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Bowl streaks on line for Northwestern, Miss. State

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Bowl streaks on line for Northwestern, Miss. State

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) 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 it beat California 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 stop that skid when they face Mississippi State (8-4) in the Gator Bowl on Tuesday.

``It's the next step in where we want to go as a program,'' Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ``The consistent success we've had in the program of being in the postseason for five successive seasons is something we're proud of. Winning a bowl game is the next step.''

Northwestern has come close the last four years, losing 30-23 in overtime against Missouri in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, falling 38-35 to Auburn in overtime in the 2010 Outback Bowl, dropping a 45-38 decision to Texas Tech in the 2011 Ticket City Bowl and then losing 33-22 to Texas A&M in last season's Meineke Care Car Bowl.

But as Fitzgerald and his players were quick to point out, close means little.

``I feel like everyone on this team is motivated to be that first team to get that bowl win for the first time in a long, long time,'' quarterback Kain Colter said. ``The seniors have done a good job in building the foundation that we have. We're on the rise right now and a lot of that is credited to them. If we could send them off the right way and add another part to their legacy and continue on to our legacy, that would be great.''

Mississippi State dropped four of its final five games to end the regular season, but it has won five consecutive bowl games - the longest current streak in the country.

``We've had a lot of big wins this year and some tough losses this year,'' Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. ``Our guys want to go out there and finish it off the right way and send our seniors out winning a bowl championship.''

The Bulldogs haven't lost a bowl game since the 1999 Peach Bowl. They rebounded the next year to beat Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl and since have postseason wins against Central Florida (2007 Liberty Bowl), Michigan (2011 Gator Bowl) and Wake Forest (2011 Music City Bowl).

Mississippi State's last trip to Jacksonville ended with a 52-14 romp over the Wolverines. The Bulldogs scored 42 unanswered points while dominating the final three quarters.

The lopsided affair added to a recent run of Southeastern Conference success against Big Ten opponents on New Year's Day.

The SEC is 8-2 against the Big Ten over the last four years, with wins coming in the Gator, Outback and Capital One bowls.

``Playing in the Southeastern Conference, a lot of people see it as one of the elite conferences,'' MSU linebacker Cam Lawrence said. ``But I get excited to play a new school. It's always fun to have a new experience and a new opponent and a new challenge. ... It's a bowl game and anything could happen.''

Maybe Northwestern can even win one.

Fitzgerald's team probably should have won more games this season. The Wildcats blew double-digit leads in the second half against Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan.

But all those heartbreakers can be erased, or at least diminished, with a bowl victory.

``We want to erase that losing streak,'' backup quarterback Trevor Siemian said. ``This is a new team with different players. We probably stopped thinking about the bowl game last year a day after that game. We'd really like to get the win for the seniors, end the losing streak and get a 10-win season.

``Definitely a lot of goals to be playing for. It's right there in front of us. It's an awesome opportunity and we want to make the most of it.''

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Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Museum in D.C.

Patriots' Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Museum in D.C.

DeSean Jackson's Instagram posts containing anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler has put the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver at the center of racial controversy. 

Jackson has since apologized for his actions and the Eagles released a statement condemning what their player did. Meanwhile, former NBA star Stephen Jackson has defended the wide receiver, saying Philadelphia "threatened to fire" DeSean over the incident and described his posts as "speaking the truth."

Another well-known athlete has now offered his thoughts on the situation in New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman is Jewish, and while he acknowledged Jackson saying "ugly things," he wants to use this as an opportunity to educate.

In a video Edelman posted, he invited Jackson to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and in return, he would accompany Jackson to D.C.'s Museum of African-American History and Culture.

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“I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman said. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.

“We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act,” he said. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations, if we’re gonna have real change. So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How ’bout we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African-American History and Culture. Afterward, we grab some burgers, and we have those uncomfortable conversations.”

RELATED: REDSKINS MINORITY OWNERS REPORTEDLY COULDN'T GET SNYDER TO SELL

Edelman shared his own experience of anti-Semitism as well, but also made note of the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

"I remember experiencing a little bit of this hate in 2011 when I was called a [expletive] on the football field," he said. "There's no room for anti-Semitism in this world. Even though we're talking about anti-Semitism, I don't want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is, how we need to stay behind it."

Since the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began operations in 1993, the museum has seen over 40 million visitors from over 211 countries. The Museum of African-American History and Culture opened in 2016 and has since seen over two million visitors and has more than 40,000 objects in its collection. 

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Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Redskins Talk and Friends: How to watch

Amid internal pressure from investors, last week the Washington Redskins announced they will conduct a 'thorough review' of their team name. 

On Thursday, the trio from the Redskins Talk podcast - JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler and Pete Hailey - will be joined by former Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot at 5 p.m. on Thursday to talk about everything going on around the team's name.

Want to ask the group a question? Leave it in the event discussion on Facebook.

When: Thursday, July 9
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Where: NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page (click here)

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Listen to the full episode of Sports Uncovered's Sean Taylor: The NFL Superstar We Didn't Get to Know, click here.