Come on, Fitz. Great Player, But ‘War Daddy?” article…Persa was much closer to “War Daddy” status than Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, who was completely gassed in the fourth quarter and finished with 2 tackles and 1 sack (-2).
Kirk Ferentz gave credit to Northwestern by saying, "If you look at the last two games going backwards, we turned it over and they didn't. Today, they just outplayed us. It was a good game, both teams played hard, and they're a good football team. I said that earlier in the week. If you look at [Northwestern's] seasons from the past two years, they've had two good football teams. They've played extremely well against us, they played well against Missouri in a bowl game, they played well last year against Auburn."
"They're well coached and they've got good players who make the plays you need to make. Two 7-3 teams today, and they were the better team today, that's for sure."
Unfortunately, Persa ruptured his Achilles and is now out for the year.
Willie Taggart goes for 2: I thought, 'Why not?' We needed a spark
Trailing 35-34 in overtime at Arkansas State, Willie Taggart opted for attempt a 2-point conversion to steal a win on the road.
Taggart’s decision worked out well for Western Kentucky as Derrius Brooks took a reverse around the left side for the 36-35 win.
Taggart said, “I told our guys earlier in the week that all we were missing was a come-from-behind win. Our guys came out and were relentless. They haven't quit all year. I'm proud of these guys, our coaching staff, and everyone just sticking together and believing in each other."
"The way our season has been going, I thought, ‘Why not?’ We needed a spark, and our guys wanted it."
Interestingly, Western Kentucky ran 93 plays, converted 9 of 22 third-down opportunities, and converted 3 of 5 fourth-down conversions. The Hilltoppers won the turnover margin, 5-1.
Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts said, "Obviously, you have to give Western Kentucky credit for the way that they played. Their kids have played hard all year and played with tremendous emotion today, and it showed in the way they jumped on us and in the way that they won. We came out flat and got it going too little too late. We allowed them to make the big plays."
The win notches Taggart his second win as a head coach. WKU is now 2-8 on the season.
Caldwell and Richt talk jobs. Big wins for Gundy, Spurrier, Wulff
Robbie Caldwell on if one season is enough for a fair evaluation: "I don’t know. That’s in their hands. I’m just excited about having the opportunity to sit here and witness and watch. Certainly, I’d love to be able to put a year’s worth of my stamp on it and have a good offseason and toughen them up mentally and physically and those type things.”
"But, hey, it is what it is. I’m excited and I’m going to work like crazy until they tell me to pack my bags."
Mark Richt’s response upon hearing Denver Post report that he is a candidate at Colorado: "Georgia’s my home. That’s the first I’ve heard of that.”
Quoting Mike Gundy following 33-16 win at Texas: “This was really special for Oklahoma State. I’m really happy for our fans. We want the Oklahoma State followers to wave their flag, stand tall and say they’re from Oklahoma State. I think tonight will help them do that.”
Quoting Mack Brown: “This was the best Oklahoma State team by far that we’ve seen.”
Spurrier reflects on special season: "Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. That doesn't sound possible."
Quoting Wazzu head coach Paul Wullf after defeating Oregon State: “I was so happy to see so many Cougar fans happy. I cannot have enough gratitude for their support and what they’ve been having to go through the last few years.”
"I think, just playing better and better football like we have all year and winning a conference game on the road. I think that hopefully shows that things have been continually moving toward this all year. … Hopefully, that’s what people see.”
Chip Kelly: All that matters is that we got 2 more points than them
Cal place-kicker Giorgio Tavecchio’s 29 yard field goal attempt sailed wide right on the first play of the fourth quarter. Tavecchio actually connected on the first attempt from 24 yards out, but was flagged for a false start. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, and Oregon escaped win a 15-13 victory.
Immediately following the game, Chip Kelly showed ZERO emotion and was short in his responses with a Versus network sideline reporter.
Kelly said, “We won. That’s all we care about.”
What about the unusual night for your offense and LaMichael James?
Kelly responded, “We don’t care about that. All that matters is that we got 2 more points than them. That’s all we talk about.”
What about the fight from the Cal Bears tonight?
“Winning on the road is a difficult thing to do.”
Oregon finished with 324 total yards. Cal gained just 192 yards in the game. The Bears were just 10 of 28 passing for 65 yards.
Spurrier: God's smiling on the Gamecocks tonight
South Carolina won the SEC East win the Gamecocks’ 36-14 win at Florida.
Immediately following the game, Spurrier talked with ESPN’s Holly Rowe.
Spurrier said, “Our defense was outstanding tonight. Of course, we got Marcus Lattimore, which gives us a chance against just about anyone.”
“(Tonight) was great for South Carolina, our state, and our team. It’s ironic (for me to win it in The Swamp). God’s smiling on the Gamecocks tonight. That’s for sure.”
South Carolina will play Auburn in the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
TCU offensive line coach suffers heart attack
During his halftime interview on the Versus network, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said offensive line coach Eddie Williamson suffered a heart attack during the early part of the game.
Williamson is reportedly in stable condition at a nearby hospital.
We'll have more on this story as information comes available.
Skip Holtz: It was a total team win
Skip Holtz and South Florida picked up a 24-21 overtime win at Louisville. Holtz described the performance as a “total team win.”
“Wow. Great win for the program. Great win for the program. We talked to our players all week the score the last three years which was 104 to 39 or something like that. I keep hearing South Florida has never won at Louisville. A lot of challenges we put on this team.”
“We had a little bit of plane problems last night. Got in the hotel about 10:30 pm last night. You almost felt like we went from Thurdsay to they were putting the ball on the tee.”
“Our guys handled the adjustment a lot of credit. At the end of the day, I think this came down to a total team win.”
“Statistically, this game wasn’t pretty. Third-down, we weren’t very good. We kept having to punt the game….we didn’t punt it as well as we wanted. We didn’t execute as an offense as well as we wanted. We let them run the ball too much where Powell goes 31 carries for 150 yards. You can look at all those things as negatives, but they believed, competed, encouraged each other….It was a GREAT team win.”
South Florida is now 6-3 on the season.
Down 35-0 at halftime, Steve Fairchild tweets
Trailing BYU 35-0 at halftime, Colorado State head coach @CoachFairchild tweeted, "As bad a half as we've ever had. Going to try like hell to play better for these seniors."
At least he gets to coach the second half in snow flurries.
You can follow all of the head coaches in the FootballScoop Twitter Center.