1st quarter recap: Northwestern 3, Michigan State 2

In the first quarter, Dion Sims fought back for Michigan State. He caught one pass for 44 yards, but the Spartans trail 3-2 at the end of the first quarter. Michigan State made the score 3-0 when Northwestern failed to convert on fourth-and-5.

The Spartans added two points on a safety when Kain Colter was corralled in the endzone, making the score 3-2.

Michigan State has the ball on the Wildcats’ 23-yard line to begin the second quarter.

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More on this game from BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart:

Player on the spot: The Spartan offensive line. It needs to protect quarterback Andrew Maxwell. But it also needs to get a push in the ground game for an offense that is No. 8 in the Big Ten in rushing (141.9 ypg). The Michigan State front has had to deal with injuries, which have hindered the group’s chemistry and development.

Key matchup: Northwestern QB Kain Colter vs. Michigan State front seven. The Spartans have the Big Ten’s top defense (288.0 ypg). And it will be put to the test by Colter, who is one of the Big Ten’s most dynamic weapons. He was at it again last week at Michigan, generally looking sensational in running for 82 yards and hitting 8-of-14 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Spartans like Max Bullough, Denicos Allen and William Gholston must excel and contain Colter.

Key number: 473, yards allowed by Michigan State in its last game (vs. Nebraska). It was the most yards the Spartans have yielded all season. MSU still has the No. 1 defense in the Big Ten (288.0 ypg).

Key note: Most think these teams are fighting for a spot in the Gator Bowl, with the winner having an edge in nabbing the New Year’s Day affair.

EDITOR’S NOTE In partnership with Narrative Science, BTN.com posts recaps after every quarter of every Big Ten football game. Use the links above for more info on this specific game, including full Big Ten campus weather reports. And enter your zip code below to find the TV channel airing BTN football games on your TV provider. If your game isn’t listed, it’s on another TV network. Learn more about our TV GameFinder.

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