The beauty of history is that it tells us where we’ve been in order to figure out where we’re going. Let’s look back at where NU has been in the postseason. Well, it started nice…in 1949. But much more than a half-century later, the holidays haven’t exactly been very happy for the Wildcats. They are 1-9 overall in the postseason
Years denote the season, not date of game.
1948 Rose, California 20-14 W
This happened decades before I was born, so I won’t expound on it much. But it looks nice on paper: the ‘Cats one postseason victory in the entire history of the program.
1995 Rose, USC 32-41 L
It really is a shame that Pat Fitzgerald didn’t get to play in this game. The only two-time national defensive player of the year in college football history might have made a difference. Keyshawn Johnson had 216 yards receiving for the Trojans. This team came out of absolutely nowhere to be bigger in ’95 than the sitcom Friends and/or the band Hootie and the Blowfish combined. (I just couldn’t decide which reference jokes I wanted to make). The team’s star player, Darnell Autry, had 32 carries and 3 TDs in this game. D’Wayne Bates had 145 yards receiving, but it just wasn’t enough.
1996 Citrus, Tennessee 28-48 L
Year two in the modern history of NU football brought another Big Ten title, and another New Year’s Day bowl loss, as Peyton Manning lit ‘em up for over 400 yards passing.
2000 Alamo, Nebraska 17-66 L
Two NUs with a N on their helmet showed up for this one; but really only one showed up. Hint it wasn’t the team that gave up 636 yards of total offense. The less said about this the better.
2003 Motor City, Bowling Green 24-28 L
Some guy named Josh Harris went 38-50 passing, and some dude named Cole Magner has 12 receptions and 2 TDs versus a very mediocre Wildcat defense. On the plus side, Jason Wright had had 237 yards rushing, and the Cats put up 357 on the ground as a team.
2005 Sun, UCLA 38-50 L
This time, it was QB Drew Olson’s turn to light up the Wildcats in a bowl game. Noticing a trend here? Do you see why NU is sort of like the college football version of the Chicago Cubs when it comes to postseason record?
2008 Alamo, Missouri (OT) 23-30 L
The Cats entered as the biggest overall underdog of the bowl season- more than two touchdowns. Yet they were one stray Amado Villareal kick from pulling the upset. Although Mizzou’s kicker provided a couple favors to keep the Cats in it. Northwestern’s secondary picked off the very overrated Chase Daniel, the greatest 5-9, fat guy to somehow land a QB roster spot in the NFL. Nonetheless the drought continued.
2009 Outback, Auburn (OT) 35-38 L
Perhaps the most exciting and interesting bowl game of the season; and in school bowl history. Another kicker (Stefan Demos), another errant kick- just oh so close yet again to breaking the drought. Mike was “Kafkaesque” going 47-78 for 532 yards, 5 INTs and 4 TDs. Yes, almost 80 passes, 621 net yards, and tons of school and bowl records. Including a 77 yarder to Drake Dunsmore.
Considering where Auburn finished the next season, and how closely the Cats hung with ‘em, this is impressive; and a fine coaching job by Fitz.
2010 Ticket City Texas Tech 38-45 L
Bowl games in the Pat Fitzgerald era have been like my experiences with women who sport “tramp stamps.” Fun and exciting, but ultimately the outcome is rather negative.
Three years, three games where the Wildcats entered as underdogs by more than a touchdown. And three losses by a narrow margin. They were just one possession, one play away from victory in all three instances. For much more on this game go here
2011 Meineke Car Care Texas A&M 22-33 L
Back to back years facing a Texas school in the Lone Star State- that’s not fair is it? This game was less tight, as future Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had his way with the NU secondary.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
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