No. 21 Northwestern ends drought in Gator Bowl

No. 21 Northwestern ends drought in Gator Bowl
January 1, 2013, 3:31 pm
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Northwestern defensive lineman Quentin Williams (88) returns a interception for a touchdown during the first half of the Gator Bowl NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)


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-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.