Originally written on The B1g Time  |  Last updated 11/12/14
  For the first time since the 1949 Rose Bowl, the Northwestern Wildcats emerged victorious in a bowl game, downing Mississippi State 34-20 in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The Wildcats nearly squandered an early 13-0 lead, but out-scored the Bulldogs 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of the game to come out as winners. 3 Thumbs up: -Northwestern was very efficient on third down conversions early in the first half. They finished the game 10-19 on third down, a respectable mark. -The Wildcats did a nice job getting ahead early. There were some concerns, as their always are, that rust would be an issue at the onset of the game, but that did not appear to be the case as NU scooped up an early 13-0 lead. ...more after jump... -Four forced turnovers helped propel the Wildcats in this one, there is no way around it. The defense embarrassed Bulldogs’ quarterback Tyler Russell on several occasions and it kept the momentum in NU’s favor. 3 Thumbs down: -Settling for field goals on promising drives can come back to haunt even the best of teams. When Mississippi State made its move in the second and third quarters, it looked like the Wildcats were going to fall victim to missed opportunities. Some timely scoring helped bail them out. -As good as Northwestern was at forcing turnovers, was about as bad as they were at taking care of the ball themselves. Three turnovers are far too many in a game like this. Yet, NU was able to overcome them. -Regardless of whose fault it is, Venric Mark was never established as a legitimate threat. Give some credit to the Mississippi State defense, but it seems as though the Wildcats never fully used a weapon of such a high caliber.   Final thoughts: How can you not be happy for Northwestern? This is a program that has been progressively getting better in recent years and the seniors who worked so hard to establish a solid foundation in the program were rewarded with a bowl victory over a quality opponent. The health of the Northwestern program is good for the conference as a whole. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

How much will Rousey and Zingano make for their fight?

Browns agree to three-year deal with Josh McCown

Peterson releases statement, no mention of the Vikings

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Shane Vereen squashes rumor he wants $5 million per season

Jon Gruden on Meyer: 'Greatest coaching job of all time'

Vince Young to work out at NFL Veteran Combine

Report: Mike Wallace unwilling to restructure contract

Report: Colts targeting Brandon Marshall

Rakeem Christmas leads Syracuse in exercise of futility

WATCH: Knicks' Alexey Shved tosses wild pass into stands

Ten players ready to make the leap in 2015

WATCH: Reggie Bush says he won't quit football

PHOTO: ECHL team will wear Dr. Seuss jerseys

Report: Baron Davis in talks to join a contending team

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

Pirates issue statement about ISIS executioner in team hat

WATCH: Dress debate threatens to derail Brooklyn Nets’ season

FIFA gave Fox the 2026 World Cup to avoid a lawsuit

WATCH: Charles Barkley rips analytics... again

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to step up

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
THE B1G TIME

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.