occasionally posted passages
from several texts giving anecdotal histories of the Wildcats.
What follows are
the collected passages originally posted weekly. The accounts are
given in the order that the events that they describe took place.
Again, these passages are not original to this site: the sources
are given before each quote.
The End of "The
comes from the Chicago Tribune's September 26, 1982 issue, the
after Northwestern beat Northern Illinois and ended a tragic 34-game
streak. While the 1973 - 1991 period in NU history-- known as the
Dark Ages-- might not be the happiest topic to face (especially the
- 1982 Streak), it is an important part of NU's story, and this game
especially important. It was the first feeble ray of hope, one of
only a few for the next decade.
The account below
was written by Roy Damer.
Dream Come True!
NU Ends 34-Game Nightmare, by Roy Damer, Chicago Tribune
Those are merely three little words. But, oh, how Northwestern
have longed to hear those three little words for more than three years.
finally came to an end in Dyche Stadium Saturday, when the Wildcats
Northern Illinois 31-6 to end their 34-game losing streak, the longest
in major-college football history. You have to go all the way
to Sept. 15, 1979, to find the Wildcats' last victory, a 27-22 decision
triumph was a dream, Ricky Edwards' dream to be precise. Edwards,
a senior running back from White Plains, N.Y., had neither started nor
scored in his Wildcat career.
his first start by scoring four touchdowns to tie the school record
by Otto Graham and Mike Adamle. Edwards gained 177 yards on 29
for a team that had minus-44 yards rushing in its first three games.
knew we were
going to win," said Edwards. "I dreamed it last night. I
dreamed I scored on a 90-yard run."
was just a little off. His fourth TD came on an 80-yard jaunt in
the third quarter. "There was a big hole over the center," he
"and once I got into the secondary, nobody was going to catch me.
I was really hungry today. This is a relief because it's
we've wanted for three years."
fans in the crowd of 22,078 started celebrating before the game was
With 34 seconds left, they poured onto the field and tore down the
action was at the south end of the field, and the officials wisely
the clock to run out. The fans got around to ripping down the
goal posts later.
I love it," said offensive tackle Chris Hinton in the jubilant
locker room. "This is the beginning of a winning streak."
numerous holes for Edwards with his powerful blocking, could be excused
for his exuberance. He is one of the few players on the current
who played in the last NU victory-- and suffered all the grief in
was no comparison to this one," said the senior from Chicago
"This is the highlight of my athletic career."
is on a high, the Huskies now face some dog days. Northern will
known as the team against which Northwestern stopped its wrong-way
stunk," said NIU coach Bill Mallory. "Our offense stunk.
defense stunk. We just stunk. But Northwestern was really
They were like a pack of wolves looking for something to eat."
the first three times they had the ball to take the lead in a game for
the first time since they played Wisconsin in 1980. Linebacker
Moyer intercepted a Tim Tyrrell pass at the NU 25 to stop an early
drive. Northwestern immediately marched 75 yards in 13 plays for
a touchdown, which came on a 13-yard pass from Sandy Schwab to Edwards.
quarterback, was brilliant in the first half, when he directed the
to a 21-0 lead. In the first 30 minutes, he completed 12 of 17
for 153 yards. He cooled off in the second half, and finished
16 completions in 28 attempts for 212 yards.
early," said Schwab, "it sure changed a lot of things. The
line made it easy for me to throw and for the backs to run the
Everybody did his job."
his first eight passes before missing. Edwards scored on two
runs in the second quarter, and the worst chapter in NU history was
at quarterback for the injured Rick Bridges, scored on a 3-yard run for
the Huskies in the third quarter. But on the first play after the
kickoff, Edwards took off on his 80-yard scoring run.
him long, either, because he's also a track athlete. He finished
fourth in the long jump in the last Big 10 indoor meet.
mainly as a return specialist last year. He set a Big 10 record
just as soon not have: 30 kickoff returns in one season.
has a record it doesn't want, but at least the counting has stopped.
was a big
load on our shoulders for so long," said Edwards, who was the first
to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since Jeff Cohn got 103
Minnesota in 1980. "This feels so good."
monster," said Mallory. "They got out on top of us quick and gave
us a good, old-fashioned whipping. We made every mistake in the
But take nothing away from Northwestern. They played hard and
They deserved it."
comprises three more little words Northwestern fans have long
But one thing can be said for the Wildcats: They set some record for
to shoot for. It may stand for quite a while.
it stands to this day, at least in Division I-A. In 1982,
Streak was the record for all of Division I; however, Columbia (Div.
was generous enough to relieve NU of that burden by racking up a
losing streak that stretched from 1983-1988. The Division I
currently belongs to Prairie View and its infamous ten YEAR losing
Barnett Debuts at Soldier Field
are from High Hopes. NU fans view Gary Barnett as
scoundrel, as one of the greatest heroes in the program's history,
with many fans-- as both. The heroic side of Barnett will be
with selections from his (out of print) book, including an account of
for and playing the 1992 Notre Dame game, the first game of the Expect
our workouts at Northwestern, many of the players were in disbelief at
what we expected from them in our workouts [this sounds... familiar].
They were nowhere near ready for the physical practices we
I guess we knew that in the spring, though. They hadn't even done
live contact drills in the previous few springs. [Barnett wrote
his journal] 'A beer sounds real good right now, but I'm afraid I've
all my coaches and none of them will ask me to go out with them.
I'm probably as low as I've ever been. . . .'
were up in
Kenosha at this time, and I really needed an outlet. I wasn't
a very good job with crisis management.
the worst team in Division I. I mean, it is unbelievable how
this group of athletes really was. But they believed in me.
Most of them.
journal] "'It's almost negligence to put our players on the field with
Notre Dame for that period of time. I told our defense to never
that we were going after Notre Dame.... I'm nuts, but I'm thinking
find a way to win. I guess that's why I'm a coach!'
at our team and said we were terrible, part of that was so I could
rock bottom. Because I knew we were going to climb up from there.
black jerseys on the players, and I think they liked them. On
day at Soldier Field I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be.
It was a beautiful day for a game. The kids looked great in
their black jerseys. We came out and Lou Holtz told me what a
job he had.... We took the opening kickoff and marched to the 17.
It was a thing of beauty.
and got outrushed 261-1 in the second half. But I felt
Glad it was over. As for the black jerseys, well. . . .
. . When I
took [the idea] to an administrator who hired me, he said, 'If you've
the guts to wear them, I'll back you.' I actually was
about the design and figured we'd eventually go back to purple.
kept the black a secret before the season and even had our team picture
taken in white jerseys. In fact, we warmed up in purple jerseys
[the Notre Dame game].
we hit the
field in black just before the game I think everybody over the age of
gasped and almost had heart attacks. But everybody under the age
of 40 loved them, and every recruit that's walked in here has, too.
at the game film, I was fuming. I didn't get on the defensive
because I knew they were embarrassed. As the day went on, the
just kept eating at me. Then as we went through kickoff and
return, the kids were all out joking around and I lost it. I told
them they didn't care enough to win. Didn't hurt them enough to
I swore and felt bad later. . . . I just didn't think they were
enough of themselves. Lack of ownership was the issue. It was
else's fault. I remember losing it, but part of it was by design.
is also from High Hopes. It gives Barnett's
of the 1995 Notre Dame game, possibly the single most significant
game in NU history. Most fans will probably be able to recall
of the passage below from memory, since this game has now been branded
into the Wildcat mythology.
1995: NU Beats Penn State and Returns
the game I gave out the scouting report. The cover page
"Belief Without Evidence." I told the team, "We're healthy.
We're rested. We're prepared. We're focused, anxious and
And we were. Practice that week was clean, crisp and
These players had a sense about themselves.
Lou [Holtz] pointed out, was thinking more about its entire season than
its opening game. "We don't have the luxury" of just
on Northwestern. I played that part of the interview for the
and rewound it and replayed it a time or two. . . . We went right
to Notre Dame Stadium for a light workout. The place has an aura
that I wanted to dispel immediately. So the first thing I did
we arrived was to assemble the kids and walk off 100 yards, to show
the field was regulation length. Then we walked off 53 yards, to
show them it was regulation width.
do you know--
same as ours," I said. Then I said, "Now, look at the
Do you see any ghosts here?"
made for quite a sight, 120 people looking through the grass for
Nobody saw any, though, so we began practice. . .
met as a team
before we left for the stadium in the morning. I got out scales
put 19 pennies on each side. It was balanced. "We assume
Dame did everything it could," I said. "and we've earned our
Then I took out a penny Jeff Genyk found [at the last practice at Notre
Dame Stadium], and I said, "But we practiced the Sunday before we left
for Kenosha, and that was actually one more time than they did."
I put that penny on our side, and the scales tilted to us.
I said, "I
do not want you to carry me off the field after this game. I want
you to act like you've been here before, like you've done this before
you're used to this."
we took the
field, we were absolutely ready. Right away our defense was
and our offense went according to script. We went ahead 7-0 on
Schnur's perfect six-yard pass to wide receiver David Beazley, who
the touchdown by crashing into the Notre Dame band.
back and forth a little, but we never felt like we weren't in
We led 10-9 at halftime because they missed an extra point, and then
hit another one of our receivers, D'Wayne Bates, for a touchdown early
in the third quarter. Notre Dame scored with 6:16 left but failed
on a two-point conversion attempt when their center stepped on the
foot coming out of the snap.
that's what happened.
a lot of our kids thought Ron Powlus had been tripped by someone else:
Marcel Price, our defensive back who had been killed in a shooting over
had plenty of time to score again, though, so we needed to run out the
clock. We gave the ball up quickly after we got it back but held
them on a fourth and two when Matt Rice, one of our defensive tackles,
stuffed their running back.
we got the
ball back this time, we had a third and about seven to deal with.
Steve wanted to throw "660 X Firm," which was basically a curl
That wasn't necessarily what I thought was the play to go with, but
mattered was it was the one that Steve was the most confident in
fired it in to D'Wayne, who made a great catch. Then running back
Darnell Autry ran about 30 yards, only to be ridiculously called for
But the first down was what mattered. The clock ran out, and we
one tried to
carry me off the field, and-- out on the field-- the guys acted like we
had won just another game. It wasn't like it was the end-all,
I later found out that [Sam] Valenzisi had scooped out some Notre Dame
grass as a souvenir.
NU vs. Michigan:
passage from High Hopes. This section recalled
'95 'Cats taking on the Wolverines, a team NU hadn't beaten in Ann
"Michigan was up next for us and somebody remarked to me, 'You're
with the big boys, huh?'
"I said, 'No, we are the big boys.'
"I wasn't going to let my guard down or compromise on those types of
statements. Part of our faith and belief in ourselves depended on
not tolerating that kind of thinking. Trouble was, I could tell
players were a little uptight, maybe a little awe-struck by what we
doing. We were ranked 25th going into the game and Michigan was
7 and 5-0. Michigan is a special, special place to play, with
than 100,000 people at every game. None of us had ever
in that stadium, and only one player on our team had ever been in
So our audio-visual people put together some highlights, including
of the full house in the Michigan stands, the band, and all the
and we set it to Michigan's fight song, 'Hail to the Victors.'
"'First of all,' I told the team, 'I want you to know what you're
into, okay? Let's just get used to it right now.' I wanted
them to have been there; I wanted them to feel like it was familiar
Then I gave out our scouting report on Michigan, and the theme was,
"'When God made the oyster,' the report started, 'He guaranteed its
economic and social security. He built the oyster a house, its
to shelter and protect it from enemies. When hungry, the oyster
opens its shell and the food rushes in. The oyster has freedom
"'But when God made the eagle he declared, "The blue sky is the limit;
build your own house!" So the eagle built on the highest mountain
that storms threaten every day. For food, the eagle flies through
miles of rain and snow and wind. . .'
"Then I said, 'You know that Michigan is the oyster. They don't
to struggle for anything. . . We are the eagle. . . We're the ones who
have had to meet all the adversities.'
"At the beginning of the game, we fell behind 6-0, but Sam Valenzisi
two field goals-- the second with one second left in the first half--
tie it. . . Michigan executed a beautiful drive early in the third
and went ahead 13-6 on Brian Griese's bootleg run. Even though
showed he was down before he got in, it was clear they weren't having
trouble with our defense.
"But Sam kicked another field goal to keep it close and Eric Collier
up with a huge interception early in the fourth quarter by hanging back
and lulling Griese to sleep. It was time for the gadget play.
"On first down at the Michigan 35 [Steve] Schnur lateraled to D'Wayne
whom we originally recruited as a quarterback. D'Wayne threw a
pass to Darren Drexler, our tight end. First and goal. Two
plays later Schnur threw a two-yard touchdown pass to our fullback,
"[Pat Fitzgerald] sacked Griese on their next series and momentum was
us. Sam made another field goal and it was 19-13.
who finished with more than 200 yards, ran Michigan to around our 30
two minutes left, but then the Wolverines decided to throw and got
into a fourth-and-long predicament. William Bennett intercepted,
and we ran out the clock.
"I remember William saying afterward what a beautiful noise it was to
100,000 people be so quiet."
to the Cover of Sports Illustrated
football team first made the cover of Sports Illustrated in
It would take it thirty-two years, and a media-drenched dream season,
make it again. The Wildcats returned on November 13, 1995,
their stunning victory over Penn State on national prime time
What follows is the article, written by Tim Layden, that
SI chose as
its cover story for that week.
The Cats' Meow
By beating Penn State, Northwestern Proved it's more than a good
story-- it's a good team.
By Tim Layton, Sports Illustrated
They rushed the field last Saturday evening at
flowing from the bleachers under a full November moon and moving onto
plastic grass in the hollow of Dyche Stadium. It was an orderly
but a rush nonetheless, because they have learned how to celebrate the
high of an upset: You wobble the goalposts, you make silly faces while
index fingers in the air for any soul with a minicam, and you act as if
this is very much a surprise, even though it has become ordinary.
And so the most enduring story of the fall continued, with cute
still attached. In the moments after Northwestern wrapped up a
victory over Penn State, completing a spectacularly improbable hat
that included wins over Notre Dame in September and Michigan in
not only did students cover the field in a human blanket, but also
references accrued like 12% interest. Question to Northwestern
coach Gary Barnett: "Coach, how did it feel to coach against Joe
Paterno?" And so on.
But did you see the Northwestern players? Even as the giddiness
them, they treated their eighth win in nine games-- a victory that
them to No. 5 in the country-- as if it were a 10-minute oil change.
with a chance to punch in an extra touchdown in the final 90 seconds,
instead took a knee twice, having acquired class in two months.
on the other hand, has been dominant for 30 years but can't resist
70 on the likes of Iowa State.) At the finish, the Wildcats
off the field as if this were the annual loss to Iowa. When two
fans mauled Northwestern wide receiver Brian Musso, he said, "Well,
you," and moved on through.
The Doormat Makes Good theme is dead now. If you had laid down a
bet in August on Northwestern beating the Big Three on its schedule,
could now buy Delaware, but by the time the Wildcats beat Penn State, a
favorite, the word upset no longer should have applied.
keep waiting for us to just break some weekend and lose 50-0,"
sophomore running back Darnell Autry. "That's not going to
What has happened in Evanston is more than magic and charm and
though it is partly each of those things. The Wildcats have
every week, climbing higher in the nation's rankings and expunging
own wonderment in the process. When they beat Notre Dame on Labor
weekend in South Bend, the Wildcats celebrated madly. They have
calmer with each successive victory. "Actually, we're just on an
plateau right now," said junior linebacker Pat Fitzgerald.
"This team believed in itself even before Notre Dame," said Barnett.
"That win just verified it." True, said fifth-year senior Rob
"Notre Dame was an incredible high, because nobody gave us a
" said Johnson. "That game proved something to us; it was an
But since then we've tried to keep a level head. Every
we're just playing a different face and a different jersey. We're
businesslike about it."
If that concept is baffling, consider that there are concrete reasons
Northwestern's success: sound defense; depth and execution on the
line; and Fitzgerald and Autry, two starters who are playing as well as
in the country at their positions. No less an authority than
who was visibly peeved after Saturday's loss, said "We're a good
team. Northwestern is an outstanding football team. They're
kind of football team." Translation: tough, sound, lacking stars.
Well, almost lacking stars. Last Saturday, Fitzgerald
that he is clearly one of the best linebackers in the country and that
absence from the list of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award is
(memo to voters: think write-in). Fitzgerald had 20 tackles and a
of Penn State quarterback Wally Richardson. This season he has
tackles, with no fewer than 10 in any game. Fitzgerald was part
Barnett's first recruiting class, typical of the high-quality athletes
arriving in Evanston. "It's the whole difference," said
"All of us bought into Coach Barnett's message [summary: No more
seasons, dream of Roses], and it shows on the field."
Autry-- who scored all three Northwestern touchdowns last Saturday and,
significantly, carried the ball 36 times for 139 yards on a cold, windy
when passing was problematic-- was a member of Barnett's second
class. He is perhaps the best athlete in the program, the type of
durable back that one would expect to find at, well, Nebraska. It
Autry who sealed this win with a 23-yard carry to the Penn State one
a touchdown run on the next play, giving the Wildcats their 21-10 lead
11:03 to play.
When asked what it was like to block for Autry, Johnson said, "Easy."
was not easy getting Autry to come to Evanston, because he was the sort
elite recruit who wouldn't have returned phone calls from the
programs of the 1980s. "It was a coup to get him," said running
coach John Wristen, who recruited Autry out of Tempe (Ariz.) High
1994, beating out Colorado in the process. Autry has rushed for a
1,339 yards, majors in theater and soaks up the applause as
much as his elders. "I'm enjoying this as much as any of the
juniors and seniors," he said.
Five of those juniors and seniors start on the offensive line, which
only blocks well for Autry but has also allowed just five sacks of
Steve Schnur (none by Penn State). Although the line is very
it continues to be stung by weekly pronouncements that it is less
than its opposition, that it survives merely on grit and pluck.
Rodney Ray and Chris Martin are also seniors, and Northwestern
leaves them in single coverage on wideouts, which allows Fitzgerald to
more freely. "We put them on an island all the time," said
On Saturday they held reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Bobby
and Freddie Scott to a combined eight catches for 85 yards, with no
over 19 yards and no touchdowns.
"People say we're not talented," said Schnur. "It's true, we do
a great work ethic and we do believe in each other." He paused
smiled. "But it sure doesn't feel like we're less
there." There's more talent on the way. Northwestern hosted
large group of recruits for the Penn State game, and as Barnett said
"Having them at a game like that can't hurt."
It is more than a little sad that all of this blossoming talent and
fortune probably will not land Northwestern in the Rose Bowl. The
(8-1) and No. 2 Ohio State (9-0) are both unbeaten in the Big Ten and
not play each other this year. If they finish tied for the
title, Ohio State goes to Pasadena on the basis of a better overall
a Big Ten rule that has been in effect since 1974. Northwestern's
shot is to win the rest of its games and hope Michigan beats Ohio State
Nov. 25 at Ann Arbor. In the meantime, Fitzgerald says, the
mantra is, "Somewhere warm on January 1st. Somewhere warm on
That somewhere will most likely be Orlando, where Northwestern would
a Southeastern Conference team, possibly Tennessee, in the Citrus Bowl.
so, the permutations of the bowl alliance and its domino sisters remain
"But I'm not worried about who we play in a bowl," said Schnur.
already played a lot of good teams, haven't we?"
At least three. Three that hadn't been beaten by the same team in
same fall since Michigan State did it 30 years ago. Last Saturday
in the John C. Nicolet Football Center next to Dyche Stadium,
coaches and players' parents milled about in small groups, replaying
had happened that day. Barnett leaned against a counter, wearing
jacket and tie, talking to his wife, Mary. In his fourth year as
Wildcats' coach, he now watches as his team grows beyond his teachings,
on its own.
Earlier, Barnett had begun his postgame press conference by feigning
"We must be pretty good," he had said, eliciting the desired
Now he shook his head in amazement. "It was meant to be
Barnett said. "But I am
learning about them as I go along. They beat Notre Dame, they
Michigan, and ever since then, they've faced a challenge that none of
has ever faced before. Normally this type of thing has to evolve
time, but we've just skipped first and second grades and gone right on
Barnett paused as defensive backs coach Jerry Brown walked past,
for the night. "Great game, Jerry," Barnett said, commending the
that contained Engram and Scott. "One hundred twenty-nine yards
that's it," said Brown. He was followed by George and Peggy Price
Nashville, whose son Marcel, a freshman last year, was accidentally
and killed in July. Northwestern players wear a patch on their
in tribute to Marcel, whose parents still occasionally go to
games. "Nice going, Coach," said George Price, pumping Barnett's
Many parents remained, lingering and talking and sharing the pride they
felt. "This is a special group of guys," said Barnett.
are things you don't have to teach them, things they know how to
And right now, they don't want to taste losing again."
Around him the room hummed softly in quiet celebration.
Restrained. Routine. Businesslike.
The Cardiac 'Cats
Earn Their Name
1996 championship season might have been played in the sprawling
shadow of NU's wild and storied Rose Bowl season, but it provided its
share of eventual Wildcat legends and storied moments. Supreme
them has to be Northwestern's 17-16 win over Michigan. The
took a 16-0 lead into the fourth quarter at Dyche Stadium. NU
back, scoring a touchdown and two field goals before having the ball at
with just over one minute left. Facing fourth down and out of
goal range, Steve Schnur fired a wild pass to Brian Musso, who made a
catch for first down. Brian Gowins executed a perfect kick to
but it was recalled by the referees, who weren't ready to restart the
for the play. Forced to kick again, Gowins repeated flawlessly,
NU the win with just over eight seconds left.
an account of this game, I decided to take a different approach and
an article from Michigan's viewpoint. The following column was
by Steve Kornacki, and appeared October 7, 1996 as part of the
Free Press' U. of M. coverage. It is followed by a second
the standard Associated Press account of the game.
Loss to Wildcats especially
painful for U-M's Irons
Free Press Sports Writer
Ill. -- Michigan had just lost to Northwestern in a game that could
deny Jarrett Irons his last opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl. The
Wolverines middle linebacker exited the locker room and limped toward
father outside Dyche Stadium.
proud of you," said Gerald Irons, putting an arm around his son. They
in there," Gerald said.
nodded and hurried to the team bus. He
stepped gingerly on the injured right toe that kept him out of the
fourth quarter -- when the Wildcats scored all their points Saturday in
hurt the toe Thursday during a punt-protection drill, suffering what
has been termed turf toe. Then he jammed the same toe during pregame
the captain started and made five tackles. The pain became too much
in the second half and his mother, Myrna Irons, said her son took a
shot. His foot froze up after the injection and his day was over.
was tough," Irons said, "but it's no excuse. I played as hard as I
We had enough points to win the game and just didn't."
17 points were the first fourth-quarter points U-M had allowed all
passed for 128 yards in the fourth quarter after throwing for
118 in the first three quarters. The Wildcats rushed for 44 yards,
their total for the first 45 minutes.
Steve Schnur was 7-for-9 on third and fourth downs in the final
15 minutes. Michigan had countless chances to stop his relentless
but never could.
made third-and-long look easy, hitting D'Wayne Bates and Brian Musso
time after time.
did he do it?
went into max protections," Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg
said. "They knew they were not going to keep us out, and so they kept
but one receiver in to block. They sent one man out, and he kept
those one-man routes.
knocked the crap out of that quarterback (with four sacks and constant
pressure), but he's a tough kid. A good quarterback. They made the
and we didn't. Somebody had to come up with a big play for us, and
Wolverines had only 28 yards in total offense and one first down in the
they didn't need a big play. All quarterback Scott Dreisbach needed was
six yards on third down with two minutes remaining. But his pass to Tai
came up one yard short, and U-M punted.
I could have any play back," Dreisbach said, "it would be that play.
They were in the perfect defense to protect that route and played it
then drove the Wildcats 58 yards to set up the game-winning, 39-yard
field goal by Brian Gowins with 13 seconds remaining.
made some key mistakes," Wolverines defensive end Glen Steele said. "We
did not have the attitude we had before."
having Irons," Mattison said, "it hurts you. Will Carr and Glen Steele
were banged up, too. But Northwestern also had guys hurt. That's
members of Irons' family hugged him, one by one. His parents, brother
Gerald Jr., grandmothers, aunts, cousins and uncle came to the game
Texas and Gary, Ind.
Sr. wore the white game jersey Jarrett wore on the sidelines at the
1993 Rose Bowl. He was redshirted that season as a freshman, and
his time surely would come.
one horrible fourth quarter, one in which Irons never played, and that
dream hangs by a thread.
EVANSTON, Ill. (Oct 5, 1996 - 18:01 EST) -- Northwestern, the miracle
of college football last season, pulled off one of its greatest
Brian Gowins kicked a 39-yard field goal -- not once but twice -- with
seconds remaining as the No. 22 Wildcats rallied from a 16-0
deficit to stun No. 6 Michigan 17-16.
Gowins, who booted three field goals in the final quarter, initially
the 39-yarder through the uprights, but officials ruled that the play
not been whistled to start.
So Gowins had to try it again. This time his kick was just as
and once again Dyche Stadium becamea sea of purple celebration after
another amazing victory for a program that was once the doormat of
football. Trailing 16-14, Northwestern started at its own 20 with 1:53
and moved to the Michigan 22 behind the passing of Steve Schnur.
biggest pass was a 12-yarder to Brian Musso on a fourth-and-9 from the
46 with a minute left.
Two more passes, one to Musso and another to D'Wayne Bates, and a short
by Darnell Autry -- who finished with 100 yards for an 18th straight
gave the Wildcats a first down at the 22 with 17 seconds to play.
From there the Wildcats decided to kick on first down and Gowins
He also hit from 23 and 33 yards in the final quarter.
Northwestern (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) also rallied to beat Michigan last
19-13, in its improbable drive to the league championship.
But a comeback Saturday didn't look possible against the Wolverines
1-1) and their aggressive defense that pressured and hurried Schnur.
Michigan drove 80 yards on the first series of the second half to take
16-0 lead behind the passing off Scott Dreisbach, who completed
to Russell Shaw and a 27-yarder to Tai Streets, who caught 12 passes in
When Northwestern's Paul Burton couldn't handle a low punt snap and his
hit the ground, the Wolverines were ready to add to the lead late in
But Streets fumbled after a catch at the Northwestern 29, Barry Gardner
recovered and the game turned.
Schnur, who had fumbled at the 9 to kill a second-quarter drive, then
passes of 19 yards to Bates and 24 and 26 yards to Musso for a
at the 7.
Levelle Brown's 3-yard touchdown run capped the 71-yard drive and made
16-6, and Schnur hit Bates with a two-point conversion pass. That cut
lead to 16-8 with 13 minutes remaining.
Northwestern got the ball right back when Chris Howard fumbled and
Buck recovered at the Michigan 20. Autry's 10-yard gain helped the
to a first-and-goal at the 7. But the Wildcats managed just one more
and after two incompletions, Gowins kicked a 23-yard field goal with
After a Michigan punt, the Wildcats moved to the Michigan 15 as Bates
catches of 14, 18 and 12 yards and Gowins hit a 33-yarder to make it
with 5:25 to go. Bates finished the game with eight catches.
Michigan managed one first down on its next series but couldn't kill
of the clock and had to punt. From there, Northwestern moved to its
Remy Hamilton kicked three first-half field goals as the Wolverines
took their 9-0 lead.