There are many beautiful bowl destinations to imagine following your team to – Miami, Pasadena, Tampa, Detroit…er, Detroit? Yes, the industrial wonderland of Michigan is home to the Motor City Bowl, a game that has not yet even reached adolescence appeared pitiful compared to most of the historic post-season venues.
Ford Field is the site of the game and along with Comerica Park across the street, downtown Detroit has less to offer than a Lean Cuisine. The area suffered severe dilapidation and the streets were downright scary. Driving downtown after sunset caused us to pray to Our Lady of Bullet Proof Glass, as my friend phrased the situation. Nevertheless, entering Ford Field, the sparkling new home of the Detroit Lions, was a pleasure. The indoor stadium, holding less than traditional college football stadiums, offered a perfect venue for a bowl. Both teams didn’t have to travel a long distance, either. Both the Wildcats and the Falcons lured a slew of fans to Detroit.
Bowling Green, champs of the MAC conference, entered the Motor City Bowl with a record of 10-3, while Northwestern clung to a 6-6 record and eighth place in the Big Ten. Still, these teams were evenly matched as they set up for kickoff. This happened to be the precise moment we entered. From the concourse around the stadium, the game could be watched as fans found their seats. Northwestern led most of the game courtesy of long and exciting touchdown jaunts by Noah Herron and Jason Wright.
However, Bowling Green’s major weapon, quarterback Josh Harris, had drilled touchdown passes that eventually led to a 21-17 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game. The Wildcats seemed out of gas until Jason Wright delivered the ensuing kickoff 88 yards, setting up a Noah Herron touchdown run to recapture the lead 24-21. The purple portion of the stadium surged with electricity while “Go U Northwestern” reverberated off the dome walls.
Josh Harris viewed the situation as a minor setback and led Bowling Green’s response with the winning drive that sealed his MVP honors, as well. The Falcon fans, who out-populated the Wildcat fans, celebrated their first bowl victory since 1992 loudly and boisterously. The team beamed with pride as they accepted their Motor City Bowl trophy. Maybe this game doesn’t have the grandeur that the Orange, Rose, or Cotton bowls possess, but players and fans revere all bowl games as the capstone to a season well done.