Statistical Preview: Northwestern vs. Michigan State

John Paschall, Reporter

Trouble in East Lansing

It’s been well documented that the Spartans have yet to win a home game against a conference opponent this year. Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell may have to do with this disappointing stat. The signal caller was one of the big question marks coming into this season and he still remains an uncertain talent when playing at home. At home, the junior has struggled mightily, completing only 49.1 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions compared to three touchdowns. Maxwell is better on the road, completing 61.8 percent of his passes while tossing seven scores and only one pick.

Reflection in mirror

Everyone has complained about Northwestern’s inability to close out games and deservedly so. The same can be said for Michigan State lately. In the Spartans’ past three losses, they have given up the lead with under one minute to play. The offense has also stalled, only scoring one touchdown in those three games and averaging 3.3 first downs in the fourth quarter. In fact, with under six minutes to play, Michigan State has only moved the chains twice in the three recent losses.

Fun fact

If there was any doubt NU was a running team, it’s put to rest by this stat. The Wildcats’ leading receiver is sophomore Christian Jones with 304 yards. When you stack up all the leading receivers from each team in the Big Ten, he comes in dead last.

Quick hits:

  • All of junior running back Le’Veon Bell’s touchdowns have come inside the red zone.
  • Under coach Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats have only lost back-to-back games in November once (2010).
  • The Spartans are 2-5 when converting under 40 percent of their third downs.
  • Bell has the second most rushing attempts in the nation (283).

— John Paschall