2006 Northwestern Wildcats football team

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2006 Northwestern Wildcats football
NorthwesternWildcats.png
Conference Big Ten Conference
2006 record 4–8 (2–6 Big Ten)
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald
Home stadium Ryan Field (Capacity: 47,130)
Seasons
« 2005 2007 »
2006 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#2/2 Ohio State   8 0         12 1  
#7/5 Wisconsin   7 1         12 1  
#8/9 Michigan   7 1         11 2  
#24/25 Penn State   0* 3         0* 4  
Purdue   5 3         8 6  
Minnesota   3 5         6 7  
Indiana   3 5         5 7  
Iowa   2 6         6 7  
Northwestern   2 6         4 8  
Michigan State   1 7         4 8  
Illinois   1 7         2 10  
† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative

The 2006 Northwestern Wildcats football team represented Northwestern University in the Big Ten Conference during the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Head coach Randy Walker died unexpectedly on June 29, 2006 of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. Pat Fitzgerald, seen by many before the tragedy as Walker's eventual successor, was promoted from linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator to head coach on July 7. The Wildcats also had to replace their offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and Brett Basanez, the team's former four-year starter at quarterback and holder of dozens of school records. Not surprisingly, the 2006 season was not as successful as previous years.

Northwestern began their season with a win at Miami, Walker's alma mater, in an emotional game that featured several tributes to the late coach.[1] However, the season went downhill from there. The second game was a blowout loss to I-AA New Hampshire. The low point of the season came on October 21 with a home loss to Michigan State in which the Spartans staged the largest comeback in Division I-A history. A win against Illinois in the final game gave the Wildcats a 4–8 record for the year and saved them from finishing last in the Big Ten. The high point of the season, despite coming in defeat, was Northwestern's surprisingly close and competitive play against undefeated and #3 ranked Michigan. Despite being held to -13 rushing yards, the Wildcats came with-on one-possession of tying the game early in the third quarter and prevented the Wolverines from scoring in the fourth quarter en route to a 17–3 final.

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 31 6:30 PM at Miami (Ohio)* Yager StadiumOxford, OH ESPNU W 21–3   20,476
September 9 1:00 PM New Hampshire* Ryan FieldEvanston, IL L 17–34   20,108
September 16 1:00 PM Eastern Michigan* Ryan Field • Evanston, IL W 14–6   21,935
September 22 7:00 PM at Nevada* Mackay StadiumReno, NV ESPN2 L 21–31   16,176
September 30 2:30 PM at Penn State Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA ABC L 7–33   108,837
October 7 11:00 AM at Wisconsin Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI ESPN+ L 9–41   81,704
October 14 11:00 AM Purdue Ryan Field • Evanston, IL ESPN+ L 10–31   27,171
October 21 11:00 AM Michigan Statedagger Ryan Field • Evanston, IL ESPN+ L 38–41   29,387
October 28 11:00 AM at #2 Michigan Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI ESPN L 3–17   109,114
November 4 11:00 AM at Iowa Kinnick StadiumIowa City, IA ESPN+ W 21–7   70,585
November 11 2:30 PM #1 Ohio State Ryan Field • Evanston, IL ABC L 10–54   47,130
November 18 12:00 PM Illinois Ryan Field • Evanston, IL ESPN360 W 27–16   22,242
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Central Time.

References[edit]