Just getting to a bowl game no longer matters to Northwestern.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats want to win one and end a decades-long losing streak.
Northwestern (9-3) hasn't won a bowl since beating Cal in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have dropped nine in a row since, matching the longest streak in NCAA history.
They get a chance to avoid extending the mark Tuesday against Mississippi State (8-4) in the Gator Bowl.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald says winning a bowl game is "the next step in where we want to go as a program."
Northwestern has come close the last four years, losing twice in overtime and once by a touchdown.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have won five consecutive bowls — the longest current streak in the country.