Found January 01, 2013 on
The B1g Time:
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.
BEST OF MAXIM
When the Northwestern Wildcats look to end their bowl game drought tomorrow (you might have heard a thing or two about it in the local media) they’ll do so with these new helmets on. Expect to see a lot of running with Venric Mark and Kain Colter at the Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi State, MSU has a cornerback named Johnathan Banks who will be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft.
Just getting to a bowl game no longer matters to Northwestern.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats want to win one and end a decades-long losing streak.
Northwestern (9-3) hasn't won a bowl since it beat California in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have dropped nine in a row since, matching the longest streak in NCAA history.
They get a chance to stop that skid when they face Mississippi...
The Northwestern Wildcats spent so much time celebrating on the field that coach Pat Fitzgerald finally had to order them into the locker room.
He had something special waiting for them - a stuffed monkey.
It was the same one that went with them to the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season and had become a symbol of the program's decades-long, bowl losing streak.
The collegiate career of Northwestern defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt has seen battles for playing time, then a fight through injuries. However, he will cap off his fifth season with the Wildcats playing in the Gator Bowl. For Arnfelt, it completes a long fight, which has earned him plenty of respect.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Behind huge interceptions early and late, No. 21 Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl on Tuesday and snapped college football's longest postseason losing streak.
The Wildcats (10-3) won their first bowl game since 1949, snapping a nine-game losing streak that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double...
Northwestern defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt met with the assembled media in Jacksonville to preview Tuesday's Gator Bowl game. PurpleWildcats offers an exclusive video interview with the Wildcats' senior captain.
Northwestern guard Brian Mulroe joined teammates and his head coach to preview Tuesday's Gator Bowl game. PurpleWildcats offers a video interview with the senior captain as he looks to the contest in Jacksonville.
The Wildcats of Northwestern, coming off one of the more successful seasons in recent memory, get the pleasure of opening up a barrage of New Year’s Day bowl games that feature Big Ten squads. NU will square off with Mississippi State in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. The game will air on ESPN at noon E.T.
Here is how our staff sees things shaking out:
Andy Coppens (Co-managing...