Pat Fitzgerald led Northwestern to a 10-3 record last fall with a bowl victory over Mississippi State to wrap up the season. While their run game ranked in the top 25 nationally (19th- 226 ypg) and they averaged nearly 32 points per game offensively, Fitz told Total College Sports that their defense was likely the biggest reason for their success and was the most improved unit on the field in the fall.
After getting off to a slow start, and improving as the year went on, the defense found their footing and showed flashes of dominance toward the end of the season. Defensively, the Wildcats ranked 21st in run defense (128 ypg), 33rd in pass efficiency defense (119.87) , 47th in total defense (378 ypg), and 29th in scoring defense (23 ppg).
While that's prety solid, Fitz explained that none of that really matters at the end of the day. The only stat that really matters is wins.
"We've got to start faster than we did a year ago. If you watched our defense as the year went along we really improved. We gave up some big yardage totals early in the season and I think that hurt us as far as national stats."
"Frankly though, I think stats are for losers. The only stat that matters is wins at the end of the year."
Hear more from coach Fitz below, including what it's going to take to get Northwestern in the national title hunt.