Mississippi State vs. Northwestern, Gator Bowl: Wildcats prevail over Bulldogs, 34-20

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern took home the 2013 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl trophy on Tuesday with a 14-point win over Mississippi State.

Despite giving the ball away three times on offense, Pat Fitzgerald's Northwestern Wildcats reigned victorious over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Tuesday afternoon in the 2013 Gator Bowl, 34-20.

Northwestern's defense held the Bulldogs to a meager 9-percent success rate on third-down conversions, and forced Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell to throw a career-high four interceptions in the win. After failing to score an offensive touchdown through the first 35 minutes of the game, the Wildcats managed to break a 13-13 tie in the third with a key touchdown run from tailback Tyris Jones. Jones' 3-yard scamper into the end zone would prove to be a trend for the Wildcats over the remainder of the game, as teammates Trevor Siemian and Venric Mark each later crossed the goal line on short runs to help the Wildcats pad their lead.

The biggest play of the afternoon may very well have come from Northwestern senior pass rusher Quentin Williams, who stunned the Bulldogs just 37 seconds into the game by intercepting a Russell pass and returning it 29 yards for a touchdown. Williams was one of four different Northwestern players to finish the day with an interception, as teammate Nick VanHoose also nearly found the end zone with a 39-yard return of his own.

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