Northwestern vs. Michigan State 2012 final score: Wildcats hold on for 23-20 victory

Justin K. Aller

Despite sloppy offensive play, Northwestern was able to hold on Saturday for a 23-20 victory over the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. With the loss, Michigan State now needs a win next Saturday to get bowl eligible this season.

It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but Northwestern held on Saturday in East Lansing for a wild 23-20 victory over the Michigan State Spartans.

For Northwestern, it was an offensive struggle all day, as coach Pat Fitzgerald used two quarterbacks to seal the Wildcats’ eighth victory of the season. Kain Colter completed 13 of 20 passes and threw the Wilcats’ only touchdown pass of the afternoon, while back-up Trevor Siemian completed 13 of 23 passes as well. Colter added 28 yards rushing for Northwestern, which was held to just 61 yards on the ground the entire game.

Meanwhile, it was a tough loss for Michigan State, which had opportunities on offense but couldn’t capitalize when they needed to. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell finished the afternoon with 297 yards passing and two touchdowns, while running back Le’Veon Bell added 133 yards on the ground as well. In the end though, four turnovers proved too costly for the Spartans.

With the loss Michigan State is now 5-6 on the season and will need a win next Saturday at Minnesota to become bowl eligible.

Box Score Hero: His stat line wasn't pretty, but Kain Colter was Northwestern's best player. He finished the afternoon with a touchdown pass and was also the Wildcats leading rusher, with a meager 28 yards.

Rankings Ramifications: At 8-3 overall, there's a possibility that Northwestern will be ranked when the new poll comes out Sunday. At 5-6 overall, Michigan State will not be.

But Did They Cover? No. Michigan State entered as a 6.5 point favorite.

For More On This Game: For more information on Northwestern football, be sure to visit Sippin' On Purple, and for more on the Spartans visit The Only Colors.

Next Week's Schedule: Northwestern will close out their regular season next Saturday when they host Illinois, while Michigan State visits Minnesota in their final regular season as well.

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