Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Game leaders 

Passing

MSU - Brian Lewerke: 31/51, 329 yds., TD, INT

NW - Clayton Thorson: 31/47, 373 yds., 3 TDs, 2 INTs

Rushing

MSU - Felton Davis III: 2 atts., 50 yds., TD

NW - Drake Anderson: 5 atts., 50 yds.

Receiving

MSU - Felton Davis: 7 recs., 96 yds., TD

NW - Flynn Nagel: 10 recs., 111 yds.

Final Spartan drive of game comes up short

Michigan State will look to cut into its 10-point deficit with 2:51 remaining from the 25.

Matt Dotson catches a pass for a gain of 9 on first down, and Connor Heyward is marked just short of the line on a second-down reception. The play will be reviewed to see if he passed the line-to-gain.

The officials have given the Spartans a first down on the play.

Lewerke somehow escapes a sack on second down and pushes it to Heyward for a gain of 6. Lewerke drops back and fires it in a tight window to Brandon Sowards for a 15-yard pickup and it'll be first-and-10 at the Northwestern 46.

Then it's Cam Chambers picking up 13 yards on the next play, and again catching a pass for 27 yards on the ensuing first down to make it first-and-goal at the Northwestern 6 with 0:57 remaining.

Lewerke goes to Darrell Stewart in the end zone; his pass is broken up by JR Pace. His second-down attempt falls incomplete, as well. Dotson catches a pass on third down that picks up just 5 yards, and on fourth down, Lewerke's pass is just out of the reach of Felton Davis.

29-19 Northwestern (0:25 4th)

Northwestern takes a knee, and this one's over.

29-19 Northwestern (FINAL)

Northwestern goes up two scores late in fourth

Solomon Vault picks up a gain of 3 on first down. Vault gets it again on second down and is stopped just short of the end zone.

The first down marker is currently at the half-yard mark. 

Timeout Michigan State (2:58 4th)

The officials are now out to measure the spot. The Wildcats need about 3 inches to get the first down.

Thorson sneaks it up the middle and Northwestern has gone up two scores.

29-19 Northwestern (2:51 4th)

Spartans turn it over on downs at own 10

Brian Lewerke throws a complete pass to Matt Dotson on first down for a gain of 9. He gets chased to the end zone on second down and throws it to the ground. The next play on third down is rather identical, but neither are called for grounding, somehow.

The Spartans will go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 11. 

Connor Heyward has nowhere to run and is wrapped up for a loss of 1. Northwestern will get the ball at the 10-yard-line.

22-19 Northwestern (3:09 4th)

Michigan State defense gets stop it needed

Clayton Thorson throws two consecutive incomplete passes to Flynn Nagel to quickly make it third-and-10. Solomon Vault runs for a gain of 2 on third down, presumably just looking to run some clock.

Timeout Michigan State (4:08 4th)

The upcoming punt notwithstanding, Northwestern burned just 16 seconds of clock on that last drive.

The punt is a beauty, though, and it gets downed at the 2-yard-line.

22-19 Northwestern (3:59 4th)

Michigan State gets backed up, punts on critical drive

After the missed field goal, the Spartans will take over at their own 20.

Brian Lewerke completes a pass to Alante Thomas that loses 6 yards on first down, and the quarterback is sacked on second down for a loss of 4. Boy, did the energy in Spartan Stadium dissipate in a hurry. Michigan State is called for holding on third down, making it third-and-25. Lewerke rolls out and his pass is batted at the line. The Michigan State offense leaves the field to a chorus of boos.

Riley Lees returns Tyler Hunt's punt 11 yards to the Michigan State 33.

22-19 Northwestern (4:24 4th)

Michigan State gets big red zone stop

Clayton Thorson's throw on first down from the 17 is batted at the line and nearly picked off by Kenny Willekes. He completes his next throw to Bennett Skowronek for a gain of 21 that'll give Northwestern a first down at the 38.

Thorson throws an incomplete pass to Cameron Green on first down and finds Flynn Nagel for a gain of 9 on second down. Northwestern is penalized for illegal formation on third down, making it third-and-6.

The 5-yard penalty ends up being irrelevant, as a 29-yard completion to Bennett Skowronek keeps the drive alive and puts the Wildcats in Michigan State territory at the 29.

Solomon Vault runs for no gain on first down and Thorson's second-down throw falls incomplete. Thorson goes to Nagel on third down, who's only able to muster a gain of 4. The Wildcats are gonna go for it, though.

Thorson finds Lees on a comeback route near the left sideline for a pickup of 9 yards that'll give Northwestern a first down at the 16.

Vault runs for a gain of 4 on first down. A lot of time coming off the clock during this drive. Thorson's throw to Nagel on second down is short of the receiver, making it third-and-6. The Wildcats call a swing pass, and the Spartans were ready for a swing pass. Three defenders wrap up John Moten for a loss of 3. 

Charlie Kuhbander's kick from 33 is so wide-right, that it winds up nearly going off screen. Huge break for the Spartans to keep this a 3-point game.

22-19 Northwestern (6:41 4th)

Illegal pass reverses Spartans momentum 

The Spartans give it to Laress Nelson on first-and-10 from the 25, and he loses a yard on the last play of the quarter.

22-19 Northwestern (End 3rd)

Brian Lewerke runs for a gain of 5 on second down to make it third-and-6. He finds La'Darius Jefferson on a slant route that'll be good for 8 yards and a first down at the 37.

The Spartans run a little RPO action on first down; Lewerke kicks it to Weston Bridges with a perfectly-timed pitch, and he gets all the way down to the 39. 

The officials review the play however, and rule that the pitch was a forward pass. Michigan State will lose the down, bringing up second-and-15.

Lewerke's throw on second down misses the mark by a country mile. He gets it to Matt Sokol on third down; Sokol may have had a chance to reach the first down marker, but he slips upon catching the pass. Michigan State will punt.

Riley Lees calls for a fair catch at the 17-yard-line.

22-19 Northwestern (12:51 4th)

Northwestern goes back on top with touchdown pass

Clayton Thorson and the Wildcats will start from the 25.

Thorson throws it incomplete to Bennett Skowronek on first down. Cameron Green catches a 4-yard pass on second down before getting crushed by Naquan Jones, who is flagged for taunting after giving Green the Ol' Right There, Fred!

Thorson gets it to Flynn Nagel for a gain of 9 on first down. Solomon Vault is stuffed for no gain on second down, and on third down, Clayton Thorson keeps it for a gain of 2 on the ground to make it first-and-10 at the Michigan State 45.

Thorson's first-down pass is complete to Green, and he gets it to Riley Lees on second down for a gain of 1. On third-and-4, Thorson finds Nagel for an 18-yard reception.

And just like that, Northwestern is back on top with a 21-yard pass to Green in the end zone.

Northwestern converts on the two-point attempt with a throw to Vault.

22-19 Northwestern (0:15 1st)

Davis scores again to give Spartans lead

Laress Nelson takes the first-down handoff for a gain of 3. Brian Lewerke gets to the outside with his feet and picks up 10 yards on second down.

Connor Heyward runs for 2 yards on first down to make it second-and-8 at the 18. Lewerke misses Matt Sokol on a check-down on second down, and on third down, Lewerke sails it over Felton Davis' head and out of the end zone. Northwestern corner Roderick Campbell is flagged for pulling Davis' hair, however, and that'll give the Spartans a new set of downs at the 4-yard-line.

Lewerke drops the snap on first-and-goal and is forced to fire it into Connor Heyward's feet with Northwestern defenders in hot pursuit. He throws a fade, and guess who it is: Davis fighting off a defender to haul in the pass to give Michigan State a third-quarter lead.

19-14 Michigan State (4:08 3rd)

Panasiuk picks off pass in Northwestern territory

Kyric McGowan returns Cole Hahn's kick 29 yards to the Northwestern 35-yard-line.

Drake Anderson is wrapped up behind the line by Jon Reschke for a loss of 2 on first down. On second down, Clayton Thorson's pass bounces off Anderson's face mask and right into the hands of Michigan State defensive lineman Mike Panasiuk. The Spartans will take over at the Northwestern 33.

14-12 Northwestern (6:39 3rd)

Davis pulls Spartans within two points

If anybody's going to get the Spartans back in this game, it'll be Felton Davis. He shows why with an excellent route that results in a 21-yard pickup on first down that'll make it first-and-10 at the 41.

A double reverse pass is executed to perfection on the front-end, but Northwestern's secondary doesn't flinch. Brian Lewerke's throw to Matt Sokol is broken up by Paddy Fisher. Lewerke throws to Cam Chambers on second down for a gain of 10 that'll move the chains.

Another double reverse, and this one works to perfection: Felton Davis takes the end-around pitch from Brandon Sowards and cuts upfield for a 48-yard touchdown run.

Lewerke's throw on the two-point conversion is swatted upon release.

14-12 Northwestern (7:18 3rd)

Michigan State defense keeping Wildcats within reach

Northwestern picks up a first down immediately with an 11-yard run by Drake Anderson, the Wildcats' longest rushing play of the game.

Clayton Thorson completes it to Bennett Skowronek on first down to pick up 5 and then finds Flynn Nagel for a gain of 9 to give Northwestern a new set of downs.

Anderson runs for a gain of 1 on first down. Thorson goes to Cameron Green on second down for a gain of 9 that'll give the Wildcats a first down at the Michigan State 46-yard-line.

Thorson's first- and second-down passes fall incomplete, with the latter being batted up in the air at the line by Raequan Williams. Thorson completes it to JJ Jefferson on a shallow cross on third down, but Matt Morrissey closes in a hurry and cracks the Northwestern wide receiver for a gain of only 4.

Jake Collins kicks it into the end zone. Touchback.

14-6 Northwestern (11:43 3rd)

Lewerke sack halts MSU drive 

Michigan State will get the ball to start the second half. The kick bounces in the end zone, and the Spartans will take over at the 25.

Brian Lewerke throws a pass to C.J. Hayes, who pulls it down for a gain of 13 to move the chains.

Felton Davis is Lewerke's target on the next play. He picks up 13 more yards, and that'll put the Spartans in Northwestern territory at the 49.

Lewerke runs for no gain on first down, and is sacked for a loss of 8 on second down to make it third-and-18. Lewerke throws over the middle to Darrell Steward for a gain of 15, as Stewart's unable to break through a swarm of defenders waiting at the line-to-gain.

Tyler Hunt's punt is fair caught at the 19-yard-line.

14-6 Northwestern (11:43 3rd)

Right where they want 'em

Today's game marks the third consecutive week that Northwestern has held a lead of over 10 points. The Wildcats led Akron and Michigan by 17 in the last two weeks, and were defeated in both contests.

First half leaders

Passing

MSU - Brian Lewerke: 14/25, 159 yds., INT

NW - Clayton Thorson: 15/21, 219 yds., 2 TDs, INT

Rushing

MSU - La'Darius Jefferson 6 atts., 15 yds.

NW - Drake Anderson: 2 atts., 2 yds.

Receiving

MSU - Felton Davis III: 4 recs., 59 yds.

NW - Kyric McGowan: 1 rec., 77 yds., TD

Northwestern runs out clock to end half

Northwestern starts its drive with 1:07 on the clock and two timeouts in its pocket. 

Clayton Thorson throws complete to Cameron Green on first down for a gain of 3. Bennett Skowronek is flagged for offensive pass interference on the next play.

After losing 15 yards on the penalty, Northwestern decides to just run out the clock with a knee.

14-6 Northwestern (HALF)

Lewerke picked off on two-minute drill

Felton Davis is targeted by Brian Lewerke on first down for a gain of 6. Lewerke kicks it to Connor Heyward on second down for a gain of 2. Heyward is the check-down option on third down, and his route yields 15 yards on the completion. 

Lewerke throws it to Cameron Chambers on the next play, and Chambers makes a nice effort to get one foot down before he steps on the white chalk. The 16-yard gain will make it first-and-10 at the 47. The Spartans are moving well with 1:23 left on the clock.

Matt Sokol is stripped after catching a pass on the next play; the fumble is recovered by Northwestern. The call is then reversed after further review, as officials determined Sokol never had full possession of the ball. 

And then Lewerke is picked by Jared McGee. McGee returns it near midfield.

14-6 Northwestern (1:07 2nd)

Michigan State gets ball back for one last drive

Northwestern will start its drive from the 25.

Clayton Thorson completes it to Cameron Green on first down for a gain of 5 and misses Bennett Skowronek with his second-down pass to make it third-and-5. Joe Bachie makes a nice play on third down to break up a pass intended for Kyric McGowan.

Brandon Soward forgets to call fair catch and is decked as he comes down with the punt. Michigan State will take over at the 14.

14-6 Michigan State (2:10 2nd)

Coghlin gets Spartans within 8

Brian Lewerke completes his first-down pass to Felton Davis for a gain of 13 that'll put the Spartans near midfield with a new set of downs.

La'Darius Jefferson rushes for no gain on first down, and is closed on quickly after catching a screen pass on second down that also goes for zero yards to make it third-and-10. Lewerke finds Davis in the seam on third down for a gain of 26 yards that'll move the chains and make it first-and-10 at the Northwestern 28-yard-line.

A holding penalty on Northwestern's Montre Hartage was declined after the play.

Lewerke goes back to Davis on first down, but his pass sails out-of-bounds. His second-down throw to Cam Chambers is dead on, however, and goes for a gain of 15 yards to the 13.

In the red zone, Lewerke goes to Davis again with a pass that falls incomplete. The junior quarterback shows off his set of wheels with a 6-yard run that'll make it third-and-4 at the 7.

Timeout Northwestern (3:35 2nd)

Timeout Michigan State (3:35 2nd)

Lewerke's throw on third down is just behind Connor Heyward in the flat, and the Spartan running back stumbles to the ground for no gain.

Matt Coghlin, as expected, puts the 25-yard field goal attempt through the uprights.

14-6 Northwestern (2:50 2nd)

Michigan State defense gets big stop

Northwestern will look to add to its lead from the 13.

Clayton Thorson goes back to his favorite short-pass receiver, Flynn Nagel, on a first-down screen for a gain of 17 yards.

Thorson dances away from Spartan pressure only to be met by Mike Panasiuk for a loss of 12 yards on first down. Solomon Vault loses a yard on second down to make it third-and-23. Thorson kicks it out to vault, only picking up 4 yards. Michigan State gets the defensive stop it so badly needed.

Brandon Sowards returns the punt 9 yards to the Michigan State 33.

14-3 Michigan State (7:09 2nd)

Michigan State fails to cut into deficit

Connor Heyward returns the kick 20 yards to the Michigan State 21.

La'Darius Jefferson gets the carry on first down for a gain of 9.

Timeout Michigan State (13:04 1st)

Jefferson takes the handoff again for a gain of 3 that'll move the sticks.

Brian Lewerke finds Brandon Sowards in the secondary underneath for a gain of 21 to reach the Northwestern 46-yard-line.

Alante Thomas rushes for 3 yards on first down. Northwestern's line makes slight work of its opposition on second down, getting in the backfield with ease to wrap up Jefferson for a loss of 3 to make it third-and-6. Lewerke completes it to Connor Heyward for a big gain, but Matt Dotson is called for defensive holding. It'll be third-and-22.

Lewerke throws a jump ball to Darrell Stewart on third down, and it falls incomplete.

Tyler Hunt's punt is downed at the 13-yard-line.

14-3 Northwestern (9:44 2nd)

Northwestern adds to lead with touchdown pass

Clayton Thorson throws it to Flynn Nagel on first down for a gain of 7 to reach Michigan State territory.

Thorson's next throw falls incomplete, but Josh Butler, who was also hurt on the play, is called for defensive holding. That'll make it first-and-10 at the 34.

Thorson goes over the top again down the left sideline, this time with a beautiful throw over Tre Person in good coverage, completing it to a diving JJ Jefferson for another Northwestern touchdown.

14-3 Northwestern (13:58 1st)

Michigan State struggling to pick up offensive momentum

Connor Heyward has trouble fielding the kickoff and only gets back to the Michigan State 15.

La'Darius Jefferson runs for a gain of 2 on the last play of the first quarter.

7-3 Northwestern (End 1st)

Brian Lewerke fakes to Jefferson and fires a ball to Felton Davis that is deflected by multiple players and nearly picked off. Lewerke's third-down throw to Matt Sokol is a tad behind the tight end and dropped. Michigan State will punt.

Riley Lees returns the punt 6 yards to the Northwestern 49-yard-line.

7-3 Northwestern (14:37 2nd)

Northwestern strikes back quickly

Cole Hahn boots it through the end zone once again. Northwestern will start at the 25.

Michigan State's No. 1 ranked run defense continues to live up to its identity. Drake Anderson loses 2 yards on a first-down carry.

On second down, Clayton Thorson rolls to his left and finds Kyric McGowan, who doesn't have a Spartan defender within 15 yards. He could have walked into the end zone had he chosen to do so, and just like that, Northwestern takes the lead right back.

7-3 Northwestern (0:18 1st)

Michigan State gets on board with field goal

Connor Heyward rushes for a gain of 9 on first down and is wrapped up for no gain on second down. Brian Lewerke sneaks it up the middle for a gain of 2 that'll be good enough for a first down at the 28-yard-line.

Weston Bridges gets the carry on first down, but can't find a lane to the left edge and is taken down at the line. Heyward catches a pass from Lewerke on second down, getting up the sideline for a gain of 13 to make it first-and-10 at the 15.

La'Darius Jefferson picks up 4 yards on his first carry of the game. Felton Davis rushes it for 2 yards on second down to make it third-and-4 at the Northwestern 9-yard-line.

Lewerke's end zone shot to Brandon Sowards is defended well by JR Pace, therefore falling incomplete. Matt Coghlin will be out to try the 27-yard field goal.

Coghlin's kick is through the uprights.

3-0 Michigan State (0:59 1st)

Willis picks off pass with broken hand

Clayton Thorson and the Northwestern offense wisely opens up the drive with its passing game, completing a throw to Flynn Nagel for a gain of 14 that'll give Northwestern a new set of downs at the 25.

Thorson gets it out quickly on the next play to Cameron Green that goes for 11 yards.

On first down from the 36-yard-line, Nagel catches a pass in the flat and finds a lane that'll pick up 8. Solomon Vault runs for a gain of 1 on second down to make it third-and-inches. Thorston is heavily pressured and throws a duck over the middle that is picked off by Khari Willis and returned to the Northwestern 39.

0-0 tie (5:31 1st)

Northwestern containing Michigan State offense, forces three-and-out

Brian Lewerke fakes the jet sweep to Brandon Sowards, spins, and fires to Connor Heyward on first down that results in a loss of 5 to back up Michigan State to its 12-yard-line. Lewerke overthrows Darrell Stewart, who nearly deflects the ball to a Wildcat defender with his diving effort. Third-and-15. Felton Davis runs a route of 14 yards that isn't enough for a first down.

Tyler Hunt's punt is a beauty that goes 63 yards before being downed at the Northwestern 11-yard-line.

0-0 tie (7:34 1st)

Michigan State D-Line getting after Northwestern

Solomon Vault is stuffed for a loss of 3 on first down. Clayton Thorson completes it to Flynn Nagel near the right sideline for a gain of 16 that'll make it first-and-10 at the 29.

Northwestern goes back to the run and Vault is dropped for a gain of 6 on first down. Thorson gets the 6 yards back with a completion to Bennett Skowronek on second down and then completes a 15-yard pass to Cameron Green to move the chains.

Thorson goes back to Green on the next play for a gain of 3 that'll make it second-and-7 at the 47. Drake Anderson picks up 4 yards on a second-down run. On third-and-3, Tyriq Thompson and Jacub Panasiuk both get to the quarterback to force an errant pass that falls incomplete.

Jake Collins' punt is called for a fair catch by Brandon Sowards at the Michigan State 17-yard-line.

0-0 tie (9:09 1st)

Michigan State can't capitalize on big opening play

Michigan State is getting the passing game going early with a 23-yard completion from Brian Lewerke to Brandon Sowards to reach midfield.

LJ Scott remains sidelined for the opening drive.

Connor Heyward rushes for a gain of 1 on first down. Lewerke misses Felton Davis on second down to make it third-and-9.

Injury: Michigan State center David Beedle heads to the locker room after his left knee buckles at the line.

Injury update: Darrell Stewart, a game-time decision for the Spartans, has just checked into the game.

Lewerke goes back to Davis on third down; the pass is broken up by Montre Hartage.

Tyler Hunt's punt is bobbled by Berkley Holman, but he's able to dive on it at the 16-yard-line.

0-0 tie (12:40 1st)

Michigan State forces three-and-out on first drive

Michigan State has won the toss and will defer to the second half.

Cole Hahn's kick goes through the end zone. Northwestern will start at the 25-yard-line.

Clayton Thorson is pressured on his first snap of the game and throws a pass that lands between three Spartans. He fires an incomplete pass to Cameron Green on second down, and on third down, he goes to Bennett Skowronek on a shallow crossing route that results in the loss of a yard.

Brandon Sowards calls for a fair catch on the punt at the 27-yard-line.

0-0 tie (14:16 1st)

Bounce back week

No. 20 Michigan State is coming off a 31-20 win over Central Michigan in which it struggled to put away the Chippewas (1-4)  at home.

Northwestern lost to Michigan last week in Evanston on a late Karan Higdon touchdown, 20-17.

When Michigan State and Northwestern suited up in 2017, the Wildcats defeated the Spartans 39-31 in 3OT.

Michigan State returns to Big Ten action on Saturday with a noon game against Northwestern. Follow the action here throughout the game with live updates by Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News.

MICHIGAN STATE VS. NORTHWESTERN

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

TV/radio: FS1/WJR 760 AM

Records: Michigan State 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten; Northwestern 1-3, 1-1 Big Ten.

Line: Michigan State by 11.

MORE COVERAGE

For Michigan State, Northwestern has been a total pain

Wojo's Pigskin Picks: Wolverines, Spartans need more pop in their offense

View from the other side: Northwestern at MSU

Detroit News predictions: Michigan State vs. Northwestern

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE