The Northwestern Wildcats, who surprised most of the college football world by pulling out six wins this season, are facing off against the Texas A&M Aggies in the Texas Bowl this postseason.
Led by a talented and experienced QB in Dan Persa, Northwestern stunned the nation with a huge win over football powerhouse Nebraska on their way to fifth place in the Big Ten Legends Division. Persa and the Wildcats offense was impressive in tough losses to Michigan State, Penn State and Illinois.
However, Persa didn't do this all alone. He had some help from some big-time playmakers on both offense and defense. As the Texas Bowl creeps closer, some of those guys deserve some credit as well.
We take a look at the top five players on the Wildcats side that you'll need to know once the 31st rolls around.
When senior QB Dan Persa was forced to sit out the first three games of the season due to a lower-leg injury he suffered last year, sophomore back-up Kain Colter had to step up. He quickly impressed with two solid wins and one close loss.
Throwing for 660 yards, five TDs and only one interception all season, Colter looks solid to replace Persa next year at the starting quarterback position. Although Persa took over once he was ready to go for the fourth game, Colter continued to compete at different positions for the Wildcats.
Leading the team in rushing on the season, Colter put up 683 yards on 118 carries with eight TDs. He also caught 40 passes for 454 yards and three TDs. One of the best athletes on the field anytime he's present, he will provide a difficult obstacle for the Aggies this postseason.
A senior safety all the way from Pickerington, OH, Peters was the second leading tackler for Northwestern as well as the strongest member of the Wildcat secondary. His four interceptions are the best team-wide, as he used his experience and smarts to help defend against tough Big Ten passing attacks.
No. 10 totaled 85 tackles on the season along with one sack and four tackles for loss. Easily one of the smartest safeties in his conference, Peters is a weapon Ryan Tannehill, A&M's QB, should study carefully.
No. 11 hails from Hilliard, OH, and helps run not only this Northwestern passing attack, but also the overall offense itself. Leading the team in all-purpose yards as well as receptions, Ebert is a threat that a undisciplined Aggie secondary will have to account for every play.
Totaling 1,025 yards on 71 catches for 11 TDs, this senior poses a danger to any defense. Persa picked his favorite target well and should continue to throw to him in their last game together.
This freshman DB led the Wildcats in tackles this season. Not many players so young can perform so well in a difficult conference at one of the toughest positions on the field. Grabbing 89 tackles and two interceptions, Campbell will be a major threat to offenses for the next couple of years.
A&M has some fantastic wide receivers that will need covering. No. 24 will gladly accept the job with emphasis as he looks to open some eyes on a national stage.
Missing the first three game of the season, this superstar QB came back with some fight in him. After putting up big numbers last year, No. 7 is in prime position to reach the NFL after this last bowl game. Wanting to go out with a bang, Persa will be playing with no regrets this New Year's Eve.
Owning a QB rating of 160.3, a 74.2 completion percentage on 260 passes, 2,163 yards in the air and 17 TDs with only seven interceptions, this senior is a force to be reckoned with. The most important player to keep your eyes on, Northwestern will be looking upset A&M under the guiding influence of his arm.