EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans gives a thumbs up to the crowd while leaving the field after the victory against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium on November 19, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Hoosiers 55-3. (Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images)

Michigan State Vs. Northwestern: Spartans Win 31-17, Have Second Straight 10-Win Season

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Michigan State Vs. Northwestern Final Score: Spartans Get Tenth Win Of Season, Beat Wildcats 31-17

Trailing the Michigan State Spartans by two touchdowns, the Northwestern Wildcats began the fourth quarter going for it on fourth down. Dan Persa completed a pass to Jeremy Elbert for 19 yards, and that set up another pass a play later, this one for 12 yards and a touchdown to Demetrius Fields, bringing the game within reach, and threatening to prevent the Spartans from a second-straight 10-win season.

Unfortunately for Northwestern, they weren't able to hold them. After a couple punts, Michigan State threw together a nine play, 93 yard drive that ended in a Kirk Cousins touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham for 29 yards and a touchdown, putting the Spartans up 31-17. The Wildcats started to drive again, but faced a 4th and 18 at the MSU 27 yard line, but Persa was sacked for a loss of yardage and Michigan State took back over.

Michigan State managed to eat a lot of time off the clock and Northwestern took over with 32 seconds remaining on the clock. The clock was killed, though, and the Spartans won 31-17, giving them their second-straight 10-win season. Kirk Cousins finished 14 of 20 for 214 yards and two touchdowns against a single interception. Le'Veon Bell, Edwin Baker and Cousins combined for 166 yards rushing on the ground, with Bell having the bulk of them, at 86 yards and a touchdown. B.J. Cunningham had 120 yards receiving for the Spartans.

The game was closer than the final score indicates, with the Wildcats putting up 253 yards passing and 117 yards on the ground, plus they didn't throw any picks - but the game was lost either way, and Michigan State can say they are not co-champions, even if Michigan beats Ohio State on Saturday.


Michigan State Vs. Northwestern Score Update: Spartans Up Top 24-10 Heading Into Fourth

The Michigan State Spartans have their eyes on a second-straight double-digit win season, but they've got to get past the Northwestern Wildcats to do it. That's proving to be a little tougher than they previously thought. Northwestern received the opening half kickoff, and after a Dan Persa completion to Drake Dunsmore for 69 yards, the Wildcats were back in business. That took the ball to the three yard line, and Persa ended up hitting Jeremy Ebert for a two-yard touchdown, bringing the Wildcats within a touchdown.

Michigan responded, though, and went on a ten play drive that took them from their own 33 yard line to the Northwestern 33 yard line, where Kirk Cousins completed, you guessed it, a 33 yard touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham to put the Spartans back up two scores, following a Dan Conroy extra point.

Both teams exchanged punts, and the third quarter came to an end with Northwestern facing a fourth down in MSU territory. 


Michigan State Vs. Northwestern Score Update: Spartans Score On Turnover, Punt To Lead 17-3 At Half

The first quarter between the Michigan State Spartans and the Northwestern Wildcats was a slow one, as least offensively. Searching for their tenth win of the season (looking for double digit wins for consecutive seasons), Michigan State was only able to put together a field goal, near the end of the quarter. They were able to put that drive together with a pair of 20 yard rushes from Kirk Cousins and Le'Veon Bell, respectively.

Northwestern immediately answered back to tie it 3-3 at the start of the second quarter, helped mightily by a 17 yard scamper from Venric Mark. Things started turning for Northwestern's favor when Kirk Cousins was intercepted on the third play of the following drive, by Jeravin Matthews. This set Northwestern up at their own 35-yard line, and after rushes of seven, 10 and seven again, Northwestern set up in Michigan State territory.

The Wildcats continued playing the short game, eventually setting up with a 2nd and 3 at the MSU six yard line, but Treyvon Green fumbled the ball, forced by Max Bullough, and it was recovered by Denzel Drone, so the Spartans took over. Le'Veon Bell took advantage of the turnover, running for 15 yards on the first play, and eventually another seven. Kirk Cousins really turned it up though, as the clock neared two minutes, hitting Brian Linthicum for 15 yards and Keshawn Martin for 46 yards, inside the Northwestern 10 yard line. Bell took the first and goal carry, and earned a seven yard touchdown, putting Michigan State up 10-3 following the Dan Conroy extra point.

Northwestern took over with the half nearing its end, but after a Dan Persa sack on second down and a 3rd and 16 coming up, Michigan State called a timeout. After a rush from Northwestern, the Spartans took another timeout, and it proved to be the right move, as Brandon Williams' 34 yard punt went to Keshawn Martin, who returned it 57 yards for a touchdown, putting the Spartans up 17-3.

The half came to an end after a Northwestern rush.

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