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Northwestern pleased with Gator Bowl selection

The Wildcats have never won a bowl game under Pat Fitzgerald, but they're hoping that the third time's a charm as they return to a New Year's Day bowl for the third time in four years.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Nabbing a New Year's Day bowl bid for the third time in four years, the Northwestern Wildcats are pleased with landing in the 2013 Gator Bowl, CSN Chicago reports. The Wildcats will be taking on the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, representing the SEC, at noon on Jan. 1, 2013.

Speaking of the upcoming bowl game, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters, "It's going to fun. You always love to compete, and when you get to compete against a friend, it kind of makes it that much more special. ... It's not about us. It's about the young me in our program.''

Fitzgerald and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen used to recruit against one another in the Houston area over a decade ago, and the two coaches continue to stay in touch up to this day. Things may not be as friendly for the first day of the new year, though, as their respective teams match up.

The Bulldogs appeared in the 2011 Gator Bowl and defeated the Michigan Wolverines easily, 52-14. The Wildcats have never won a bowl game under Fitzgerald.