In only a few short hours the Northwestern Wildcats will play in their third bowl in as many years against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Rather than going into the game with a sense of anticipation, however, many Northwestern fans have been viewing the game with something closer to trepidation, if not sheer panic. The reason? The absence of starting quarterback Dan Persa, who suffered a tear to his achilles during the Iowa Hawkeyes game that prematurely ended his season.
Persa was pretty much the entirety of the Northwestern offense, and his absence showed. The Wildcats were blown out in their last two games against Illinois and Wisconsin, and Persa's replacement, Evan Watkins, looked anything but capable. The defense has been on shaky ground all season, and the offensive line has been borderline awful at points, allowing an absurd 3.3 sacks per game. But, Northwestern has been an underdog before in both of their most recent bowl games and they managed to take it to the wire then. Though Pat Fitzgerald had several weeks to prepare for this game, the question remains... was he able to fix the problems in time?
Kickoff is at 11:00 A.M. on ESPNU.