Northwestern is 5-0. It hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in any game.
And it already has eclipsed its 2019 season win-total.
But the Wildcats, sure to advance above their No. 19 ranking after defeating No. 10 Wisconsin, 17-17, Saturday at home, aren’t feeling the love.
Not at all. And their veteran head coach let everyone know about it following the team’s bottling up of the Badgers.
Especially ESPN, to which Fitzgerald’s – and the Wildcats players’ ire was directed on the field postgame. As Fitzgerald conducted his socially distanced on-field interview, players trickled by the cameras shouting “Rece Davis!”, the ESPN studio host and play-by-play man to whom Northwestern’s roster was compared.
“How about these ‘Fighting Rece Davises’ here?, huh Joey Galloway?,” Fitzgerald said. “How about these Fighting Rece Davises. We’re 1-0 this week. It’s great. We’ve got a huge road test next week (at Michigan State).
“As long as Joey Galloway keeps talking, we’ll appreciate it. I think the guys heard him loud and clear.”
Galloway, a former Ohio State standout and ESPN analyst, had left the Wildcats stewing this week after Davis interviewed Fitzgerald and ESPN followed up that segment with a closer look at Northwestern.
“I’ve been watching Northwestern play, and honestly they’ve got a bunch of Rece Davises out there running around,” Galloway said. “It’s not the prettiest thing in the world.”
As Davis tried to interject with a tongue-in-cheek compliment to the Wildcats, Galloway added, “Yes, yes very athletic, Rece. That’s why I said that.”
Fitzgerald followed up and doubled-down on the disrespect he felt directed at his players and program in his postgame Zoom press conference.
“Listen, yeah, that really ticked our guys off,” Fitzgerald said of Galloway’s comments. “I’m not going to lie to you. It was, I thought, incredibly disrespectful. That is what it is. Not the first time. I just talked to the guys about putting fuel in their engine, man. Just use that as fuel in the engine. Go out and play the way we’re capable. We’ve got really good football players. Outstanding football players. We got a buncha guys who are potential All-Big Ten,All-American. Potentially in the NFL.
“We have one bad year and it’s like 19-whatever again. I understand that. (Galloway’s statement) was a little bit of extra fuel in the rocket. No question about that.”