Scores

Final

Northwestern 23

(8-3, 4-3 Big Ten)

Michigan State 20

(5-6, 2-5 Big Ten)

Coverage: ESPN2

12:00 PM ET, November 17, 2012

Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI

1 2 3 4 T
NW 3 3 14 323
MSU 2 3 8 720

Top Performers

Passing: A. Maxwell (MSU) - 297 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: L. Bell (MSU) - 32 CAR, 133 YDS

Receiving: D. Vitale (NW) - 9 REC, 110 YDS

Northwestern takes lead in 4th quarter, holds off Michigan State

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jeff Budzien kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7:30 remaining, and Northwestern was able to hold on to this fourth-quarter lead, beating Michigan State 23-20 on Saturday.

Trevor Siemian threw for 165 yards, including a 41-yard pass to Dan Vitale that helped set up the winning kick. The Wildcats (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) then forced a punt near midfield, and by the time Michigan State (5-6, 2-5) got the ball back at its own 20, there was only 1:29 left.

Northwestern lost fourth-quarter leads in gut-wrenching losses to Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan, but this time Michigan State's Andrew Maxwell threw four straight incompletions to seal the Spartans' fate.

All seven of Michigan State's conference games have been decided by four points or fewer.

It was Northwestern's first win over Michigan State since 2007, and the Spartans must now beat Minnesota next weekend to become bowl eligible.

The Wildcats spoiled Michigan State's home finale despite what was announced as an upper extremity injury to running back Venric Mark, who didn't play in the second half. Siemian and Kain Colter split time at quarterback for the Wildcats. Colter went 13 of 20 for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Northwestern led 13-5 early in the third quarter after David Nwabuisi returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown. Maxwell seemed shaken up on the play, but he was able to keep playing and quickly led the Spartans on a sharp 65-yard drive that ended with his 15-yard scoring pass to Aaron Burbridge. A 2-point conversion pass to Keith Mumphery tied it at 13.

Colter's 6-yard touchdown pass to Tim Riley gave Northwestern a 20-13 lead, but the Spartans tied it again on a 6-yard scoring pass from Maxwell to Tony Lippett with 9:22 left in the fourth.

Michigan State lost the ball twice inside the Northwestern 5-yard line in the first half. A fumble on the snap gave the Wildcats the ball at their own 2 late in the first quarter, but Colter was hit in the end zone by Max Bullough and William Gholston for a safety that made it 3-2.

Michigan State led 5-3 in the second and had the ball at the Northwestern 1, but star running back Le'Veon Bell was dropped for a loss of 3 on fourth down.

The Wildcats took a 6-5 lead into halftime when Budzien made a 43-yard field goal in the final minute of the quarter, and Michigan State's Dan Conroy missed from 37 at the other end.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NW
MSU
1st Downs1723
Total Yards303419
Passing246297
Rushing57122
Penalties3-252-21
3rd Down Conversions3-148-17
4th Down Conversions0-00-2
Turnovers04
Possession25:4134:19

Passing Leaders

NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Siemian13/231657.200
Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Maxwell22/462976.522

Rushing Leaders

NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Colter6284.7022
Trumpy7131.905
Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell321334.2017
Mumphery284.006

Receiving Leaders

NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Vitale911012.2041
Lawrence6406.709
Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Sims510220.4044
Mumphery67913.2023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNWMSU
FG08:53Jeff Budzien 24 Yd 30
SF02:43Kain Colter Tackled By William Gholston In End Zone 32
SECOND QUARTERNWMSU
FG12:52Dan Conroy 35 Yd 35
FG00:41Jeff Budzien 43 Yd 65
THIRD QUARTERNWMSU
TD14:06David Nwabuisi 43 Yd Interception Return (Jeff Budzien Kick) 135
TD09:43Aaron Burbridge 15 Yd Pass From Andrew Maxwell (Andrew Maxwell Pass To Keith Mumphery For Two-Point Conversion) 1313
TD07:11Tim Riley 6 Yd Pass From Kain Colter (Jeff Budzien Kick) 2013
FOURTH QUARTERNWMSU
TD09:22Tony Lippett 6 Yd Pass From Andrew Maxwell (Dan Conroy Kick) 2020
FG07:30Jeff Budzien 27 Yd 2320

Research Notes

From Elias: Michigan State lost to Northwestern 23-20 on Saturday. All seven of Michigan State's Big Ten games have been decided by four points or fewer. The Spartans tie Columbia in 1971 as the only FBS teams to play seven consecutive games decided by four points or fewer in one season.
  [+]
Michigan State now has 5 losses this season by 4 points or fewer, the most of any team. The only other team in the last 3 seasons with that many losses by 4 points or fewer in a season was Navy in 2011.

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