Hey, it’s the Gator Bowl! Did they play this last year? I don’t seem to remember it…
The History: Did you know the Gator Bowl is the sixth oldest bowl game and the first bowl to ever be televised nationally? It has been played every year since 1946 in Jacksonville. It features the third selections from the Big Ten and the SEC.
Northwestern Scouting Report: The Wildcats bring a 9-3 record into the Gator Bowl. Their three losses easily could’ve gone the other way and therefore, they are a very dangerous team. They are hungry for a bowl victory as they have not gotten one since the 1948 Rose Bowl. The most important player on the field for Northwestern will be quarterback Kain Colter. He suffered an “upper extremity” injury against Michigan in November, causing him to miss one game, but he was back in action against Illinois and is seemingly good to go for the game against the Bulldogs. He is much more dangerous with his feet, so look for Northwestern to let him make things happen on his own.
Buckeye Connection: Ohio State is 59-14 all time against the Wildcats. They last played in 2008 in a game which resulted in a 45-10 win.
Mississippi State Scouting Report: The Bulldogs bring an 8-4 record into the Gator Bowl. After starting out 7-0 this season and earning a No. 11 ranking, they got destroyed by Alabama and never recovered. They lost four of their last five games, and none of those losses were close games. Look for quarterback Tyler Russell to target WR Chad Bumphis, who finished with 904 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He has the potential to have a huge game against Northwestern’s pass defense, which ranks 102nd in the nation. On the defensive side of the football, the Bulldogs have struggled against quality opponents, and Northwestern certainly fits that bill. Against ranked opponents, they allowed at least 37 points. They will have to tighten up on defense if they want to have a chance at stopping Colter and the Wildcat offense.
Buckeye Connection: The Buckeyes and the Bulldogs have never played each other on the football field. But our friend Robby Donohoe covers MSU for WCBI, so there’s that.
Due to the subpar defenses in this game, I think it’ll be a high scoring, entertaining contest. I think Kain Colter uses his legs to make things happen for Northwestern on offense and the Wildcats do just enough to win. Northwestern 38 Mississippi State 31