Northwestern is a playoff contender.

Unlike the other college football top teams who can say that, the Wildcats get the job done on defense. In fact, the Northwestern offense has yet to top 317 yards since its season opener, but at 5-0 coach Pat Fitzgerald is winning with old school B1G football.

When Paul Chryst and his Wisconsin Badgers took the field at Ryan Field in Evanston on Saturday, they had the chance to occupy sole possession of first place in the B1G West Division.

The Northwestern defense had other ideas.

The Wildcats used a dominating defense to hand the Badgers a 17-7 defeat, despite only finishing the game with 263 on offense.

Fitzgerald credits his defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz with the Wildcats’ success, “There’s so many other names that get talked about about great D coordinators. Mike Hankwitz never gets mentioned, and I hope he becomes a household name,” said Fitzgerald.

Chryst agreed.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for Mike Hankwitz and what he does,” Chryst said of Northwestern’s longtime defensive coordinator, “I think one of his strengths is he obviously has a system, but he plays to his talent and the players understand it and they execute it.”

Northwestern heads to East Lansing to take on Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 28.