for this game

Ringer, Michigan State spoil unbeaten bid for Northwestern

Oct 12, 2008 - 2:13 AM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Michigan State used a big defensive effort to knock Big Ten Conference rival Northwestern from the ranks of the unbeaten.

The 19th-ranked Spartans forced three turnovers and Javon Ringer ran for two touchdowns as Michigan State upended the 22nd-ranked Wildcats, 37-20, on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State has won six straight games after a season-opening, 38-31 loss to California, and in the process has become bowl eligible.

"It means a lot; it is definitely a big step for our program and our team," Ringer said. "We see how things are falling into place on how our season is going thus far.

"We aren't complacent; we aren't settling or relaxing at all because we are bowl eligible. We know we have some big tests left throughout the season."

Northwestern was off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1962 after edging out close victories over Iowa and Ohio in its last two games.

On Saturday, the Spartans (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) converted their turnovers into points. After Michigan State safety Danny Fortener returned a pick 21 yards into Northwestern territory, it took the offense just four plays to reach the end zone, as Ringer dashed 13 yards to make it 17-0.

After C.J. Bacher threw his second interception midway through the second quarter, Brian Hoyer found fullback Andrew Hawken for a 7-yard score to make it 24-7.

"They were bringing a lot of guys up, so we had to take advantage of it," Hoyer said. "That's how this offense is. We came out, got hot quick, and we were able to move the ball. I think what really helped us out were the turnovers. We had great field position all day."

The Wildcats made it a two-possession game on Bacher's 6-yard scoring strike to Rasheed Ward, but the Spartans answered right back three minutes later. Once again, it was Ringer who finished it, plowing in from 1 yard out to push the lead to 31-14.

"It was very frustrating," Northwestern running back Tyrrell Sutton said. "In the Big Ten, you can't spot a team 17 points and expect to win. We made some costly mistakes that they capitalized on.

"You can't sleepwalk through the first quarter, first half and expect to come out and play one half of football and win."

Ringer, the nation's top rusher, finished with 124 yards on 35 carries. The senior workhorse now has 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, leading the country in both categories. Saturday's performance was his fifth 100-yard outing this year after reaching the plateau seven times last season.

"My offensive line and I knew we had our work cut out for us, and knew they would bring a lot of guys into the box," Ringer said. "All the credit goes to my offensive line. They were able to continue to produce and created the holes I needed to keep moving the ball down the field."

Hoyer had a quiet but efficient showing, completing 14-of-20 passes for 169 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) piled up 459 yards of total offense, surpassing its season average by nearly 100 yards, and converted 15-of-24 third-down attempts. Bacher finished 34-for-61 - setting a new career high in pass attempts - for 283 yards, while Sutton ran for 139 yards on 23 carries.

Michigan State, which had to hold off Iowa in a tough 16-13 victory last week, remained unbeaten in conference play but will face its stiffest text next week against 11th-ranked Ohio State.

"Mentally we were prepared, and that was basically the focus. We knew it would be a tough football game," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. "We felt like what we had to do was be able to respond to things with that force. We had to mentally stay on top of things. Whatever happened, our offense was going to have to respond and our special teams were going to have to respond."

Northwestern, which was coming off its bye week but came back with its sloppiest performance of the season, hosts Purdue next week.








  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NCAAF
    MICHIGAN ST (19) 37
    NORTHWESTERN (22) 20 FINAL

    Oct 11 6:58 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG MICHIGAN ST
    BRETT SWENSON 34 YD
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 37
    NORTHWESTERN 20 5:54 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Michigan State 37, Northwestern 20  4th - 5:54Oct 11 6:35 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG NORTHWESTERN
    AMADO VILLARREAL 22 YD
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 34
    NORTHWESTERN 20 11:53 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Michigan State 34, Northwestern 20  4th - 11:53Oct 11 6:24 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 17 7 10 34
    NORTHWESTERN 0 7 10 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MICHIGAN ST - TD, GARRETT CELEK 3 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN HOYER (BRETT SWENSON
    KICK), 5:37. MICHIGAN ST 7-0
    MICHIGAN ST - FG, BRETT SWENSON 26 YD, 9:05.
    MICHIGAN ST 10-0
    MICHIGAN ST - TD, TIM

    Oct 11 6:13 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG MICHIGAN ST
    BRETT SWENSON 42 YD
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 34
    NORTHWESTERN 17 2:18 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Michigan State 34, Northwestern 17  3rd - 2:18Oct 11 6:06 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG NORTHWESTERN
    AMADO VILLARREAL 31 YD
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 31
    NORTHWESTERN 17 6:53 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17  3rd - 6:53Oct 11 5:56 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD MICHIGAN ST
    JAVON RINGER 1 YD RUN
    (BRETT SWENSON KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 31
    NORTHWESTERN 14 10:23 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Michigan State 31, Northwestern 14  3rd - 10:23Oct 11 5:43 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NORTHWESTERN
    RASHEED WARD 6 YD PASS FROM C.J. BACHER
    (AMADO VILLARREAL KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 24
    NORTHWESTERN 14 13:53 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Michigan State 24, Northwestern 14  3rd - 13:53Oct 11 5:34 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 17 7 24
    NORTHWESTERN 0 7 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MICHIGAN ST - TD, GARRETT CELEK 3 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN HOYER (BRETT SWENSON
    KICK), 5:37. MICHIGAN ST 7-0
    MICHIGAN ST - FG, BRETT SWENSON 26 YD, 9:05.
    MICHIGAN ST 10-0
    MICHIGAN ST - TD, TIM ROBINSON

    Oct 11 5:09 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD MICHIGAN ST
    ANDREW HAWKEN 7 YD PASS FROM BRIAN HOYER
    (BRETT SWENSON KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 24
    NORTHWESTERN 7 0:53 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Michigan State 24, Northwestern 7  2nd - 0:53Oct 11 5:06 PM


  • CORRECTION
    NCAAF TD NORTHWESTERN
    C.J. BACHER 4 YD RUN
    (AMADO VILLARREAL KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 17
    NORTHWESTERN 7 13:55 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Michigan State 17, Northwestern 7  2nd - 13:55Oct 11 4:32 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NORTHWESTERN
    C.J. BACHER 4 YD RUN
    (AMADO VILLARREAL KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 0
    NORTHWESTERN 7 13:55 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Michigan State 0, Northwestern 7  2nd - 13:55Oct 11 4:30 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 17 17
    NORTHWESTERN 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MICHIGAN ST - TD, GARRETT CELEK 3 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN HOYER (BRETT SWENSON
    KICK), 5:37. MICHIGAN ST 7-0
    MICHIGAN ST - FG, BRETT SWENSON 26 YD, 9:05.
    MICHIGAN ST 10-0
    MICHIGAN ST - TD, TIM

    Oct 11 4:22 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD MICHIGAN ST
    TIM ROBINSON 13 YD RUN
    (BRETT SWENSON KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 17
    NORTHWESTERN 0 2:34 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Michigan State 17, Northwestern 0  1st - 2:34Oct 11 4:17 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG MICHIGAN ST
    BRETT SWENSON 26 YD
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 10
    NORTHWESTERN 0 5:55 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Michigan State 10, Northwestern 0  1st - 5:55Oct 11 4:08 PM
  • 5
    roots
    oliveoil5872 Added 5 roots

    Michigan State 7, Northwestern 0  1st - 9:23Oct 11 4:02 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD MICHIGAN ST
    GARRETT CELEK 3 YD PASS FROM BRIAN HOYER
    (BRETT SWENSON KICK)
    MICHIGAN ST (23) 7
    NORTHWESTERN 0 9:23 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Michigan State 7, Northwestern 0  1st - 9:23Oct 11 3:57 PM