After surrendering 41 points to Syracuse in the 2012 season opener -- including 28 unanswered at one point in the second half -- the Northwestern defense got some vindication Saturday at Ryan Field.
The Wildcats held Vanderbilt to just 13 points and were especially stingy in the second half, surrendering just three points and 86 yards.
"Coach Pat Fitzgerald tells us to focus yourselves, our brothers, our chemistry, our fundamentals and that's what we did," defensive end Tyler Scott said after Saturday's victory. "We didn't really listen to any of the criticism, but just focused on us and it seemed to work."
Sophomore linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo led the defensive charge, setting a career high with 10 tackles, three tackles for a loss and the first sack of his career.
The performance was enough to earn the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Ariguzo Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. It was the first time he has won the accolade in his brief Wildcats career.
Ariguzo totaled five tackles against Syracuse and also added an interception and turned a fumble recovery into a 33-yard score.