Football: Northwestern to face Auburn in the Citrus Bowl


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Kyric McGowan runs past an Ohio State defender. The senior wide receiver entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Monday.

Peter Warren, Gameday Editor


After winning its second Big Ten West title in three seasons, No. 14 Northwestern will have a chance to add another trophy to its cabinet at the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020.

The No. 14 Wildcats (6-2, 6-1 Big Ten) will Auburn (6-4, 6-4 SEC) at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CST.

NU is coming off a disappointing 22-10 loss Saturday in the Big Ten Championship GAme to Ohio State. The Cats won six games in the regular season, completing a worst-to-first turnaround to become the fourth Big Ten team to make multiple conference championship games.

Three of Auburn’s four losses this season have come to top-10 ranked teams, including No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Texas A&M in two of their final three games of the season. After defeating Mississippi State to round out their season, the Tigers fired head coach Gus Malzahn. Malzahn was 68-34 over eight seasons.

NU has played in the Citrus Bowl once before in 1997. In the final game of Pat Fitzgerald’s career, the Cats lost 48-28 to a Peyton Manning-led Tennessee squad. Manning was the star of the game, throwing for 408 yards and four touchdowns on 27-for-39 passing.

This will be NU’s fifth bowl in six seasons. The Cats have won their previous three bowl games — 2016 Pinstripe Bowl, 2017 Music City Bowl and 2018 Holiday Bowl.

Fitzgerald is 4-5 in bowl games as a coach. After Saturday’s game, he said he hopes the team will be able to send the senior class off on a high note.

“They’re going to have to lead us again as we get ready for a couple weeks from now the privilege to represent the Big Ten in whatever bowl game destination that we get the privilege to go to,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve never been four-time bowl champions in a row so we’ve got a lot to play for.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @thepeterwarren