With a big game against Iowa looming next week, Michigan State may have been caught overlooking Northwestern this week.
MSU has fallen behind the Wildcats 17-7 at halftime, thanks to a largely ineffective offense and a porous defense that has allowed Northwestern to run for 122 yards after 30 minutes. Four Northwestern players have at least 20 yards rushing, lead by quarterback Dan Persa who has 38 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries.
MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown for 130 yards and a touchdown so far, but MSU’s offense has been largely absent. MSU is just 1-for-6 on third downs thus far, and Edwin Baker committed a costly fumble near midfield in the first quarter that stalled a potential scoring drive.
To make matters worse, even steady placekicker Dan Conroy is having an off day. Conroy missed a 38-yard try wide right in the second quarter, his first miss in 14 tries. It would have tied the school record for consecutive field goals.