NU Attitude for Wildcats

It's been 61 years with no Bowl victory

Friday, Jan 1, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM CDT
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Northwestern vs. University of Chicago Alumni

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Head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats could set a new tone for the school's athletic reputation in 2010.

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There was a time when resolving to win a Bowl game for Northwestern was about as likely as losing that 10 pounds or winning the lottery.

Not in 2010.

Friday morning, coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Northwestern Wildcat football team will have the chance to end a 61-year drought when they take on the Auburn Tigers at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

For those wondering, the last victory was a 20-14 win over Cal in the 1949 Rose Bowl. Since then, the Wildcats have made six Bowl appearances with six losses.

"It's not like we've been a bowl game every year, " Fitzgerald told the Chicago Sun-Times. "They have only been six of them. It's kind of like an 800-pound gorilla sitting in the room. I'm really looking forward to getting it off our back. Then you guys will stop talking about it."

The Wildcats (8-4) are an eight-point underdog to the Tigers (7-5) and will need a great  performance from quarterback Mike Kafka, who has completed nearly 66 percent of his passes this season. The other player to watch will be defensive end Corey Wootton, who said he wants to leave Northwestern with a Bowl win legacy.

"The No. 1 goal in our program is right here in front of us. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be against the best team we've played all year," he told the Sun-Times. "To get over the mountaintop, you have to go play and execute in that 60-minute window."

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