Northwestern always faced a tall task coming into 2021 while trying to replace a lot of talent from the 2020 squad that captured the B1G West title. But even with a lot of talent departing, the drop-off in 2021 proved steeper than few could expect.

The year started with a 38-21 loss to Michigan State and only got worse from there. The Wildcats did get a conference win over Rutgers and non-conference wins over Ohio and Indiana State, but that was the end of the positives for Pat Fitzgerald’s squad.

Even more remarkably, Northwestern never led – or tied – any game that the Wildcats lost this season. In their 9 losses, the Wildcats allowed the first score and did not register a lead change once, according to BTN’s Dave Revsine. Northwestern was also held below 20 points 7 times.

Revsine also pointed out that Northwestern is the first team in the divisional era of football to post a 4-year stretch of first, last, first, last finishes. It truly has been a roller-coaster stretch for the Wildcats.