Evanston City Council salutes NU’s big bowl win
Northwestern football player Jared Carpenter, the MVP of the Gator Bowl, hoists a cup that Evanston officials presented Monday night in honor of the Wildcats' victory. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:23PM
EVANSTON — Northwestern University has promoted its football program as, “Chicago’s Big 10 Team” in recent years, tapping into the obvious marketing potential of the wider metropolitan area.
But on Monday, the team was all Evanston’s.
City Council members honored the Wildcats and their special season in a ceremony before the council meeting Monday night.
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl presided over the ceremony. She presented Jared Carpenter, MVP of the Gator Bowl, and NU athletic director Jim Phillips with a trophy bowl in honor of Northwestern’s 34-20 Gator Bowl win over Mississippi State in Jacksonville on Jan. 1.
The win capped a 10-win season and marked the program’s first bowl victory since 1949.
The mayor’s trophy came with a special flourish: a stuffed toy alligator nestled in the cup.
The team may have received other honors since its victory, “but you never had a gator cuter than this,” the mayor told Carpenter and Phillips.
Carpenter, a fifth-year senior, thanked the city for its support. Since coming to campus, he said the city has been, “totally behind us and the support has grown over the years.”
To go out with 10 wins and a Bowl victory, “I couldn’t have written anything better,” he added.
Phillips also thanked city officials for their support, noting the close relationship the program has with the mayor and aldermen.
“It certainly says Northwestern on the front of our jerseys, and we represent the institution the best we can,” Phillips said. “But we don’t forget we represent the city of Evanston. I’m very proud of our young men and coaches, and the entire city of Evanston going down to Jacksonville and showing what a special place this is.”
The inscription on the trophy offered, “Congratulations to the Northwestern football team for their Jan. 1 Gator Bowl win” and carried the names of the mayor and aldermen.
“Thank you all. You did us proud,” Tisdahl said in closing the ceremony.