Kafka threw for a career-best 532 yards four touchdowns. He rallied Northwestern from a 14-point deficit in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats wasted a chance to win it in regulation.
Auburn (8-5) finished its first season under Gene Chizik with the second-most wins by a first-year coach in school history. Only Terry Bowden, who went 11-0 in 1993, produced more wins in his initial season on the job.
Northwestern (8-5) fell to 1-7 all-time in postseason games.