Notes: Looking back but moving forward

Northwestern's first loss of the season could set the team on a downhill spiral, as was the case in 2011. However, the Wildcats don't feel that will be an issue this season. offers notes and quotes from NU's Monday presser.

Before turning the page to Minnesota, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald addressed his team's issues against Penn State. There was plenty to be said.

· Where was Venric Mark in the fourth quarter against Penn State? According to Fitzgerald, the running back was "a little dinged up." Mike Trumpy stepped in for Mark.

· Fitzgerald was asked if there was an emotional letdown in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game. He said: "We just couldn't get off the dang field."

· As for Northwestern's struggles against Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, Fitzgerald joked: "I'm really excited to see him graduate."

· The next challenger for Northwestern is Minnesota, coached by Jerry Kill. Fitzgerald has often explained his great respect for Kill, who he calls a special person. "I'm a fan of his every week of the year except one," he joked.

· What makes Kill's teams special? "They play with great passion as a team," said Fitzgerald. "They've got a collective will."

· The Minnesota week two-deep featured no changes from last week. Of course, competition will be present following the loss.

· Northwestern players Sean McEvilly, Brian Arnfelt, and Patrick Ward joined the media.

· Arnfelt offered praise for Penn State's game plan and execution in the win over Northwestern. "They're a great team," he said. "You've got to give them credit."

· In 2011, following the Wildcats' loss to Army, the team spiraled downward. Arnfelt doesn't believe that will happen. "Guys are hungry," he said,"more than ever, to get back at it and working." He added: "I don't think with this year's group that's going to be an issue."

· Sean McEvilly discusses his new starting role with the Wildcats. "It's a joy and an honor to start for Northwestern," he said.

· Pat Ward was asked about Northwestern's play-calling. He joked that it's "not something we particularly care about on the offensive line."

· Arnfelt is a Minnesota native, so he will be hosting upwards of 50 family members and friends at Saturday's game in the Twin Cities.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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