The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, which matches up the Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 SEC) and Northwestern Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten). Eric Veneziano of The Gaming Tailgate community suited up as the Wildcats of Northwestern looking to score a Big Ten victory over the mighty SEC.
Bulldogs jump out to early lead but can’t keep up with #20 Northwestern in Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, F.L. – When two fast paced spread offenses match up, you expect fireworks; the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl did not disappoint.
Mississippi State came out firing on all cylinders and jumped to a quick 10 point lead in the first quarter, looking to be in control holding the Wildcats offense at bay and scoring on its first two possessions.
The start of the second quarter was almost like the start of a brand new game as Northwestern flipped the switch and dominated the rest of the game. With their starting quarterback sidelined for the remainder of the game, backup QB #13 stepped in and threw a TD pass on his very first play and never looked back, tossing 5 more touchdown passes on his way to player of the game.
The Bulldogs were unable to find an answer for the passing game as Northwestern abandoned the option attack with their speedster out of the game and went strictly to the air. The Northwestern defense was also able to find answers for the MSU offense and hold them in check for most of the game after the first quarter.
Player of the Game: Northwestern QB #13, who came in off the bench to complete 16 of 19 passes for 484 yards and 6 touchdowns for the game. His astronomical quarterback rating was 402.4.
It was over when… Northwestern scored on a 72-yard pass to end the first half, just 28 seconds after Mississippi State had scored to narrow the lead to 28-17. This allowed the Wildcats to take an 18-point lead into halftime.
Game Ball goes to… Northwestern WR #21, who caught 5 passes for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a long catch of 82 yards and an average reception of 42.8 yards.
Stat of the Game: 35. That’s the number of points the Wildcats scored in the second quarter alone as they built up an insurmountable lead and took down the Bulldogs.
Statistical Tidbits: Mississippi State out-gained Northwestern 60 to 37 on the ground, but the Bulldogs were decimated in the passing game comparison as the Wildcats threw for 529 yards and Mississippi State only managed 241 yards. … Mississippi State converted 5 of 11 third downs, while Northwestern converted 7 of 8 third downs to extend multiple drives and keep putting up points. The Wildcats also converted their lone fourth down conversion attempt. … Northwestern had one interception by their starting quarterback, while Mississippi State lost two fumbles. … Northwestern amassed a total of 709 yards between offense and special teams for the game, which outgained Mississippi State by 408 yards. … Northwestern did not have to punt in the entire game, while the Bulldogs punted 3 times. … Despite the lopsided final score, Northwestern only had the ball for 1:05 longer than the Bulldogs.