1995 Northwestern Wildcats football team
|1995 Northwestern Wildcats football|
Big Ten Champions
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|1995 record||10–2 (8–0 Big Ten)|
|Head coach||Gary Barnett|
|Home stadium||Dyche Stadium (Capacity: 49,256)|
|1995 Big Ten football standings|
|#8 Northwestern $||8||–||0||–||0||10||–||2||–||0|
|#6 Ohio State||7||–||1||–||0||11||–||2||–||0|
|#13 Penn State||5||–||3||–||0||9||–||3||–||0|
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 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 ever ranking (#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.
|September 2||1:30 PM||at No. 8 Notre Dame*||Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN||NBC||W 17–15||59,075|
|September 16||11:00 AM||Miami (OH)*||No. 25||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||ESPN2||L 28–30||26,352|
|September 23||11:30 AM||Air Force*||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||ESPN||W 30–6||26,037|
|September 30||1:00 PM||Indiana||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||W 31–7||29,223|
|October 7||11:30 AM||at No. 7 Michigan||No. 25||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN||W 19–13||104,642|
|October 14||1:00 PM||at Minnesota||No. 14||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome • Minneapolis, MN||W 27–17||50,504|
|October 21||11:30 AM||No. 24 Wisconsin||No. 11||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||ESPN2||W 35–0||49,256|
|October 28||11:00 AM||at Illinois||No. 8||Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL||SCC||W 17–14||65,425|
|November 4||2:30 PM||No. 12 Penn State||No. 6||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||ABC||W 21–10||49,256|
|November 11||11:00 AM||Iowa||No. 5||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||Creative||W 31–20||49,256|
|November 18||2:30 PM||at Purdue||No. 5||Ross–Ade Stadium • West Lafayette, IN||ABC||W 23–8||47,172|
|January 1||3:30 PM||vs. No. 17 USC*||No. 3||Rose Bowl • Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)||ABC||L 32–41||100,102|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.|
1995 team players in the NFL
Awards and honors
- Head coach Gary Barnett: Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, Walter Camp Coach of the Year
- Linebacker Pat Fitzgerald: Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year