Northwestern ends drought in Gator Bowl

January 1, 2013

MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer

(AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
Northwestern defensive lineman Quentin Williams (88) returns a interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla.

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-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.

Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).

In between, Northwestern's two-quarterback system kept the Bulldogs (8-4) off balance most of the day.