Michigan State has record comeback against Northwestern, Spaeth injured

The Spartans began the year 3-0 before losing four games in a row.

by Mark Remme

Michigan State ended its four-game losing streak Saturday in historic fashion with its 41-38 victory over Northwestern.

The Spartans erased a 35-point deficit to earn their first conference win in four attempts.

The Wildcats enjoyed a 38-3 lead with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter before coach John L. Smith’s squad began its legendary comeback.

“I’d like to compliment our kids again,” Smith said. “They hung in there and deserve to get a pat on the back for fighting like they did and hanging in to get a win last week.”

With its late offensive outburst, Michigan State recorded the largest comeback in Division 1-A football history.

The Spartans began the season 3-0 before blowing a lofty 31-14 halftime lead to Notre Dame and losing 41-37. They dropped three subsequent games before Saturday’s victory.

Smith said he hopes the comeback victory sparks a winning streak, but momentum must be earned in college football.

“Well, we don’t know what (the win) can do,” Smith said. “We hope it can do a lot of good things for us and that we can build on that. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.”

Buckeyes & Nittany Lions shine

Two Ohio State Buckeyes joined a pair of Penn State Nittany Lions in taking home the Big Ten Player of the Week awards.

Ohio State senior quarterback Troy Smith shared the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award with Michigan State senior quarterback Drew Stanton.

Minnesota coach Glen Mason, whose Gophers will face Smith’s Buckeyes next week in Columbus, Ohio, said Smith is about as good of a player as it gets.

“A lot of times I watch as the hype unfolds for Heisman Trophy candidates every year,” Mason said. “With this guy, it is not hype. The guy is really, really something.”

Smith passed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in essentially one half of play on Saturday in Ohio State’s 44-3 drudging of Indiana.

Stanton shares the honors after completing 27 of 37 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-38 comeback win against Northwestern.

Meanwhile, Ohio State senior cornerback Antonio Smith took home the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week award with Penn State senior linebacker Paul Posluszny.

Smith tallied a career-high 12 tackles while forcing a fumble against Indiana. His four tackles-for-losses accounted for minus-22 yards for the Hoosiers offense.

Posluszny forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown when Penn State was trailing by one point in the third quarter. The fumble return gave the Nittany Lions a 17-9 lead en route to a 26-12 victory over Illinois.

Penn State senior punter Jeremy Kapinos took home the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week award by placing four of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line against Illinois.

Kapinos averaged 45.6 yards on his eight punts and totaled 365 yards to set a school record for career punting yards.

Spaeth to miss action

Minnesota coach Glen Mason confirmed Tuesday that senior tight end Matt Spaeth will not play Saturday at Ohio State because of an injury suffered last week against North Dakota State.

Though specifics were not addressed, Mason said the injury occurred late in the Gopher’s 10-9 win.

Sophomore tight end Jack Simmons will take Spaeth’s place in the Minnesota lineup.

Tough times in Iowa City

It’s been a tough two weeks for Iowa’s football team.

The Hawkeyes rolled into Bloomington, Ind. last week as a 15th-ranked, 5-1 national power ready to earn another victory over a mediocre Indiana squad.

They walked away on the wrong side of a 31-28 upset.

Iowa lost Saturday 20-6 to No. 2 Michigan, marking the first time since Oct. 22 and Nov. 5, 2005, that the Hawkeyes have lost back-to-back games.

To make matters worse, coach Kirk Ferentz announced today senior quarterback Drew Tate will not play against next week’s opponent, Northern Illinois, because of an injury to his left hand.

“(Tate) will not be with us this week,” Ferentz said. “He had surgery this morning.

Everything went great and hopefully he’ll rejoin us next week.”