The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Indiana Hoosiers, 31-28, in a thrilling Big Ten Conference contest today in Evanston. The win was the sixth of the season for the Wildcats and made them bowl eligible. Indiana became bowl eligible last week.

Down 28-24 with 44 seconds remaining in the game, Northwestern scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard pass from C.J. Bacher to Ross Lane. Running back Tyrell Sutton paced the Wildcats with 138 yards and a score on 33 carries. Both teams are now 6-5 overall, but Northwestern is 3-4 in Big Ten play, while the Hoosiers are 2-5.

Commentary: With the exception of Minnesota, the Big Ten Conference hasn’t been this balanced since the first half of the 1990s when five different schools won the conference championship. Four teams actually tied in 1990 (Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan with Iowa going to the Rose Bowl Game). Michigan won in 1991 and 1992, but Wisconsin won in 1993 (tie-breaker over Ohio State), Penn State won in 1994, Northwestern won in 1995, and Ohio State tied with Northwestern in 1996. Credit Pat Fitzgerald with rebuilding the Wildcats into a bowl-eligible team, as well as Bill Lynch for the job he has done taking over the Hoosier program following Terry Hoeppner’s death.