Scores

Final

Northwestern 14

(4-3, 1-2 Big Ten)

Michigan State 24

(4-3, 3-1 Big Ten)

Coverage: ESPN2

12:00 PM ET, October 17, 2009

Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI

1 2 3 4 T
NW 0 7 0 714
MSU 0 0 17 724

Top Performers

Passing: M. Kafka (NW) - 291 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: L. Caper (MSU) - 16 CAR, 63 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. White (MSU) - 12 REC, 186 YDS, 2 TD

Cousins, White key Michigan State's win over Northwestern

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to Blair White in the third quarter Saturday to spark Michigan State to a 24-14 victory over Northwestern.

The Spartans (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) trailed 7-0 at halftime but rallied against the Wildcats(4-3, 1-2).

Northwestern had won three consecutive Big Ten road games and two straight in East Lansing. But the Cousins-to-White connection wore down the Wildcats.

Cousins hit a wide-open White for a 47-yard touchdown strike to give the Spartans a 14-7 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter.

White finished with 12 catches for 186 yards and two TDs. Cousins was 21 of 31 for 281 yards.

Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka completed 34 of 47 passes for 291 yards and two TDs.

Wildcats receiver Zeke Markshausen had 16 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.

Trailing 7-0 and looking sluggish, Michigan State grabbed the momentum by forcing a turnover early in the second half. Spartans defensive back Chris L. Rucker forced Drake Dunsmore to fumble, and linebacker Adam Decker recovered the loose ball at the Michigan State 36.

The Spartans capitalized with a 64-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 22-yard pass from Cousins to White to tie the score 7-7. Cousins' second TD to White came later in the quarter. Brett Swenson added a field goal as the third quarter expired to put Michigan State ahead 17-7.

Northwestern's Jeravin Matthews fumbled the next kickoff and it was recovered by the Spartans, giving Michigan State good field position to start the fourth quarter. Larry Caper's 22-yard TD run gave the Spartans a 24-7 lead.

Kafka's 1-yard touchdown pass to Markshausen cut the deficit to 24-14 with 10:28 remaining. But Michigan State's defense held the Wildcats scoreless the rest of the way.

Northwestern was at its best early, sapping some of the spirit from Michigan State's homecoming crowd.

Northwestern's defense shone early with a goal-line stand on the game's first possession. The Wildcats stopped Cousins on a fourth-and-inches sneak to keep the contest scoreless.

Wildcats linebacker Quentin Davie ended another Michigan State drive by recovering Edwin Baker's fumble at the NU 20 late in the first half, preserving Northwestern's 7-0 halftime lead.

The Wildcats played without safety Brendan Smith because of a hand injury. The other starting safety, Brad Phillips, suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the first half. Defensive end Corey Wootton played but was limited with an ankle injury.

Northwestern used its no-huddle, quick-pass attack to grab a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Kafka capped a methodical 80-yard, nine-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Andrew Brewer.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NW
MSU
1st Downs2219
Total Yards370375
Passing291281
Rushing7994
Penalties4-254-46
3rd Down Conversions8-165-14
4th Down Conversions0-20-1
Turnovers21
Possession29:0330:57

Passing Leaders

NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kafka34/472916.220
Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Cousins21/312819.120

Rushing Leaders

NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Kafka18422.3018
Simmons5234.6018
Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Caper16633.9122
Baker12453.8011

Receiving Leaders

NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Markshausen161116.9120
Brewer810413.0126
Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
White1218615.5247
Cunningham5499.8020

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERNWMSU
TD07:49Andrew Brewer 15 Yd Pass From Mike Kafka (Stefan Demos Kick) 70
THIRD QUARTERNWMSU
TD10:07Blair White 22 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick) 77
TD05:13Blair White 47 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick) 714
FG00:00Brett Swenson 28 Yd 717
FOURTH QUARTERNWMSU
TD14:48Larry Caper 22 Yd Run (Brett Swenson Kick) 724
TD10:28Zeke Markshausen 1 Yd Pass From Mike Kafka (Stefan Demos Kick) 1424