for this game

Michigan State posts biggest comeback in Division I-A history

Oct 21, 2006 - 8:41 PM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Michigan State ended a disappointing four-game losing streak in historical fashion.

Behind the play of quarterback Drew Stanton, their special teams and defense, the Spartans pulled off the biggest comeback in Division I-A history with an improbable 41-38 Big Ten Conference victory over Northwestern.

With pressure mounting on coach John L. Smith, the Spartans (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) picked up their first conference win by rallying from a 35-point third-quarter deficit.

The previous biggest comeback in major college football was 31 points - when Maryland behind quarterback Frank Reich rallied for a 42-40 victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl on November 10, 1984, and when Ohio State posted a 41-37 victory over Minnesota on October 28, 1989.

Now the Spartans stand alone.

C.J. Bacher's five-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Herbert with 9:54 left in the third quarter had given the Wildcats (2-6, 0-4) a seemingly insurmountable 38-3 lead.

But Stanton threw an 18-yard TD pass to Jehuu Caulcrick and A.J. Jimmerson ran for a four-yard score in the final 7:03 of the third quarter to pull the Spartans within 38-17.

The momentum continued as Ashton Henderson returned a blocked punt for a 33-yard TD with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter. Stanton's 12-yard TD run with 7:54 to go pulled the Spartans within 38-31.

Stanton found T.J. Williams for a nine-yard TD with 3:43 left, tying the game.

Stanton completed 27-of-37 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

The comeback was completed when Travis Key's interception set up Brett Swanson's 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining.

Bacher threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns and Tyrell Sutton rushed for 172 yards for the Wildcats, who lost their fifth straight game.