By Paul M. Banks
You know itâ€™s a big game for Northwestern when Ronnie Woo Woo is in the house. However, plenty of people with much more juice than Mr. Woo (or is it Mr. Woo Woo?) were at Ryan Field for Northwesternâ€™s 48-26 Homecoming win over Purdue. Representatives from the Rose Bowl, as well as the Big Tenâ€™s second and third place bowls (those games both possess corporate names) were on hand as well as NU Alum and Olympic Gold-Medalist Matt Grevers, who served as Homecoming Grand Marshal. â€œBeing here is incredible, Iâ€™ve bled purple for quite some time and I grew up in the area, so it really meant something today to be here on the field. It was a warm, fuzzy feeling,â€ he said. Grevers won the silver medal in the 100m backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and was a part of two Gold Medal winning relay teams. After my interview, he let me hold his Gold Medal.
Also attending was All-American offensive tackle Chris Hinton, who served as honorary Co-Captain. Hinton played 13 years in the NFL and made seven Pro Bowl appearances. All the notables and dignitaries saw the Wildcats pick off Purdue Quarterback Curtis Painter (the Big Ten signal caller with the highest NFL Draft potential) three times and beat the Boilermakers very decisively. Weâ€™ve all heard the exceedingly shopworn football clichÃ© â€œwe start 0-0 each weekâ€ or â€œwe just try to go 1-0 every week.â€ However, in Evanston they have an interesting spin on that specific platitude. The players and coaches talk about â€œflushing itâ€ each week. Win or lose, flush the last gameâ€™s mindset and move on to the next one. Their 6th win secures bowl eligibility, so how will they “flush” a â€œbowlâ€ clinching win? Pun intended!
With a 6-1 start, an increased buzz is inevitable. â€œThereâ€™s something special going on here at Northwestern. You guys can sense it that have been around for awhile and those of you that are here for the first time, donâ€™t be a stranger cuz thereâ€™s something special going on at our campus and itâ€™s starting to feel the same as when I was a student-athlete here,â€ Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald said at the post game press conference, comparing the current atmosphere to that of his playing days while a member of the last Northwestern Rose Bowl team.