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Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald takes exception to accusations of injury faking

BERKELEY, Calif.–During the second half of Saturday’s 44-30 win over Cal, a slew of Northwestern’s players on defense went down with injuries. At one point in the second half, three different guys went down on three straight plays.

The thought by some was that the Wildcats were faking injuries so they could prevent the Golden Bears from running their up tempo offense and have time to rest. Cal ran 99 plays from scrimmage Saturday night.

Fitzgerald took exception to that notion.

“If anybody were to question the integrity of myself, our program or our players, I question theirs,” Fitzgerald said. “So that’s all I say. Our guys get dinged up. They get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. You’ve never walked in and heard me say that ever, have you? I have a hard time with that. But if our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down not hobble of to the sideline.”

Cal coach Sonny Dykes looked visibly frustrated by the number of injuries Northwestern sustained on defense in the second half but fell short of making any accusations after the game.

“It affected it [Cal’s offense] a lot,” Dykes said. “It was just unusual. It seemed like every time we got a first down they had an injury. I hadn’t seen that, wasn’t expecting to see that, was disappointed that I saw that. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Asked whether he shared the anger of Cal fans who jeered the Wildcats when they went down and Dykes responded: “It’s probably better that I don’t say.”