The Daily Northwestern

Football: Michigan State dominates Northwestern in final home game for seniors

Northwestern+junior+quarterback+Trevor+Siemian+drops+back+to+pass.+Siemian+played+for+an+injured+senior+Kain+Colter%2C+who+left+the+Wildcats%27+30-6+loss+to+Michigan+State+on+Saturday+early+in+the+first+quarter.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Football: Michigan State dominates Northwestern in final home game for seniors

Northwestern junior quarterback Trevor Siemian drops back to pass. Siemian played for an injured senior Kain Colter, who left the Wildcats' 30-6 loss to Michigan State on Saturday early in the first quarter.

Northwestern junior quarterback Trevor Siemian drops back to pass. Siemian played for an injured senior Kain Colter, who left the Wildcats' 30-6 loss to Michigan State on Saturday early in the first quarter.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern junior quarterback Trevor Siemian drops back to pass. Siemian played for an injured senior Kain Colter, who left the Wildcats' 30-6 loss to Michigan State on Saturday early in the first quarter.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern junior quarterback Trevor Siemian drops back to pass. Siemian played for an injured senior Kain Colter, who left the Wildcats' 30-6 loss to Michigan State on Saturday early in the first quarter.

Alex Putterman, Assistant Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It’s been that kind of season for Northwestern.

The Wildcats trailed Michigan State 7-3 in the second quarter Saturday when Spartans quarterback Connor Cook lofted a back-shoulder sideline floater to wide receiver Bennie Fowler. Fowler reached around an NU defender and corralled the ball with one hand, then cruised untouched to the end zone for an 87-yard touchdown.

NU (4-7, 0-7 Big Ten) never again had a chance in a 30-6 loss to Michigan State (10-1, 7-0).

The loss — the Cats’ seventh in a row — officially eliminated the team from bowl contention.

“It’s definitely been a rough experience,” senior defensive end Tyler Scott said. “You never want to lose a game, but to lose seven in a row — it’s challenging.”

Unlike in recent weeks, when NU has kept games close before losing late, Saturday’s matchup was a blowout by mid-third quarter. The Cats couldn’t capitalize on offensive opportunities and were uncharacteristically porous on defense.

Senior quarterback Kain Colter — honored in a pregame ceremony along with 13 other seniors — left the field with an upper extremity injury on NU’s second drive of the game and did not return.

“I’m obviously incredibly disappointed for him in his last game here,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “What a great career he’s had. So many magical moments at Ryan Field.”

Trevor Siemian, left to take all the Cats’ meaningful snaps under center, produced mixed results. The junior quarterback was 25-43 on the day for 227 yards and two interceptions.

In total, NU gained 319 yards of offense and 19 first downs, but the Cats couldn’t reach the end zone.

Conservative decision-making remained a theme for Fitzgerald and his staff until the game was well out of hand. In the first half, the Cats punted once each from Michigan State’s 37- and 40-yard lines and kicked field goals from the Spartans’ three- and five-yard lines.

“I know every fan wants me to go for it every fourth down,” Fitzgerald said. “I get the criticism, and I respect it. When we go for it and get it, that’s great, and when we go for it and don’t get it sometimes we put ourselves in tough situations.”

NU kicker Jeff Budzien’s 22-yard first quarter field goal gave the senior a program-record 264 career points, breaking the mark previously held by Brian Gowins.

But the Cats’ defense was susceptible to big plays all afternoon.

Michigan State grabbed a 7-3 advantage midway through the second quarter when running back Jeremy Langford took advantage of impressive downfield blocking on a 20-yard touchdown run.

Langford’s catch-and-run extended Michigan State’s lead, and NU trailed at halftime 14-6.

The Spartans added 9 points in the third quarter, with a field goal and a 15-yard Cook touchdown pass followed by a blocked extra point. Another long run from Langford in the fourth — this one 37 yards — gave Michigan State its final touchdown.

“We had some breakdowns, whether that being upfront or in coverage,” Scott said. “It was our fault. They’re a great team. They’re a very good team, a very physical team, and you can’t go out there and make mistake when you’ve got a great opponent like that.”

Langford carried 25 times for 150 yards on the game, while Cook completed 16 of his 24 passes for 293 yards.

NU’s seven-game losing streak is the program’s longest since dropping eight straight in 1998. The team will end its season at Illinois on Nov. 30.

“To see our guys not have success is always tough, regardless of how many times you end up unsuccessful,” Fitzgerald said. “To keep things in perspective is more important. We’ve gone through a lot of difficult challenges here.”

Email: asputt@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @AlexPutt02

Comments

About the Writer
Alex Putterman, Web Editor

Alex is a Medill senior studying journalism. He has written for The Daily’s sports desk since his first quarter at NU. His past positions at The Daily...