Big Ten: Chris Farley
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Pat Fitzgerald's mantra this season has been "Flush It," a phrase the Northwestern head coach borrowed from a book written by former Pacific Lutheran coach Frosty Westering.
Whether the Wildcats win or lose, make a big play or a critical mistake, Fitzgerald demands that they "flush it" and move on.
But after Saturday's error-ridden loss to Indiana, Northwestern needed more than a two-word pick-me-up. Not only did the Wildcats commit five turnovers in the game, but they lost starting running back Tyrell Sutton to a major wrist injury and starting quarterback C.J. Bacher to a hamstring injury that could keep him out this week.
When the players reconvened, Fitzgerald told them to "flush" the game. But he also found another way to recharge the team for this week's trip to No. 17 Minnesota (ESPN2, noon ET).
Fitzgerald called upon the man living in the van down by the river.
"I brought in a special motivational speaker this morning," Fitzgerald deadpanned at today's news conference. "They took to him pretty well. Matt Foley spoke to the team this morning. So I think we're doing fine."
Foley, of course, is the fictional character portrayed brilliantly by the late Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live in the early to mid-1990s. Farley died in 1997, but Fitzgerald brought Foley back to life by showing the team clips from the hysterical SNL sketches.
Northwestern's campus borders Lake Michigan, so perhaps Foley relocated his van down by the lake?
"I don't know," Fitzgerald said, smiling. "He says river."
Lightening the mood could be a good strategy after such a damaging loss, but Northwestern will need a sharper focus against Minnesota.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State