1995 Northwestern Wildcats football
Big Ten champion
Rose Bowl, L 32–41 vs. USC
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 7
APNo. 8
Record10–2 (8–0 Big Ten)
Head coach
Defensive coordinatorRon Vanderlinden (4th season)
Captains
  • William Bennett[1]
  • Rob Johnson
  • Sam Valenzisi
Home stadiumDyche Stadium (Capacity: 49,256)
Seasons
← 1994
1996 →
1995 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 8 Northwestern $ 8 0 0 10 2 0
No. 6 Ohio State 7 1 0 11 2 0
No. 13 Penn State 5 3 0 9 3 0
No. 17 Michigan 5 3 0 9 4 0
Michigan State 4 3 1 6 5 1
No. 25 Iowa 4 4 0 8 4 0
Illinois 3 4 1 5 5 1
Wisconsin 3 4 1 4 5 2
Purdue 2 5 1 4 6 1
Minnesota 1 7 0 3 8 0
Indiana 0 8 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1995 Northwestern Wildcats football team represented Northwestern University in the 1995 NCAA Division I-A college football season. The 1995 season was a highly memorable one for the Northwestern program, as the Wildcats went 10–2 overall and 8–0 in the Big Ten Conference, earning their first winning season since 1971, their first conference championship since 1936, and their first 10-win season in school history. They also broke several long-standing losing streaks to regular opponents, including a 22-game losing streak to Iowa, a 19-game losing streak against Michigan, and a 14-game losing streak to Notre Dame.

"Expect Victory" was the motto even as Northwestern began the season as 28-point underdogs against Notre Dame, who they upset 17-15, propelling into the AP poll at #25. An upset loss to the Miami Redhawks in the second game of the season caused the Wildcats to drop out of the rankings. However, subsequent wins over ranked Michigan (19-13), Wisconsin (35-0), and Penn State (21-10) pushed the Wildcats into the top-10 while making them national media darlings.

Nine consecutive wins (including eight against Big Ten opponents) brought Northwestern their highest ranking since 1962 (#3), a conference title, and their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1949. In the Rose Bowl, the Wildcats' Cinderella season came to a conclusion with a 41–32 loss to the USC Trojans, and they finished the season at #8.

Northwestern was coached by Gary Barnett, who won multiple coach of the year awards for leading the dramatic turnaround of the program. Star players included the trio of quarterback Steve Schnur, running back Darnell Autry, and linebacker Pat Fitzgerald, who was named Big Ten and national defensive player of the year.

Schedule

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 21:30 pmat No. 9 Notre Dame*NBCW 17–1559,075
September 1611:00 amMiami (OH)*No. 25ESPN2L 28–3026,352
September 2311:30 amAir Force*
  • Dyche Stadium
  • Evanston, Illinois
ESPNW 30–626,037
September 301:00 pmIndiana
  • Dyche Stadium
  • Evanston, Illinois
W 31–729,223
October 711:30 amat No. 7 MichiganNo. 25ESPNW 19–13104,642
October 141:00 pmat MinnesotaNo. 14W 27–1750,504
October 2111:30 amNo. 24 WisconsindaggerNo. 11
  • Dyche Stadium
  • Evanston, Illinois
ESPN2W 35–049,256
October 2811:00 amat IllinoisNo. 8SCCW 17–1465,425
November 42:30 pmNo. 12 Penn StateNo. 6
  • Dyche Stadium
  • Evanston, Illinois
ABCW 21–1049,256
November 1111:00 amIowaNo. 5
CreativeW 31–2049,256
November 182:30 pmat PurdueNo. 5ABCW 23–847,172
January 13:30 pmvs. No. 17 USC*No. 3ABCL 32–41100,102

Roster

1995 Northwestern Wildcats football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
RB 32 Adrian Autry So
RB 24 Darnell Autry So
WR 5 D'Wayne Bates Fr
WR 86 Dave Beazley Jr
FB   Levelle Brown Fr
G 61 Justin Chabot Jr
TE 83 Darren Drexler Jr
TE 85 Brian Harpring Sr
FB 46 Matt Hartl Jr
QB 8 Tim Hughes Jr
OT 74 Paul Janus Jr
C 57 Rob Johnson Sr
OT 78 Brian Kardos
WR 22 Brian Musso So
G 75 Ryan Padgett
G 77 Chad Pugh
QB 10 Steve Schnur Jr
WR 25 Jeff Swenson So
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
FS 20 William Bennett Sr
SS 33 Eric Collier Jr
DE 36 Casey Dailey Jr
LB 51 Pat Fitzgerald 
Injured
Jr
LB 55 Barry Gardner Fr
LB 53 Don Holmes Jr
CB 3 Hudhaifa Ismaeli So
LB 44 Keith Lozowski Jr
LB 59 BT Franklin Sr
CB 16 Chris Martin Sr
CB 15 Rodney Ray Sr
DL 89 Larry Curry Sr
DL 94 Joe Reiff Jr
DL 95 Matt Rice
DL 96 Ray Robey
LB   Tim Scharf Jr
LB 47 Geoff Shein
LB 50 Danny Sutter
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
P 14 Paul Burton Jr
K 13 Brian Gowins So
K 27 Sam Valenzisi 
Injured
 (C)
Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
    Injured
  • Redshirt
    Redshirt

Rankings

Further information: 1995 NCAA Division I-A football rankings

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
— = Not ranked.
Week
PollPre123456789101112131415Final
AP2525141186554338
Coaches171186554337

[2]

Game summaries

Notre Dame

See also: 1995 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and Northwestern–Notre Dame football rivalry

Northwestern Wildcats at #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 7 3 7017
Notre Dame 0 9 0615

at Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Indiana

Game information

[3] [4] [5] [6]

Miami (OH)

See also: 1995 Miami Redskins football team

The Wildcats surrendered a 21-point 4th quarter lead in their first game as a nationally ranked team since 1971. Miami of Ohio's Chad Seitz booted a 20-yard field goal as time expired to give the Redskins the victory. The opposing team was led by future Northwestern head coach Randy Walker and his offensive coordinator was Sean Payton. This would be the lone regular season blemish on the Wildcats' schedule.[7][8]

Miami (OH) Redskins at #25 Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Miami (OH) 0 7 02330
Northwestern 14 7 7028

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

  • Date: September 16, 1995
  • Game time: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 26,352
  • Box Score
Game information

Air Force

See also: 1995 Air Force Falcons football team

Air Force Falcons at Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Air Force 0 6 006
Northwestern 10 6 01430

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

  • Date: September 23, 1995
  • Game time: 11:30 a.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 26,037
  • [9]
Game information

Indiana

See also: 1995 Indiana Hoosiers football team

Indiana Hoosiers at Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Indiana 0 7 007
Northwestern 3 7 111031

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

  • Date: September 30, 1995
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 29,223
  • [10]
Game information

Michigan

See also: 1995 Michigan Wolverines football team

#25 Northwestern Wildcats at #7 Michigan Wolverines
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 0 6 31019
Michigan 3 3 7013

at Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Date: October 7, 1995
  • Game time: 11:30 a.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 104,642
  • TV: ESPN
  • Box Score
Game information

Minnesota

See also: 1995 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team

After falling behind 14–3 early in the second quarter, the Wildcats scored the next 24 points to take control of the game. Darnell Autry ran for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 73-yard burst early in the fourth quarter.[11]

#14 Northwestern Wildcats at Minnesota Golden Gophers
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 3 11 7627
Minnesota 7 7 0317

at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Date: October 14, 1995
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 50,504
  • Box Score
Game information

Wisconsin

See also: 1995 Wisconsin Badgers football team

The Wildcats forced 7 Badger turnovers (Wisconsin had 6 total in their first five games) in a triumphant homecoming matchup. The game marked the first sellout at Northwestern since 1984.[12] [13]

#24 Wisconsin Badgers at #11 Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Wisconsin 0 0 000
Northwestern 10 3 61635

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

  • Date: October 21, 1995
  • Game time: 11:30 a.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 49,256
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Box Score
Game information

Illinois

See also: 1995 Illinois Fighting Illini football team and Illinois–Northwestern football rivalry

#8 Northwestern Wildcats at Illinois Fighting Illini
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 0 10 0717
Illinois 7 7 0014

at Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois

  • Date: October 28, 1995
  • Game time: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 65,425
  • TV: SCC
  • [14]
Game information

Penn State

See also: 1995 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

#12 Penn State Nittany Lions at #6 Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Penn State 0 7 3010
Northwestern 7 7 0721

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

Game information

[15][16]

Iowa

See also: 1995 Iowa Hawkeyes football team and College GameDay (football)

Iowa Hawkeyes at #5 Northwestern Wildcats
1 2 34Total
Iowa 0 20 0020
Northwestern 3 14 7731

at Dyche Stadium, Evanston, Illinois

  • Date: November 11, 1995
  • Game time: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Game weather: 26° F, Overcast, Wind N 30 mph
  • Game attendance: 49,256
  • Referee: David Witvoet
  • TV announcers (Creative Sports): Wayne Larrivee, Randy Wright, and Jim Barber
  • Box Score
Game information

[17]

Purdue

See also: 1995 Purdue Boilermakers football team

Northwestern got two big scoring plays in the first half – a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown by Chris Martin and a 72-yard touchdown reception by D'Wayne Bates – to take control. Darnell Autry carried the ball 32 times for a career-high 226 yards.[18][19]

#5 Northwestern Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 7 7 9023
Purdue 0 0 088

at Ross–Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana

  • Date: November 18, 1995
  • Game time: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Game attendance: 47,172
  • TV: ABC
  • Box Score
Game information

Rose Bowl

See also: 1995 USC Trojans football team and 1996 Rose Bowl

#3 Northwestern Wildcats vs. #17 USC Trojans
1 2 34Total
Northwestern 7 3 16632
USC 7 17 71041

at Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

Game information

[20] [21] [22][23]

Awards and honors

1995 team players in the NFL

References

  1. ^ "Year-by-Year Results" (PDF). 2007. p. 149. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-03-16. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  2. ^ "Northwestern 1995 AP Football Rankings". collegepollarchive.com. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "NORTHWESTERN DETERMINED TO BUCK THE ODDS". Chicago Tribune. August 23, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  4. ^ "Northwestern vs. Notre Dame". USA Today. September 2, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "NOTRE DAME STUNNED BY NORTHWESTERN". The Washington Post. September 3, 1995. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Witnesses recall Northwestern's 1995 upset of Notre Dame". Chicago Tribune. November 13, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Miami (ohio) vs. Northwestern". USA Today. September 16, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "Back to Reality: Miami of Ohio 30, Northwestern 28". Chicago Tribune. September 17, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Air Force vs. Northwestern". USA Today. September 23, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "Indiana vs. Northwestern". USA Today. September 30, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Northwestern vs. Minnesota". USA Today. October 14, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "Northwestern 35, Wisconsin 0". United Press International. October 21, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "NEWS FOR NO. 8 NU ISN'T ALL THAT ROSY". Chicago Tribune. October 23, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  14. ^ "Northwestern vs. Illinois". USA Today. October 28, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "Penn St. vs. Northwestern". USA Today. November 4, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Layden, Tim (November 13, 1995). "THE CATS' MEOW BY BEATING PENN STATE, NORTHWESTERN PROVED IT'S MORE THAN A GOOD STORY--IT'S A GOOD TEAM". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  17. ^ "Iowa vs. Northwestern". USA Today. November 11, 1995. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Northwestern vs. Purdue". USA Today. November 18, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "Memory of Single Loss Helped Wildcats Dig In". Chicago Tribune. November 19, 1995. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  20. ^ "FOR INJURED, A BITTERSWEET TIME". Chicago Tribune. December 24, 1995. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  21. ^ Telander, Rick (December 25, 1995). "PURPLE HAZE IN AN IMPROBABLY SENSATIONAL SEASON, NORTHWESTERN EMERGED FROM A FOG OF FUTILITY TO EARN A TRIP TO SUNNY PASADENA". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "USC Rewrites Northwestern's Storybook Ending". The New York Times. January 2, 1996. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  23. ^ "ROSE BOWL: USC 41, Northwestern 32 : Cinderella Beaten to Ball". Los Angeles Times. January 2, 1996. Retrieved June 22, 2019.