The last time Pat Fitzgerald stepped on the field at the Citrus Bowl, he was an All-American linebacker and the captain of a Northwestern defense facing Tennessee star quarterback Peyton Manning.
“That was the neck roll generation, so it’s been too long,” joked Fitzgerald of the 1997 showdown the Volunteers won 48-28.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, Fitzgerald is back in Orlando, this time as the coach of the Wildcats, who are coming off their second appearance in a Big Ten Championship Game in three years.
No. 14 Northwestern (6-2 Big Ten) is set to take on Auburn (6-4 SEC) in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl Friday at Camping World Stadium.