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. 
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Robert Griffin III benched by Redskins for McCoy

Lovie Smith: 2-9 Bucs are still in playoff contention

UCLA QB Brett Hundley likely to enter NFL draft

Bills will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for Sunday's game

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

Derrick Rose leaves game with hamstring tightness

Rockies pitcher takes shot at former Astros pitcher

WATCH: Paul Pierce signs autograph during game

Jeremy Hill asks great question about alma mater LSU

NBA rookie rankings after 1st month of 2014-15 season

Statistic about Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler very revealing

Aaron Rodgers blasts those who accused him of trolling Vikings

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

'Fire Idzik' billboard updated with suggestion for Jets owner

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 B1G TIME

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

How L.A. should replace Hanley

Lester, Red Sox still talking contract

Why each NFL team should be thankful

Could Kentucky beat the 76ers?

Greatest college football rivalries

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.