OK, so senior defensive tackle Bo Cisek failed to gain a yard in two carries and then ended up fumbling on his second carry. Still, Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern fans loved every moment of Cisek’s cameo on the field during Northwestern’s 50-14 win over Illinois.
As the Big Ten Network broadcast explained, the No. 1 jersey for Northwestern is given to the player that works the hardest and earns the right to wear it. It does not go to a superstar or a big-name player, it goes to the grunt that never touches the ball and rarely sees the field. Cisek did see the field as the upback on punts.
One could certainly say putting Cisek in at running back was running things up a bit. It was. But it was also a reward for the walk on for all the hard work he put in over the years in practice with little reward or recognition from the outside. You could see it on the bench with his teammates and with Fitzgerald how much they reveled in Cisek getting his rewards.
Cisek is just one of the 16 seniors who played their final game at Ryan Field last week. Among the celebrated the class — the first class in Northwestern history to know a bowl game for all five years they have been at Northwestern (four years, plus the redshirt year for those that sat out a season) — is safety Hunter Bates, defensive end Quentin Williams, linebacker David Nwabuisi, offensive lineman Brian Mulroe, offensive lineman Patrick Ward, safety Jared Carpenter, wide receiver Demetrius Fields and defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt.
Each senior, both listed here and otherwise, has made a positive contribution to this program. LTP did a good job recapping those accomplishments last week.
What made this group really special was how they rallied together and led this team after last season’s struggles. Pat Fitzgerald has called this one of the closest groups he has coached and that certainly starts with the work the senior class did as the team’s leaders.
And you could see all the warmth, camaraderie and accomplishment at work on the field last Saturday. Even when Cisek lost the ball, the group was patting him on the back and reveling in their time on the field together. Lifting the Land of Lincoln Trophy made it all the more sweeter. A bowl win is all that is left to accomplish.
Karly Roser, Women’s Basketball: Sophomore guard Karly Roser scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a balanced effort 80-53 win over Loyola this weekend. She also had 11 points and seven assists in a 83-75 win over Yale earlier in the week. The Wildcats are 5-0 on the season and have also gotten some great play from forward Danielle Diamant. This week should offer a challenge with a trip to Boston College.
Jared Swopshire, Men’s Basketball: If there was any concern about Jared Swopshire transferring from Louisville to Northwestern, those should be put to rest. Swopshire was named the MVP of the South Padre Island Invitational as Northwestern won the tournament by defeating Illinois State in overtime last Saturday. Swopshire posted 15 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game and had 15 points and five rebounds against TCU. If there is one thing you can say about Swopshire early on is that he is consistent. Swopshire is averaging 12.0 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game for the Wildcats.
Tara Puffenberger and Chelsea Armstrong, Field Hockey: Northwestern’s top two goal scorers were named to the Division I All-America team today for fantastic offensive seasons for Northwestern. Armstrong was named to the first team while Puffenberger was named to the third team. It was the third time Armstrong had been named to an All America team. She scored 29 goals this season, an NU single season record. Puffenberger made her first All America team in her first season with NU after transferring from Virginia.