Michigan State Football beat Northwestern 29-20 at Spartan Stadium

Chris solari

| Detroit free press


EAST LANSING – When you thought you had Michigan State Football Turns out, it goes all 2020 on you.

A flowing game matched with one of the nation’s best strongholds? No problem.

A struggling quarterback who is struggling to keep his job as a result? not a problem; He would just start bouncing the ball around for a touchdown, all of a sudden.

One defense won two straight games and headed to the third straight meltdown? no not this time.

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The Spartans shocked No. 13 Northwestern from the start on Saturday. He used a 49-yard field goal with 3:35 to play from Matt Caughlin and got some timely runs from quarterback Rocky Lombardi in the fourth quarter and upset 29–20.

Kalon Gerwin recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, as time expired MSU coach Mel Tucker, his second win in his debut season, against both rival players.

“We were really able to show mental fortitude that it would help to win and defeat good teams,” Tucker said. “I am proud of this football team.”

Lombardi’s third and 10 runs set up Coglin’s winning kick. He passed 27 of 11 passes for 167 yards and two TDs with one interception. He also ran 10 times for 65 yards and junior Connor Hayward ran 96 yards on 24 carries. The Spartans outscored the Wildcats, 362-294, and forced three wildcut turnovers, including two Shakur Brown receptions.

“It’s been a strange year. We’ve got a new staff, we’ve got a youth offense and defense, “Lombardi said. “It is a combination of everything and trying to be consistent every week and putting your best foot forward every week. Because in a league like this in the Big Ten, if you don’t put your best foot forward every week, you can beat anyone, as we’ve seen. “

It was Michigan State’s first game since a 24–0 loss to Indiana on November 14, challenging Tucker to his team’s effort and commitment to the program. “It’s competition to play, compete to stay” he said at the time.

The Spartans (2-3) had an extra week to buy into that mindset, with last week’s game against Maryland being canceled due to COVID-19 issues in the Terrapins’ schedule.

The next No. 3 is Ohio State, dealing with its coronovirus outbreak. The Buckeyes’ game against Illinois on Saturday was called off on Friday when coach Ryan Day tested positive for COVID-19 and other cases forced OSU to stop the trip.

While the Buckeyes (5–0) spent Saturday wondering whether they would be able to play enough games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship, the Spartans dominated their first loss to the Big Ten West-leading Wildcats (5–1). Sent by The leader of the division from the beginning.

Following losses to MSU, Iowa and the Hosiers, he averaged 73.8 yards rushing, finishing 124th out of teams in the 127 Football Bowl subdivision. 31. The Spartans had 60 or fewer yards in their other three games – all losses.

Against the Wildcats, which allows a game of 100.6 yards to rank 13th nationally against a run, MSU came out and enforced their will based on their desire and with 134 yards rushing in the first season Assumed its season. Hayward ran 12 times for 71 yards rushing, and Lombardi had five carries for 43 yards.

The ability to run the ball helped Lombardi open things up. He launched a 75-yard bomb to Jalan Neller for a touchdown on MSU’s second possession, then faded from the slot for a second-scoring strike in the first match of the second quarter by Jayden Reed 15 yards early in the second quarter. done. To cap a 13-play drive. A Shakur Brown interception set up a 22-yard Coglin field goal after the first TD, giving the Spartans 17 points in the first 15 minutes of football.

The Wildcats got a pair of field goals late in the half, then opened the third quarter in MSU territory by moving quickly through the air, 55 yards from Pieten Ramsey’s hand, and another from receiver Lychee Lees. 12 on a trick throwing pass. Ramsey then drove it to Naked Bootleg with a fourth-and-goal 1-yard TD.

Northwestern took its first lead thanks to a short field, catching an intervening penalty over MSU’s Julian Barnett. Cam Porter took a wildcat snap and ran it for a 3-yard score with 13:54 to play the Wildcats 20–17.

Two teams traded turnovers – a Lombardi interception immediately after which a Northwestern fumble was recovered by MSU’s Jack Camper. That led to Coghlin’s goal setting the remaining goal with 43 yards on a field of 43 yards.

With 6:22 to play and Northwestern third-and-7 in front, Brown threw Ramsey to Berkeley Holman and dropped the Wildcats receiver to the ground. Holman had to be taken off the field, but the Spartans received the ball to set Coglin’s knuckle of a winning kick.

Rumsey, who transferred from Indiana to Northwestern in the offshin, completed 21 of 43 for 210 yards and two interceptions with two TDs.

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

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