No. 14 Northwestern, Auburn get postseason rematch in Citrus Bowl


Eleven years to the day after going through off in an exciting bowl recreation, the Auburn Tigers and No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats meet once more on New Yr’s Day within the Citrus Bowl at Orlando, Fla.

The groups performed within the 2010 Outback Bowl, with the Tigers pulling out a 38-35 extra time victory. Present Kansas Metropolis Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka accomplished 47 of 78 passes for 532 yards with 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions for the Wildcats.

Northwestern scored two touchdowns within the closing 4 minutes to tie the sport, however the Tigers’ Wes Byrum kicked a 21-yard discipline purpose in OT and the Wildcats have been unable to equalize. Auburn went on to win the nationwide championship the next season.

This yr, the Wildcats (6-2) enter the bowl recreation coming off a 22-10 loss to No. 3 Ohio State within the Large Ten championship recreation. Northwestern led the Buckeyes 10-6 on the half, however three second-half turnovers and a drained protection gave strategy to a potent Ohio State dashing assault.

“We simply did not make the performs we wanted to make down the stretch within the fourth quarter to be Large Ten champions,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald mentioned. “However to have the chance to signify the Large Ten in Orlando, we’re ecstatic.”

The Tigers (6-4) have not performed since Dec. 12, and in that point they fired head coach Gus Malzahn and employed Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has stepped into the interim head-coaching position for the bowl recreation.

“These guys have been resilient,” Steele mentioned. “They’ve proven a variety of character, management and simply the flexibility to adapt. We have truly had a further bump within the highway that we had a change on the prime for us, which is one thing that is laborious on a soccer program. And so we’re going by that.”

Each groups have their convention’s freshman of the yr.

Auburn operating again Tank Bigsby was chosen the Southeastern Convention’s prime freshman after dashing for 834 yards on 138 carries in 10 video games. He added 300 kick-return yards and 84 receiving yards for 1,218 all-purpose yards.

Northwestern security Brandon Joseph received the Freshman of the Yr award for the Large Ten, the primary strictly defensive participant to win the award since Deion Barnes in 2012. Joseph leads the nation with six interceptions.

The sport may also be the final within the profession of Northwestern’s defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, who would attain 400 profession wins if the Wildcats win the Citrus Bowl.

Hankwitz began his teaching profession at his alma mater of Michigan and served because the defensive coordinator for Arizona, Western Michigan, Colorado, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin earlier than being employed by Fitzgerald earlier than the 2008 season.

Hankwitz is a finalist for the Broyles Award, which matches to the perfect assistant coach within the nation, and Fitzgerald believes Northwestern’s success on protection begins and ends with Hankwitz.

“You have a look at my head teaching profession right here and our success, I imply Mike Hankwitz is within the DNA, the material, the architect, take no matter you need to say,” Fitzgerald mentioned. “I am simply so grateful for him.”

–Area Stage Media



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