Chi Chi Ariguzo has lot to prove vs. Linebacker U
If you were going to pick a defensive MVP for Northwestern after five games, linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo would be a top vote-getter. The redshirt sophomore is second in the Big Ten with 1.3 tackles for loss per game and is averaging 7.8 tackles per game, which tops for the Wildcats and ninth best in the conference.
He has has been named the team's defensive big playmaker four times this season and has a sack, an interception and two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Syracuse.
"Five games into it I think Chi Chi is playing at an all-Big Ten level," coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "He has made a lot of plays. He has been very active. He has been very fundamentally sound. He's got a great grasp of what we're doing."
The Wildcats will be going up against two Butkus Award finalists in senior linebacker Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti when they play Penn State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
"If he wants to be all-Big Ten he's going to have to outplay the linebackers this week," Fitzgerald said of Ariguzo. "Same thing with [Damien Proby] and [David Nwabuisi]. This is probably the best linebacker corps we've seen yet and arguably is the best in the conference. You want to be the best you have to outplay the best. That's what they have to do this week."
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