NCAAF Game Preview - Massachusetts at Northwestern
Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:00 PM EST

LSU
58
Miss
37
F
OHSt
56
Rut
21
F
Wake
3
Clem
52
F
Ala
38
MisSt
7
F
UGA
21
Aub
14
F
Ariz
6
Oreg
34
F
Minn
19
Iowa
23
F
UCLA
3
Utah
49
F
Ind
27
PSU
34
F
Okla
34
Bayl
31
F
Fla
23
Mizzu
6
F
MSU
10
Mich
44
F
Wisc
37
Neb
21
F
Navy
20
ND
52
F
Cin
20
SoFL
17
F
Mem
45
Hou
27
F
NM
9
Boise
42
F
Tex
21
IASt
23
F
Kans
13
OkSt
31
F
E Mi
42
Akr
14
F
WestMI
37
Ohio
34
F OT
NIU
31
Toled
28
F
BGSU
3
MiaOH
44
F
Buff
27
Kent
30
F
UNC
27
Pitt
34
F OT
LaTec
10
Marsh
31
F
Fres
7
SDSU
17
F
Tul
21
Temp
29
F
TCU
33
TxTch
31
F
UMass
6
NW
45
F
AlaSt
12
FlaSt
49
F
VMI
6
Army
47
F
UTEP
10
UAB
37
F
Troy
63
TxSt
27
F
CoCar
27
ArkSt
28
F
ULMon
29
GaSo
51
F
IdSt
10
BYU
42
F
C Mi
45
Ball
44
F
KY
38
Vand
14
F
WVU
24
K St
20
F
VaTec
45
GATec
0
F
(N/A)
28
NMSt
41
F
Hawaii
21
UNLV
7
F
Wyo
21
UtSt
26
F
Syr
49
Duke
6
F
Stan
22
WaSt
49
F
Rice
31
MidTN
28
F
ULLaf
37
SoAl
27
F
SMiss
36
UTSA
17
F
AF
38
ColSt
21
F
App
56
GASt
27
F
AzSt
34
OreSt
35
F
SCar
6
TxAM
30
F
Lou
34
NCSt
20
F
USC
41
Cal
17
F
UMass-Northwestern Preview
Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:03 AM

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Northwestern gets a break from Big Ten play and maybe a reprieve from all this losing. Consider that one big “maybe.”

The stumbling Wildcats will try again to steady themselves and break a seven-game losing streak when they host UMass in a matchup of one-win teams Saturday.

“This game, it mirrors life,” left tackle Rashawn Slater said. “If we quit now, what will that say about us? We have great families, come from great places and we don’t back down.”

The Wildcats (1-8) became the first team to go from playing in the Big Ten championship game since its inception to 2011 to finishing last in its division the following season. With a 24-22 loss to Purdue last week, they matched their worst skid since 2013. They also fell to 0-7 in conference play and clinched a spot at the bottom of the division.

“We just want to win by one,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to get a win.”

Northwestern hasn’t lost eight straight or gone winless in conference play since 1998, Gary Barnett’s final season. The Wildcats went 0-8 in the Big Ten and 3-9 overall, three years after he led them on a stunning run to the Rose Bowl that captured the nation’s imagination.

Now, the best Wildcats can hope for is matching the worst record in Fitzgerald’s 14 seasons. The 2006 team went 4-8 after he took over following the unexpected death of Randy Walker.

Northwestern would have to win its final three games, and the schedule isn’t promising.

No. 7 Minnesota visits next week, before a trip to surging Illinois to close out the season. An unexpected hat trick would give Fitzgerald (97-78) - by far the program’s winningest coach - 100 victories.

Before they can think about the Gophers (9-0, 6-0) or Illini (6-4, 3-4), the Wildcats have to get past the Minutemen. UMass (1-9) got blown out 63-7 at Army last week for its fifth straight loss since beating winless Akron in September.

“Maybe if we were (8-1) in the Big Ten (we would have to guard against a letdown),” Fitzgerald said. “This year? No. Not at all.”

STRUGGLING OFFENSE, STRUGGLING DEFENSE

Northwestern broke out somewhat on offense last week with three touchdowns, after getting shredded a combined 106-6 by Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana. The Wildcats still ranked 127th of 130 teams in total offense and 129th in scoring through the Purdue game. UMass has been just as bad on the other side of the ball. The Minutemen are giving up more points per game (53.1) and yards (569.6) than any other team.

RECORD IN REACH

Senior defensive end Joe Gaziano needs just a half-sack to tie the program record of 28 by Casey Dailey from 1994 to 1997. Gaziano and junior linebacker Paddy Fisher are the nation’s active leaders with 10 career forced fumbles each.

BIG RETURNS

One bright spot for UMass is Isaiah Rodgers. The senior leads the nation with a school-record 1,133 kickoff return yards this year and ranks fourth on the Minutemen’s all-time list with 34 pass breakups.

UNFAMILIAR FOES

This will be the first meeting between Northwestern and Massachusetts. Why did Fitzgerald schedule this game?

“I don’t exactly remember how it worked itself out,” he said. “I think we needed a game in this year. The Big Ten moving some games around forced us to have to find someone later in the season.”

The Wildcats had a week off following the season-opening loss at Stanford. Fitzgerald figured the early bye after facing a tough opponent out west would give his team time to recharge. Northwestern then beat UNLV at home. But Fitzgerald acknowledged in hindsight he might have done things differently.

HURTING

Northwestern lost tailback Kyric McGowan and right tackle Gunnar Vogel to injuries last week. Vogel will miss the remainder of the season. McGowan - who ran for 146 yards and a touchdown against Purdue - is out indefinitely, Fitzgerald said.

---

More AP college football: http://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Team Record Comparison

Massachusetts Northwestern
Standings
Rec
Away/Home
Streak