Nov. 12, 2012
Northwestern (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten) at Michigan State (5-5, 2-4 Big Ten)
Saturday, Nov. 17 11 a.m. CT
Spartan Stadium (75,005) East Lansing, Mich.
TV: ESPN2 (Crew: Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell, Maria Taylor)
Radio: 720 WGN (Chicagoland) (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht) and WNUR (89.3 FM)
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE | Gametracker
Online Video: WatchESPN
Northwestern at Michigan State -- Weekly Release | 2012 Northwestern Football Yearbook
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Skip Myslenski Blog: Marching On To Michigan State
A Northwestern team hungry to return to action travels back to the state of Michigan this weekend for its Legends Division and 2012 road finale, squaring off with Michigan State Saturday at Spartan Stadium (11 a.m. CT, ESPN2). MSU spoiled Northwestern's Senior Day affairs at Ryan Field in 2011 and Saturday NU will look to return the favor.
The Wildcats are looking to bounce back from last week's 38-31 overtime loss at Michigan--NU's first-ever OT defeat against a Big Ten team after previously going 7-0 in such games. Northwestern, which had been ranked No. 24 in the BCS standings entering the Michigan game, can improve its standing in the Big Ten's bowl selection order and also keep the Spartans from securing bowl eligibility with a win Saturday in East Lansing.
Northwestern is 2-2 on the road this season and Saturday will look to lock up a .500 or better road record for the fifth consecutive season. The 'Cats are 16-10 in enemy territory since the beginning of 2008, including an 11-8 road mark in Big Ten play during that stretch.
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Facing a Michigan defense that entered last week's contest ranked seventh nationally in total defense, Northwestern moved the ball with relative ease and topped 200 yards rushing for the sixth time in 10 games this year (248). Quarterback Trevor Siemian also had his way with the nation's No. 1-ranked pass defense, completing 6-of-7 passes for 87 yards (12.4 yds./att.) with two touchdowns.
Michigan State is the fourth Big Ten opponent on NU's schedule to face the Wildcats with an extra week of rest and preparation. Northwestern has gone 2-1 in its first three games against Big Ten teams coming off an open date--defeating Indiana and Minnesota before falling to Nebraska.
Junior Venric Mark's first season as Northwestern's starting running back has been a resounding success, with the Houston native needing only nine games to become NU's first 1,000-yard rusher since Tyrell Sutton in 2006. Mark's 1,176 yards are good for 10th-best on the Wildcats' single-season rushing list. On Nov. 9, Mark was named one of 10 national semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation's top tailback. He leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth nationally in all-purpose yards per game with 191.7, and is now fourth on the school's single-season all-purpose yards list with 1,912. Mark has posted seven 100-yard rushing games this year, most by any Big Ten player this season.
Series Record: Michigan State leads, 36-16
Series in East Lansing: Michigan State leads, 18-6
Last Meeting: Nov. 26, 2011 in Evanston (Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17)
Northwestern is looking to post a win over Michigan State for the first time since 2007, a memorable 48-41 overtime victory in East Lansing. As was the case that day five years ago, the road team has won six of the last seven matchups dating to 2004, with the lone exception coming in NU's last trip to Spartan Stadium on Oct. 17, 2009.
That 2009 affair saw Northwestern take a 7-0 lead into the halftime locker room against eighth-ranked Michigan State, only to have Sparty roar back with 24 straight points in the second half to ultimately win, 24-14. Senior WR Zeke Markshausen hauled in 16 receptions on the day, second-most all-time at NU and the most by a Wildcat in 27 years.
The 'Cats have two representatives from the state of Michigan who are likely to play Saturday against the Spartans: sophomore WR Tony Jones (Flint, Mich./Grand Blanc) and sophomore OL Paul Jorgensen (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt).
The Big Ten Conference announced Monday that Northwestern's regular-season finale against rival Illinois will be an 11 a.m. CT kickoff (Saturday, Nov. 24), with the Big Ten Network providing the live broadcast from Ryan Field. Visit Northwestern's online ticket center or call 888-GO-PURPLE to secure seats for your last chance to see the 'Cats in Evanston this season.
Download the complete Northwestern weekly release in the PDF linked at the top of the page.
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