Auburn Wins Crazy Outback Bowl
by CFP Staff
January 1, 2010
Northwestern twice overcame 14-point deficits and forced overtime before failing to win a bowl game for the first time since the 1949 Rose Bowl (end of 1948 season). Auburn opened the overtime with a 21-yard field goal and then, a wild game got wilder. Two Northwestern turnover calls were correctly reversed by replay and a penalty for roughing the kicker nullified a missed field goal to give the Wildcats yet another lease on life. But a fake field goal attempt on 4th down was well-defended by Auburn to allow it to finally pull out the 38-35 win in the Outback Bowl.
Auburn built a halftime 21-7 lead thanks in large part to two interceptions in its end zone, the first of which was returned 100 yards by Walter McFadden.
Northwestern knotted the game at 21-all by the end of the 3rd quarter, only to see Auburn retake the lead after Mike Kafka's fifth interception. It was extended to 35-21 on the Tigers' next possession when they only needed 3 plays to go 65 yards and seemingly put the game away with 7-and-a-half minutes left.
The Wildcats, however, were not done. Kafka engineered a 15-play, 58-yard drive to make it 35-27 with 3-and-a-half minutes left, but a blocked extra point left Northwestern 8 points back at 35-27. An onside kick was recovered by Auburn, but Ben Tate, who scored the last two Auburn touchdowns and ran for 108 yards, fumbled at the Northwestern 31-yard line. Seven plays later, Kafka threw his 4th touchdown pass and the 2-point conversion was converted on a reverse pass play. Auburn then fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the Wildcats a chance to win in regulation, but a 42-yard field goal attempt narrowly missed to the right.
Kafka's yo-yo day included 532 yards passing as Northwestern piled up 621 total yards on a Tiger defense that entered the game ranked 29th against the pass.
Auburn returned the bowl season under first-year head coach Gene Chizik and finished the season 8-5. The Tigers extended their bowl winning streak to 3 and have now won 6 of their last 7 bowl games.
Northwestern also finished the season 8-5 as it dropped to 1-7 all-time in bowl games.