Wildcats use three interceptions to take 13-10 halftime lead


Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald congratulates his defense after senior defensive end Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats used the score to help give them a 13-0 lead, but NU now leads 13-10 at halftime.

Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Editor

Northwestern leads Mississippi State 13-10 after the first half of the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl.

The Wildcats jumped to an early lead, led by an opportunistic defense. Senior defensive lineman Quentin Williams opened the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown on the Bulldogs first drive. On Mississippi State’s next possession, sophomore safety Ibraheim Campbell came down with an interception of his own, leading to an NU field goal.

The Cats led 13-0 early in the second quarter after a drive in the red zone stalled and resulted in another field goal.

An interception by junior quarterback Kain Colter gave the Bulldogs a chance to get on the board, but sophomore linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo corralled the Cats’ third interception to preserve their lead.

Mississippi State would eventually get their first score with a field goal, set up via a 59-yard run by redshirt freshman Josh Robinson.

The Bulldogs finally broke into the end zone with just under two minutes left in the half after a 6-play, 62-yard drive culminated in an 18-yard touchdown pass.

The Cats struggled on the ground on both sides of the ball. Junior running back Venric Mark ran 9 times for 30 yards, 22 of which came on one play. As a team, NU averaged 3.6 yards per rush.

The Bulldogs gained 136 yards on 14 carries for a 9.7 yards per carry average.

NU will receive to start the second half.

— Rohan Nadkarni