Northwestern back in national rankings for first time since 2001

Oct. 23, 2005

EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the first time since Oct. 14, 2001, Northwestern finds itself in the top 25 of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls.

The Wildcats, who have won their last three games -- two of them against ranked Big Ten opponents, are ranked 21st in the AP poll and 23rd in the coaches' poll. In 2001, the Wildcats were ranked as high as 14th (AP) and 16th (coaches). In 2000, the last year Northwestern won a Big Ten championship, the Wildcats were ranked as high as No. 12 (AP).

"I'm not sure many people felt we'd be in this position after our Arizona State loss, but our kids are working hard and getting better each week, which is what we preach," says head coach Randy Walker. "It's nice they're being recognized, but our focus will remain getting one week better and taking on a talented Michigan team this week."

Saturday's matchup with the Wolverines, slated for a 6 p.m. ESPN kickoff, will pit two top-25 teams as Michigan, which defeated Iowa 23-20 in overtime on Saturday, moved back into the AP top-25 (No. 25) this week.

Tickets can still be purchased for this game by calling 847-491-CATS beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, or by purchasing online at