With the loss, Northwestern drops to 2-6 overall, 0-4 in the Big Ten. Northwestern is now 1-3 at Ryan Field this season. It marked the first time the end of the 2003 (Nov. 15 to Michigan) and the start of the 2004 seasons (Sept. 11 to Arizona State) that NU has lost successive home games.
Michigan State set the NCAA Division I-A record for most points overcome to win a game (35, 38-3) and most points overcome in the second half (35, 38-3) to win a game. The previous NCAA mark for a comeback in a game was 31 points (held by Maryland (vs. Miami, Fla.), Nov. 10, 1984, trailed 31-0 with 12:35 remaining in the third quarter and won 42-40; and by Ohio State (vs. Minnesota), Oct. 28, 1989, trailed 31-0 with 4:29 remaining in the second quarter and won 41-37.)
Michigan State also set the NCAA Division I-A record for most points overcome in the second half to win a game (35, 38-3) (31, held by Maryland, see above).
Quarterback C.J. Bachér made his first career start and led the Wildcats to their best offensive day of the season-38 points, 440 yards of total offense, 263 passing yards-all season highs. Bachér completed 15-of-29 passes for 245 yards, three TD's and two INT's-all career bests. He had played in six games previously-all in a reserve role-and had a total of 83 passing yards on 8-of-19 passing.
Running back Tyrell Sutton had his best game of the season, rushing for a game-high 172 yards (21 carries) and catching a pair of passes for 20 yards, to give him a 2006 single-game high 192 all-purpose yards. Sutton also recorded his career-long run-64 yards-late in the third quarter on a drive that appeared was going to end a string of two straight MSU touchdowns. Leading 38-17, Bachér lobbed a pass to Sutton in the end zone that he was set to catch. Instead, the Spartans knocked the ball away and intercepted it to thwart a potential key score.
With his big day, Sutton surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for career rushing and moved past Mike Adamle (1968-70, 2,015 yards), another Northeast Ohio product, into seventh place on NU's all-time rushing list. Sutton now has 2,133 career yards. His 172-yard day was fourth-best rushing performance of his career.
Sutton's 192 all-purpose yards gives him 2,619 career all-purpose yards, which ranks 17th on NU's all-time list behind Greg Boykin's (1972-76) 2,732 yards.
Northwestern lost its top defensive player and leading tackler, outside linebacker Nick Roach, early in the third quarter when he suffered a broken right leg. He is likely out for the remainder of the season. Roach, who entered the game as the Big Ten's third-leading tackler, had three tackles before leaving the game. He now has a team-best 62 tackles, to go along with 4 TFL's and an interception. Roach now has 241 career tackles.
Place-kicker Joel Howells made 1-of-2 field goals and now has 19 made FG's for his career, sixth all-time at NU.
Wide receiver Shaun Herbert, one of two Northwestern wideouts with a pair of TD receptions on the day, extended his string of games with at least one reception to 32. He began the day with the nation's eighth-longest reception string.
Herbert caught two TD passes in a game for the third time in his career. He had two TD grabs against Ohio (Sept. 3, 2005) and Arizona State (Sept. 17, 2005). Herbert finished with a season-high six catches for 54 yards. One of his TD receptions came off the halfback option, with running back Brandon Roberson completing an 18-yard TD pass, the first toss of his collegiate career.
Wide receiver Ross Lane also caught two TD receptions, the first time in his career he's scored more than one TD. He caught four passes for 71 yards.
Entering today's game, Northwestern had thrown just one TD pass-in the first game of the year to running back Tyrell Sutton. Today, the Wildcats tossed four TD strikes.
Sophomore wide receiver Eric Peterman turned in the two biggest pass plays of the season-52 yards and 47 yards-to give him 99 receiving yards on two catches.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jeff Yarbrough, who helped fill in for the absence of Kim Thompson (out for personal reasons), caught two passes for 19 yards. He entered the game with two career receptions (7 yards).
Cornerback Marquice Cole recorded his second interception of the year and the seventh of his career early in the third quarter, leading to NU's final TD of the game. The interception moved Cole into a six-way tie for ninth place on NU's all-time interception list. Safety Brendan Smith recorded the other interception, his second of the season and fourth of his career.
Linebacker Adam Kadela finished with a team-high nine tackles (six solos). Defensive end Corey Wootton added five solo tackles, two of which were TFL's (one sack). He now has 7.5 TFL's and 4 sacks-both team bests.
For the fourth straight week, Northwestern won the turnover battle, recording three takeaways while suffering a pair of turnovers (two interceptions). The Wildcats are now +4 in turnover margin in Big Ten action this year.
MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
Ashton Henderson's 33-yard blocked punt return for touchdown was the eighth special teams touchdown of John L. Smith's career as Spartan head coach, including the third blocked punt.
Jehuu Caulcrick's 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was the first receiving score of his career.
Caleb Thornhill's interception in the end zone late in the third quarter was the first interception of his career.
Drew Stanton's 18-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter was his first touchdown pass since the Notre Dame game, ending a three-game drought. Stanton also recorded the 18th 200-yard passing game of his career, adding to his school record.
Travis Key's fourth-quarter interception was the first of his career.
Trailing 38-3, Michigan State closed the game by scoring 38 unanswered points. In MSU's other road win of the season, a 38-23 win at Pittsburgh, the Spartans scored 38-straight points after falling behind 10-0.