Live updates: MSU falls to NW, 39-31, in triple OT

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Michigan State wide receiver Cody White carries the ball past Northwestern safety Godwin Igwebuike during the first half of Saturday's game in Evanston, Ill.

Brian Lewerke fired incomplete for Cody White on first down. On second down, Lewerke had the ball knocked out of his hands. He recovered the ball, picked it up, ran around, and tried to throw a heroic ball to the end zone, where a Northwestern defender was waiting and intercepted the ball to end the game.

Lewerke threw for a school-record 445 yards. He added four touchdowns and that fateful interception to his state line.

White had a huge day for the Spartans, reeling in 11 catches for 165 yards and two scores.

Clayton Thorson threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats.

Wildcats get the TD, two points

Clayton Thorson tried to hit Cameron Green inside the 10, but the Northwestern tight end lost his balance and couldn't come up with the catch. On second down, Justin Jackson scampered for a three-yard gain. On third down, Thorson hit Flynn Nagel for a 22-yard touchdown that made it 37-31. Being the third overtime, the Wildcats had to go for the two-point conversion. Thorson found Green for the conversion.

It's 39-31.

Northwestern answers

Justin Jackson took a sing pass for four yards, and then Clayton Thorson hit Cameron Green for a 17-yard gain down to the 4. On first-and-goal, Jackson was stuffed for a one-yard gain. On the next play, he burst through the line for a three-yard score that ties the game at 31-31.

We're heading to a third overtime.

MSU gets out in front

Brian Lewerke hit Gerald Holmes for a 14-yard gain on first down. From the 11, Lewerke found Cody White in the back of the end zone, giving the Spartans a 31-24 lead.

Davis TD sends it to double OT

Brian Lewerke fired incomplete on first down, but he was able to hit Felton Davis for a seven-yard gain down to the Northwestern 18. On third down, Lewerke found Matt Sokol for a 11-yard gain down to the 7. Two plays later, Lewerke found Davis again for a six-yard touchdown.

It's 24-24 and heading to double overtime.

Lewerke now has a school-record 420 yards passing.

Northwestern strikes quickly in OT

Flynn Nagel made a nice run and catch on first down for an 11-yard gain, and Clayton Thorson found Cameron Green for a 14-yard score on the very next play.

It's 24-17 in favor of the Wildcats. The Spartans will have to get a touchdown and an extra point to send this game to a second overtime.

Davis' circus grab sends game to OT

Felton Davis went up to the highest point and came down with the football for a 13-yard touchdown reception with 25 seconds remaining that ties the game at 17-17.

It was a huge 12-play, 88-yard drive for the Spartans that have brought them back into this game.

The drive: Darrell Stewart reeled in completions of 10 yards and eight yards, and Brian Lewerke then hit Matt Sokol for another first down at the 33. Felton Davis was given plenty of cushion on a 14-yard completion out near midfield. Stewart took a hard hit on the next play as he brought in an eight-yard pass at the Wildcats 46. Hunter Rison took in a 10-yard pass, and two plays later, it was Rison again for a seven-yard gain. On third-and-3, MSU was called for a false start. So, on third-and-8 from the 34, Lewerke hit Stewart for a four-yard gain. On fourth down, Lewerke did just enough with his feet to get the first down and get out of bounds. On the next play, Lewerke shoveled the ball to Stewart on a broken play for an 12-yard gain.

MSU gets it back

Northwestern wasn't content to sit on the ball on its first play from its own 20, as Clayton Thorson hit Macan Wilson for a 13-yard gain. Justin Jackson got the carry for five yards, and on the next play, he went for six and a Northwestern first down. After runs of five yards and two yards by Jackson, Thorson tried to do it himself on third down, but the Spartan defense was having none of it.

The Wildcats punted, and MSU will get the ball at its own 13, trailing 17-10 with 3:14 remaining.

Coghlin misses another field goal

Brian Lewerke couldn't find anyone on third-and-12 from the Northwestern 14, and the Spartans were forced to settle for a 32-yard Matt Coghlin field goal attempt that bounced off of the upright.

With 6:04 remaining, it's still 17-10 in favor of Northwestern.

The drive: Lewerke missed a wide open deep pass for the third time tonight, and for the second time, it was intended for Felton Davis. Just when the Spartans thought they had a big play on a pass to Darrell Stewart, Cody White was called for offensive pass interference. On third-and-18 from their own 17, White made amends when he reeled in a jump ball from Lewerke for a 45-yard gain into Northwestern territory. White knifed his way through the defense two plays later for a 14-yard gain and another first down. On second down, Lewerke got away with a throw into triple coverage as the Northwestern dropped a surefire interception for the third time today. Lewerke took advantage with a third down strike to Davis down to the 13.

Halfback pass fools MSU

Star running back Justin Jackson decided to pull up and throw the ball as Northwestern unleashed a bit of trickery on the Spartans, hitting Ben Skowronek for a 12-yard touchdown pass that puts the Wildcats on top, 17-10, with 10:49 remaining.

After the MSU offense went three-and-out, Clayton Thorson hit Cameron Green for a 25-yard gain down to the MSU 33. Two plays later, on third-and-7, Thorson was flushed from the pocket but was able to pick up eight yards for a big first down. The next play, the trickery caught the Spartans in a bad way.

Defense gets a stop, MSU special teams avoid disaster

A defensive holding call on MSU, followed by an 11-yard Clayton Thorson completion to Riley Lees, got Northwestern out to their own 45. But that's when the Spartans dialed up the pressure and sacked the quarterback on third down to force another punt.

MSU will take over at its own 9 after Cody White muffed the punt. Luckily for the freshman, his teammates were able to pounce on the ball.

We're in the fourth quarter now and the game is still tied at 10-10.

MSU offense stuck in neutral

The Spartan defense got the ball back to its offense by forcing a three-and-out, but the offense wasn't able to get things going on the ensuing drive.

LJ Scott reeled in a nine-yard pass for a first down. Darrell Stewart rushed for eight yards on first down, and after Scott was stuffed on third down, Lewerke wasn't able to to reach the marker on a designed quarterback run on third-and-short.

With 1:41 remaining in the third quarter, it's still 10-10.

Coghlin misses field goal try

After coming up short of a first down at the Northwestern 33, MSU decided to roll the dice on third-and-3, and Brian Lewerke hit Darrell Stewart for a seven-yard gain. The offense couldn't do anything after that, settling for a 50-yard Matt Coghlin field goal attempt that went wide right.

With 6:16 remaining in the third quarter, it's still 10-10.

Earlier in the drive, Gerald Holmes made a spectacular leaping catch on third down to get MSU out from the shadow of its own end zone. That made up for Lewerke missing Stewart as he the running back got behind the defense for what would have been a 90-yard score. On second down from the 26, Lewerke missed another surefire touchdown when he led Felton Davis just a little too far. On third down, it was Stewart with a grab on the sideline for a 23-yard gain. After another completion to Stewart set up a first down at the Wildcats 40.

Northwestern reluctantly punts

Clayton Thorson picked up where he left off, hitting receivers and driving the Wildcats offense into Spartans territory. After getting to the MSU 34, Northwestern suffered three consecutive dropped passes, and Pat Fitzgerald decided to punt the ball and play the field position game.

With 12:57 remaining in the first half, it's still 10-10, and the Spartans offense will get started at its own 7.

Northwestern ties it up before the half

After the Wildcats defense got the ball back to its offense with less than two minutes on the clock, Clayton Thorson was able to drive Northwestern 56 yards and get his team three points and Charlie Kuhbander hit from 35 yards out to tie the game at 10-10 with four seconds remaining in the first half.

That's where things stand at the break.

Thorson is 20-for-28 in the first half for 196 yards.

The drive: Justin Jackson caught a 15-yard pass out to the 41, and Thorson hit Ben Skowronek for a first down across midfield before finding Garrett Dickerson for 11 yards and a first down at the MSU 35. Skowronek hauled in a 17-yard completion down to the 18 with 18 seconds remaining in the half, but Northwestern's shots at the end zone came up empty.

Brian Lewerke was 10-for-15 for 149 yards in the first half. He nearly threw two interceptions, but both were dropped by Northwestern defenders.

Lewerke was also the leading rusher for MSU with 22 yards. LJ Scott has only managed 14 yards on six carries.

Cody White has had a good first half with four receptions for 83 yards and a score.

Gambles pays off for Wildcats

Northwestern decided to roll the dice on fourth down from the MSU 1, and they hit pay dirt as Clayton Thorson used his big body to push himself into the end zone behind his offensive line to cut the Spartans lead to 10-7 with 3:58 remaining in the first half.

Thorson had found Garrett Dickeron for 21 yards to get Northwestern down to the MSU 3. After a short run on first down, Justin Jackson was dropped for a three-yard loss on a second down pitch play. On third down, Jackson caught a Thorson pass at the 1 but got stonewalled by the MSU defense.

Earlier in the drive, Thorson hit Riley Lees for a 25-yard gain to get Northwestern into Spartans territory at the 49. On third-and-10, Jackson took a swing pass and made defenders miss in the open field on his way to a first down at the MSU 39. It was Thorson to Lees for 10 more yards that got the ball to the 24.

MSU adds a field goal

Brian Lewerke was able to come up with a first down run once, but when he tried to do it again on third-and-2, the young quarterback came up short.

The Spartans settled for a 46-yard field goal from Matt Coghlin, which puts MSU up 10-0 with 9:31 to play in the first half.

Prior to the possession, the MSU defense was able to force Northwestern into a three-and-out after the punt coverage unit downed the ball at the Wildcats 1. That allowed the offense to get the ball back on the Northwestern side of the field.

Spartans come up empty in Northwestern territory

Starting at their own 20, Lewerke went right back to Cody White on the first play of the drive, and the freshman did some nifty work with his feet to pick up a first down across the 30. Two plays later, Lewerke found Felton Davis for 39 yards down to the Northwestern 39. The MSU quarterback got away with one on the next play, as he threw a ball right into the numbers of a Northwestern defender, whose eyes must have gotten big as he dropped a surefire interception. Lewerke was sacked on third down, and the Spartans were forced to punt.

We're in the second quarter now. At the 14:13 mark, MSU still leads 7-0.

Defense gets a stop

MSU got called for a hands to the face penalty on third down, giving the Wildcats a first down outside of the shadow of their own end zone. Clayton Thorson was able to complete a couple of passes to get Northwestern out near midfield, but the Spartans defense stiffened and forced a punt.

With 2:03 remaining in the first quarter, MSU leads 7-0.

Spartans return the favor

It appeared that MSU was on its way to another touchdown and a 14-0 lead over what looked to be an overmatched Wildcats defense.

Not so fast.

One play after LJ Scott fumbled (again) and MSU recovered, Cody White wasn't so fortunate, as his gaffe was pounced on by Northwestern, who takes over at its own 7.

Brian Lewerke scrambled for 19 yards and Darrell Stewart reeled off a 19-yard gain of his own to get the Spartans down to the Northwestern 30.

Spartans defense makes a play

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was carving up the MSU defense as the Wildcats marched into Spartans territory.

But then something funny happened: MSU forced a turnover.

On an 11-yard completion to Ramaud Bowman, Andrew Dowell ripped the ball away from the receiver and the Spartans pounced to take possession at their own 28

Lewerke, White lead 92-yard scoring drive

Brian Lewerke hit Cody White for a 60-yard strike down the the Northwestern 6. Three plays later, Lewerke found himself under immense pressure in the backfield, reversing field before finding White in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown.

With 12:25 remaining in the first quarter, MSU leads 7-0.

A big kickoff return was brought back by a penalty, and the Spartans were forced to start the game in the shadow of their own end zone.

Lewerke hit Matt Sokol for a 16-yard gain out to the 24 to give the offense some breathing room. After a four-yard run by Gerald Holmes, Lewerke hit Felton Davis for a first down at the sticks. On the next play, Lewerke and White made some noise.


When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.

TV / radio: ESPN / WJR 760

Records: Michigan State 6-1 (4-0 Big Ten), Northwestern 4-3 (2-2)

Line: Michigan State by 2.5


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