EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University Director of Athletics Jim Phillips and Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay have announced that the University has accepted a bid to play in the 24th annual Outback Bowl, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010 in Tampa, Fla.
The Wildcats (8-4), the Big Ten Conference representative, will play Auburn University (7-5), the Southeastern Conference representative, at 10 a.m. CST (ESPN HD, ESPN Radio, WGN 720 AM, WNUR 89.3 FM) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Wildcats are making their first appearance in the Outback Bowl while the Tigers are making their third appearance, and their first in 14 years.
"To be certain, we're extremely excited about taking the Wildcats to Tampa for a New Year's Day bowl game," says Jim Phillips, Northwestern's director of athletics. "This is a tremendous reward for our football program, which made huge strides throughout the course of the season. I know everyone associated with Northwestern and all our passionate fans will have a tremendous experience in Tampa. We are honored and enthusiastically accept this wonderful opportunity to travel to the Outback Bowl and represent the Big Ten Conference."
Northwestern gained its bowl berth by producing a eight-win season and finishing the season with three straight wins, including a pair of victories over nationally ranked Iowa and Wisconsin. Northwestern, which received several votes in all the final regular-season polls, finished in a fourth-place tie in the Big Ten Conference with a 5-3 record. The Outback Bowl pits the third selection from the Big Ten vs. the third selection from the SEC. Auburn finished 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC West.
"We're extremely proud of our football program, which for the second straight year, finished the season by playing its best football," says Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald. "We're proud to represent the Big Ten on New Year's Day at the Outback Bowl against Auburn, a tremendous opponent from the Southeastern Conference. I'm thrilled for our 21 seniors, who are one of the winningest classes in program history. Our number one goal this season was to win our bowl game. Now the opportunity is in front of us and it is time to consistently prepare every day to achieve that goal."
Northwestern fans are urged to purchase their tickets through the Northwestern Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased online at NUsports.com, by calling 847-491-CATS, in person at the ticket office (1501 Central Street, Evanston, Ill. 60208) or by mailing in an application, which will be found on the Northwestern web site starting Monday.
"The ticket offices at the two respective schools have the best available seats for this bowl game," said Phillips. "If you're a Wildcat fan and you need tickets, buy your tickets at NUsports.com. Also, fans who can't attend the game but still wish to purchase tickets can do so and their tickets will be donated to NU students, members of the Tampa community, etc."
The 'Cats are making their eighth all-time postseason bowl appearance, and their seventh in the last 15 years.