Northwestern quite literally got the monkey off of its back with a win over Mississippi State in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl on Tuesday.

The victory was the Wildcats' first postseason win in 64 years, and they found an interesting way to celebrate.

For the past two years coach Pat Fitzgerald has used a stuffed primate to symbolize his team's burden -- the monkey on their backs. And so when the clock hit zero on Northwestern's 34-20 victory over Mississippi State, the Wildcats didn't just remove the monkey.

They tore it to shreds.

Fitzgerald presented the monkey to his team in the locker room, and he told his players, "Have fun tearing the bejeezus out of it!"

They did. Northwestern's players tore the monkey to shreds, and the school's athletic department Twitter account documented all that was left.

Somehow the monkey's head came out intact, and naturally Fitzgerald brought it with him to the postgame press conference.

(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)

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