Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is the first to realize that falling short in spirited games against top Big Ten contenders isn't enough, emphasizing his squad must ultimately win those close contests to achieve its goal of winning a conference title.
The 19th-ranked Wildcats may have another one in store this week.
Northwestern faces a rested Wisconsin team Saturday looking to earn its first victory at Camp Randall Stadium in 13 years.
Last week's showdown with No. 4 Ohio State lived up to the hype, as Northwestern (4-1, 0-1) held a three-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Wildcats weren't able to hang on, though, and lost the advantage late before falling 40-30.
The script was similar to close losses last season, with Northwestern holding late fourth-quarter leads against Michigan and Nebraska in heartbreaking defeats. Fitzgerald realizes that trend can't continue for his team to be included among the Big Ten's elite.
"I think we...