Northwestern loses 12th in row, finds 'relief' after hazing fallout - ESPN

2023-09-03 22:15:39  • 6 mins

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Northwestern interim coach David Braun on Sunday had the usual disappointment, frustration and self-critiquing that stems from a largely non-competitive loss to open a season.

But Braun felt something else after a turbulent summer that forever changed the program, the university and his own life: A sense of relief.

Northwestern fell 24-7 to Rutgers at SHI Stadium, avoiding its first shutout since 2019 by scoring a touchdown with 19 seconds to play. It as the Wildcats' 12th loss in a row.

It also was the program's first game without longtime coach Pat Fitzgerald, who was fired July 10 amid hazing allegations.

The result vs. the Rutgers was unacceptable, Braun said, but the competition brought familiarity for a team that has had few normal days since Fitzgerald's firing.

"This the lightest I've been since I took over, just from a standpoint where we're playing football," said Braun, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim coach on July 13. "It's an opportunity to look around, look at these guys. They've been working so hard to get to this point. Are there plenty of things that I need to work on that are very apparent that I'm taking notes on as the game goes? Absolutely. I need to be so much better in this role and look forward to being much better.

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