Pat Fitzgerald knew that Northwestern was going to have to play perfect football to beat Ohio State.
And they largely did, at least in the first half. The Wildcats took a 10-6 lead into the locker room and stymied the Buckeyes for just about three quarters. Then, Trey Sermon took over, to the tune of a school record 331 rushing yards, and Northwestern ultimately fell 22-10.
Northwestern holding the Buckeyes to 22 points is a feat in itself, but only scoring 10 (with three turnovers) is not going to get the job done, and Fitzgerald acknowledged as much after the game.
Fitz: "Offensively, we're going to look at this tape and see missed opportunities. We're building a championship-level program. To not get it done today was really disappointing."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 19, 2020
Fitzgerald was also quite complimentary of the Buckeyes, saying Ohio State has "as much talent as everybody to go compete for a national championship, and they're Big Ten champs. If you're an undefeated champion here, in my humble opinion, you deserve to compete for a national title."
Northwestern falls to 5-2 with the loss, likely ending their hopes of a New Years 6 bowl bid under first-year starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey. The Wildcats are now 105-81 under Fitzgerald with two conference championship game appearances.
Congratulations to @ryandaytime & @OhioStateFB, they earned every inch. Proud of our entire football family for getting here - and our fans for being behind us - but just getting here isnt the goal. If you were surprised to see us this time, dont be next time! #GoCats pic.twitter.com/eAf6tuZ7hZ— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) December 19, 2020