Bowls: Other Special
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Northwestern has, of course, played in many special games.  However, two games (besides the bowl matches) have been officially recognized as "special games" by the NCAA.  The NCAA sets aside separate records for special preseason "classic" games, as well as for some postseason games that were not technically bowl games.  Here are the two such games that featured Northwestern.

The 1997 Pigskin Classic

Played August 23, 1997.

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL.  Attendance:

Northwestern's 1997 record: 0-0.

Coach: Gary Barnett.  Captains: Gardner, Strickwerda, Hughes.

Opponent: Oklahoma.

NU/ Oklahoma series record (prior to game): NU led, 2-1.

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final
Northwestern 0 6 0 18 24
Oklahoma 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring: Second Qtr: NU - FG Gowins 27; NU - FG Gowins 22.  Fourth Qtr: NU - Leary 1 yd run (Autry run); NU - FG Gowins 40; NU - Brown 16 yd run (Gowins kick).

The 1997 Pigskin Classic was not exactly a classic match up.  Even with the drop in veteran talent from the previous season, Northwestern still was on a level clearly above a struggling Sooner team.  NU overpowered Oklahoma 24-0.  The Sooners drove deep into NU territory five times, only to come away with nothing.  Gowins kicked three field goals, including a 40-yarder.

1931 Charity Postseason Game

Played November 28, 1931.

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL.

Northwestern's 1931 record, prior to game: 7-0-1 overall, 5-0 conference.  Big Ten Champion.

Coach: Dick Hanley.  Captain: Dal Marvil.

Opponent: Purdue.

Team Final
Northwestern 0
Purdue 7

There was a series of postseason games specially scheduled at the conclusion of the regular season during the Great Depression to raise money for relief of the unemployed in response to the President’s Committee on Mobilization of Relief Resources and other charitable causes.  About 100 of these games were played from 1930-1934; of these, 21 were between major college teams, including one between NU and Purdue in 1931. 

Even though the game was not scheduled as part of the regular season, it counted in the stats as a regular season game. The Wildcats and Boilermakers slugged all afternoon at Soldier Field, but neither side could come close to scoring.  As the fourth quarter drew to a close, it looked like Northwestern would claim its second scoreless tie during an otherwise perfect season and would take the Big Ten title (and perhaps the national title) uncontested.  However, an errant pass by Wildcat QB George Potter was intercepted, and Purdue returned the ball to the Northwestern 15-yard line.  Two plays later the Boilermakers scored the only touchdown of the game and pulled the upset.

The loss in the charity game was Northwestern’s first conference defeat since 1929, and it forced NU to share the 1931 Big Ten championship with Purdue and Michigan.  Still, the campus celebrated the team’s first ever back-to-back titles with bonfires and dances.