EAST LANSING — The Spartans went 2-1 in nonconference play after falling at home to Arizona State last weekend, 10-7, while the Wildcats are 1-1 after a home win over UNLV.
Saturday’s game marks the 58th meeting between MSU and NW. The Spartans lead the all-time series 37-20, including a 19-11 record when playing in Evanston (Dantonio is 4-1 at Ryan Field).
Despite the loss to Arizona State, Mark Dantonio will still have an opportunity to become Michigan State’s all-time winningest coach as the Spartans open up conference play on the road against Northwestern. The message to his football team was to move on and regroup.
“You better be able to regroup when things go wrong with your program or personally,” said Dantonio. “We will regroup. I can promise you that.”
Who can blame him? He’s saying things he’s supposed to as the head coach. He’s trying to recenter his teams focus after a tough loss.
“We could be 3-0 right now, but we’re not,” said Dantonio. “At the end of the day, you have to regroup.....you have to rally back. I think that’s very important.”
Frankly, it’s time the Spartans rally back against Northwestern as they try to snap a three-game losing skid against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are coming off of a 30-14 win over UNLV last Saturday, bouncing back from a 17-7 loss at Stanford to begin the year.
In the win, Northwestern totaled 441 yards of total offense, which includes 276 rushing and 165 passing yards. They also forced three turnovers on two fumbles and one interception (they held the Rebels scoreless in the second half).
Offensively, Hunter Johnson had 220 yards of total offense (165 yards passing) and completed 48% of his passes for one touchdown and one interception. Redshirt freshman Drake Anderson rushed for a career high with 141 yards on 26 carries with one touchdown (Northwestern was without sophomore running back Isaiah Bowser).
Defensively, the Spartans continue to rank among national leaders in rushing defense and other categories.
- Allowing 23.3 yards per game (No. 2)
- Allowing 216 yards per game (No. 3)
- 4.3 sacks per game (No. 5)
- 11.3 points per game (No. 12)
- Six turnovers gained (No. 20)
- Dantonio says he thinks Elijah Collins is the lead back right now, but other guys have definitely made plays and will be involved in the rotations.
- Cole Chewins and AJ Arcuri should be considered out, but are also day-to-day.
- Dantonio said Julian Barnett is a guy he could see getting more opportunities on the field, but says he needs to see crisper ran routes from him.
- Kevin Jarvis is out 6-7 weeks. Dantonio expects him to be out until the Penn State game.