Although it entered the matchup with No. 14 Michigan St. on a four-game winning streak, Northwestern knew it would have to play one of its best games of the season to knock off the Spartans. Unfortunately, the Wildcats were unable to elevate their game to another level, as they fell 31-17 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Spartans were led by QB Kirk Cousins, who broke Jeff Smoker's Michigan St. TD record in the win. Cousins completed 14/20 for 214 yards and two TD's. Both TD throws went to B.J. Cunningham, who had six catches for 120 yards in the victory. Sophomore RB Le'Veon Bell controlled the tempo on the ground, rushing for 86 yards on 16 carries.
In the loss, Northwestern received a terrific performance from QB Dan Persa. The senior QB completed 23/32 for 245 yards and 2 TD's. Kain Colter had six catches for 44 yards, while Jeremy Ebert added seven catches for 39 yards and a TD. With the Wildcats trailing for much of the game, the rushing attack was non-existent, as Jacob Schmidt led the way with 14 carries for only 39 yards.
Michigan St. will prepare for the inaugural Big 10 Championship game next weekend, where it will play the winner of the Wisconsin Vs. Penn St. matchup later today. Northwestern will wait to learn which bowl it will be playing in.
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Northwestern blog Sippin' On Purple and Michigan State blog The Only Colors. Here’s the complete Week 13 college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.