Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is known for his creative tactics.

The 38-year-old former star linebacker has encouraged his players to take naps on game day and allowed the team to tear apart a stuffed monkey after winning the school's first bowl game since 1949.

So after the Wildcats endured two tough Big Ten losses -- a heartbreaker to Ohio State and a beatdown at Wisconsin -- one might have suspected that Fitzgerald would find a unique way to keep his players fresh. And he did just that, literally and figuratively.

After a team meeting this week, Fitzgerald and his assistant coaches ambushed players with 300 water balloons.

“You've got to have fun when you’re doing this,” Fitzgerald told reporters. “I talk to (the team) about the glue that keeps everyone together: having fun … Every once in a while you've got to shake them up a little bit.”

One week after Northwestern nearly pulled out a monumental win over Ohio State, the Wildcats were pummeled by Wisconsin in Madison, 35-6. To add injury to insult, two of Northwestern's best players, quarterback Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark, left the game with injuries.

Several days after the loss to the Badgers, many Northwestern players were still discouraged. And it appears Fitzgerald's surprise attack may have done its job.

"Everyone was still upset about the game," said center Brandon Vitabile. "That was just to lighten the mood, to get us past it, to put smiles on our faces and pep in our step."