Jacksonville, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Northwestern ended college football’s longest postseason losing streak by beating Mississippi State 34-20.
The Northwestern Wildcats (10-3) hadn’t won a bowl game since 1949, a nine-game skid that was tied with Notre Dame for the longest in NCAA history.
Quentin Williams of the Wildcats drew first blood by returning an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game. Two field goals by Jeff Budzien allowed the Wildcats to race to a 13-0 lead.
After falling behind 13-0, Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell settled down and tied the game at 13 in the third quarter with a scoring strike to Arceto Clark. Devon Bell tacked on a 27 yard scoring dash as well.
But the Wildcats didn’t flinch. They responded with Trevor Siemian directing a 76-yard drive that put NU up for good.
Siemian added a 4-yard TD run — set up by Colter’s 31-yard scamper — that made it 27-13 with 26 seconds remaining in the third.
Nick VanHoose set up a touchdown by Venric Mark with a 39-yard interception return in the fourth.
Venric Mark, Northwestern’s all-everything back, finished with 56 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
The Wildcats spent the final 1:42 celebrating the program’s first postseason victory since beating Cal in the 1949 Rose Bowl.