Navy SEAL Tom Hruby trying to walk on to Northwestern football team

Tom Hruby has already survived one incredible challenge: making it through Navy SEALs training. Now he’s trying to do something else that might be just as difficult: walk onto a Big Ten football team at age 32.

The Chicago Sun-Times shares the story of Hruby, who is married with three children, and his pursuit of making Northwestern’s football team.

Hruby is a defensive end and appears to be undersized at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. He played football at Andrean High School in Merrillville Indiana and did not miss a snap his senior year, he told The Sun-Times.

Hruby began training for the Navy SEALs in his 20s and eventually completed the rigorous program. Though most of his career in the SEALs is classified, he did share that he has spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He is still an active SEAL and works as an instructor at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois.

Hruby told the Sun-Times he always aspired to study at Northwestern. After preparing for the SAT and completing classes at a junior college, he applied to Northwestern and was accepted last summer. The only problem is that he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because some of his classes did not count as credit. The good news is that leaves him with three years of eligibility.

Hruby hopes to receive consistent playing time on special teams and has been training with the team throughout the summer. He even saved up all his leave so he could participate in the team’s training camp this month.

Why is Hruby going through all this? We’re talking 14-hour days, 6:00 a.m. weight lifting sessions, classes, working and weeks away from his family, all just to try making the squad.

His Navy SEAL Team chief David Goggins told the Sun-Times.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s just what’s the next challenge?” Goggins explained. “Without a challenge in front of guys like Tom, what’s the point of living?”

Here is a picture of Hruby with Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald last year:

Tom Hruby Northwestern

We’re pulling for him. This would be awesome.

Photo: Twitter/NU_Bowers

Nebraska beats Northwestern on Hail Mary to end game (Video)

Nebraska Hail MaryThe week didn’t go so well for one Pelini brother, but the other was much more fortunate.

Bo Pelini’s Nebraska Cornhuskers beat Northwestern 27-24 on Saturday after connecting on a miracle Hail Mary on the last play of the game. Quarterback Ron Kellogg III heaved one to the end zone that was tipped and caught by Jordan Westerkamp for a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Huskers the victory. You can watch the video below:

Do you think Pelini has realized yet what happened? His Huskers are now 6-2 thanks to the win, while the Wildcats drop to 4-5 and 0-5 in the Big Ten.

Ouch. What a painful way to lose.

Here’s a pretty sweet photo of the catch:

Sonny Dykes thought Northwestern was faking injuries and was livid (Video)

Sonny Dykes

Cal football coach Sonny Dykes lost in his debut with the Golden Bears on Saturday night, and he was upset with Northwestern for seemingly employing some shady tactics.

The No. 22-ranked Wildcats won 44-30 in a game that was much closer than the score indicates. A number of Northwestern’s defensive players kept getting hurt and leaving the game with injuries, only to return later and get hurt again. It seemed like an obvious attempt to slow down Dykes’ fast-paced “Bear Raid” offense, and it worked.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald brushed aside the faking accusations, but Dykes spoke openly about what he thought was going on.

“It affected it a lot,” Dykes said after the game of Northwestern’s constant injuries, via the AP. “You know it was just unusual, it seemed like every time we had a first down they would have an injury. I hadn’t seen that, didn’t expect to see that, was disappointed that I saw that but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

In the video below, you can see Northwestern players go down with supposed injuries on four occasions. In one Cal drive with around three minutes left in the third quarter, Northwestern went down in three of four consecutive plays (all seen in the video). First it was No. 92 Will Hampton. Two plays later No. 44 Chi Chi Ariguzo went down. On the next play, Damien Proby went down. In a 4th-quarter drive, Hampton went down again with a supposed injury.

You can watch it all below, along with Dykes’ fiery reaction:

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Northwestern destroyed a stuffed monkey after finally winning a bowl game


Northwestern defeated Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl on Tuesday to win its first bowl game since 1949. For those of you who struggle with math, that’s a 64-year drought. The Wildcats had lost nine straight bowl appearances prior to the 34-20 victory, which was tied with Notre Dame for the longest bowl losing streak.

One might say Northwestern got the monkey of its back with the win, which is why the team decided to celebrate by destroying a stuffed monkey after the game. The photo you see above was tweeted by the Northwestern athletics twitter account, which described the carnage as “the remains of the bowl monkey.” Head coach Pat Fitzgerald made mention of the monkey to begin his postgame press conference.

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Nebraska fans forced Northwestern into silent snap count at home

Nebraska fans are legendary for their passion and devotion to their football team. Perhaps no story symbolizes that devotion more than what happened over the weekend at Ryan Field.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Northwestern had to use a silent snap count for their final drive of the game against Nebraska despite playing at home in Evanston, Illinois. The offensive linemen complained that they couldn’t hear the calls, prompting the silent snap count.

“We didn’t prepare for that all week,” quarterback Kain Colter said.

Northwestern’s final drive resulted in two completions before the game ended. The drive before that was six plays for 38 yards, and it ended in a missed long field goal attempt.

We’ve actually seen this happen before in football. Last year, Green Bay Packers fans had such a strong presence in San Diego they forced the Chargers into a silent snap count at home as well. Nebraska fans have produced a sellout streak for home games that dates back to 1962. They travel extremely well and have been able to buy their way into every stadium in America. What happened in Evanston is no surprise, but it’s still a compliment to Nebraska fans.

Helmet smack to College Football Talk

Northwestern will have mandatory nap time before Nebraska game

Northwestern is having a strong season, but that doesn’t mean they’re all set with their game-day routines. In fact, coach Pat Fitzgerald is switching up the team’s schedule for Saturday’s home game against Nebraska.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Fitzgerald will have a mandatory nap time for his players on Saturday about five hours before the game. The reason is due to the early afternoon kickoff.

Northwestern’s kickoff against Nebraska is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The team also had a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 15 against Boston College, and they apparently were sluggish during the game despite winning 22-13.

Fitzgerald attempted to get to the bottom of the situation. From the Tribune:

[Fitzgerald] asked members of his Leadership Council: “What’s the deal? Why didn’t we start fast?”

They told him the game clashed with nap time. NU players typically arrive at the team complex at 6:50 a.m. for meetings, practice from 8:50 to 10:30, attend class and then snooze in the early afternoon. So Saturday’s itinerary will call for an early breakfast and a nap at around 9:30.

Fitzgerald almost could not believe he agreed to it. “Unbelievable,” he said. “This is what I get paid to do. Seriously. Create nap time. It’s pathetic.”

Fitzgerald is joking about the situation, but his solution actually makes a lot of sense. Many people don’t think about it, but various start times have a huge effect on games. West Coast teams often struggle when they have early start times on the East Coast. A 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff means a West Coast team would have to get up extremely early, presenting a major departure from their routines.

Fitzgerald even posted a picture to his Twitter account of the team’s Saturday itinerary that features the scheduled nap time:

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Fake Punt Helps Michigan State Avoid the Northwestern Upset

Michigan State entered Saturday’s game at Northwestern ranked 7th in the BCS Standings and first in the Big Ten with a 7-0 record. They had beaten Notre Dame on a crazy fake, taken down Wisconsin at home, and they pummeled Michigan on the road. With a big challenge at Iowa looming, Saturday at Evanston seemed like a trap game for the Spartans.

It certainly turned out that way, yet Michigan State prevailed with an impressive comeback.

The Spartans came back from down 17-0 in the second quarter to win 35-27. They caught a nice break early in the game when Northwestern lost a fumble at the Michigan State one-yard line on its third possession. Kirk Cousins threw a touchdown pass before halftime to get them on the board and they went into the half down 17-7. In the second half, Michigan State’s offense really came alive.

Bennie Fowler
scored on a reverse to pull the Spartans within three, but then they allowed another touchdown going down by 10. Michigan State reached into its bag of tricks again and ran a fake punt to convert a 4th down in Northwestern territory and they scored a touchdown right after that. Yet again, a fake on a special teams play gave them a huge lift. From there, Michigan State’s defense got stops (including a pick to seal the game), and the offense scored two more touchdowns to win it.

Michigan State isn’t blowing teams away and reminds me a lot of Iowa last year in terms of the way they’ve won games. It hasn’t always been pretty, but they keep coming out on top. Now they can turn their full attention to the Hawkeyes.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh