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Northwestern happy to hold onto late lead; Wildcats in good shape for solid bowl bid

The Northwestern Wildcats hope they can finally move on from their fourth-quarter struggles.

After holding on for a 23-20 victory over Michigan State on Sunday, the Wildcats are very much in the mix for a quality bowl bid at the end of the season.

Northwestern (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) blew fourth-quarter leads in losses to Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan, so the Wildcats had reason to be anxious when Michigan State took over at its own 20-yard line with 1:29 remaining, needing a field goal to tie.

But Andrew Maxwell threw four straight incompletions, and now Northwestern can state its case even further to bowl representatives next weekend against Illinois.