Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In the Bronx, Wildcats Capture Pinstripe Bowl

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson delivers during
Wednesday's Pinstripe Bowl (Photo / Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Bronx, NY - Northwestern won the third bowl game in its program history when it defeated Pitt on Wednesday, 31-24, in the 2016 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Running back Justin Jackson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Wildcats.

Northwestern knocked Panthers' running back James Conner and quarterback Nathan Peterman out of the contest as part of a surprisingly staunch defensive effort against a potent Pitt offense. Coming into the game, the Panthers had scored 28 points or more in each of their first 12 games. They also dealt Clemson its only loss of the season when they defeated the Tigers, 43-42, on November 12.

For head coach Pat Fitzgerald, it was the second bowl victory in his 11-year tenure in Evanston. The Wildcats won the 2013 Gator Bowl over Mississippi State to give the former linebacker his first postseason win. Before that, Northwestern's only victory in a bowl game came in the 1948 Rose Bowl when they defeated California.

In an overcrowded bowl season, the seventh-year Pinstripe Bowl has carved out a place as one of the better non-playoff games. The 2014 and 2015 games went to overtime, and the 2016 game threatened to do so until a late interception by Northwestern's Cameron Queiro sealed the game in the Wildcats' favor.

Pitt concludes its season with an 8-5 mark, while Northwestern ends the year at 7-6 and with a bowl victory.

Wildcats' head coach Pat Fitzgerald hoists the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl trophy aloft
(Photo / Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

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