1995 Northwestern Wildcats football team
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.
|1995 Northwestern Wildcats football|
Big Ten champion
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|1995 record||10–2 (8–0 Big Ten)|
|Head coach||Gary Barnett (4th season)|
|Home stadium||Dyche Stadium (Capacity: 49,256)|
|1995 Big Ten football standings|
|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|
|No. 25 Iowa||4||–||4||–||0||8||–||4||–||0|
Rankings from AP Poll
"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*||NBC||W 17–15||59,075|
|September 16||11:00 AM||Miami (OH)*||No. 25||ESPN2||L 28–30||26,352|
|September 23||11:30 AM||Air Force*||ESPN||W 30–6||26,037|
|September 30||1:00 PM||Indiana||W 31–7||29,223|
|October 7||11:30 AM||at No. 7 Michigan||No. 25||ESPN||W 19–13||104,642|
|October 14||1:00 PM||at Minnesota||No. 14||W 27–17||50,504|
|October 21||11:30 AM||No. 24 Wisconsin||No. 11||ESPN2||W 35–0||49,256|
|October 28||11:00 AM||at Illinois||No. 8||SCC||W 17–14||65,425|
|November 4||2:30 PM||No. 12 Penn State||No. 6||ABC||W 21–10||49,256|
|November 11||11:00 AM||Iowa||No. 5||Creative||W 31–20||49,256|
|November 18||2:30 PM||at Purdue||No. 5||ABC||W 23–8||47,172|
|January 1||3:30 PM||vs. No. 17 USC*||No. 3||ABC||L 32–41||100,102|
|1995 Northwestern Wildcats football team roster|