HALFTIME: Northwestern 6, MSU 5 (fans losing on all accounts)

Spartan Stadium eventually filled up by the middle of the first quarter. Unfortunately for the 75,101 of them in the stands, the first half was a primer on everything Michigan State has failed to do all season.

Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien has a pair of field goals, from 24 and 43 yards, to give the Wildcats a 6-5 halftime lead.

The Spartans blew two chances offensively inside the Wildcats’ 5-yard line, coming away with no points on either trip after a first-quarter Andrew Maxwell fumble and a fourth-down snuff of Le’Veon Bell. They did manage to get a safety on a sack of Northwestern QB Kain Colter by Max Bullough and Will Gholston.

Dan Conroy also made a field goal from 35 yards out early in the second quarter, but then he missed a 37-yard attempt in the waning seconds of the half that would have given MSU the lead again after Maxwell marched them deep into Northwestern territory. Conroy is now 18 of 26 on the season.

Bell has 18 carries for 52 yards, upping his season totals to 301 attempts and 1,301 yards. He is the first running back to top 300 carries since Javon Ringer in 2008 and now ranks sixth in single-season attempts behind Marc Renaud’s 312 in 1995.

And yes, this first half was ugly. The two teams combined for a little more than 300 yards, but it’s like watching neutral zone hockey. Just brutal. Wonder how many of the fans who did arrive late wish they’d have stayed away.


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56 Responses to HALFTIME: Northwestern 6, MSU 5 (fans losing on all accounts)

  1. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    this offensive line is the biggest bunch of wimps i’ve ever seen..size alone does not make a lineman..burkland is living proof of this..as for conroy..THE APPLICANT IS A BUM..

  2. avatar Ben Green says:

    Hopefully the Spartans will keep the momentum after the TD and 2 point conversion to tie it!

  3. avatar C'mon eh says:

    Sorry Ben. Nope

  4. avatar Ben Green says:

    Another pic! Turnovers and missed scoring opportunities.

  5. avatar Ben Green says:

    Touchdown MSU!

  6. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Out of tweets

    Siemian to C. Jones for 22 yards. Northwestern first and 10 at own 40, clock rolling with 2 minutes left.

  7. avatar Chris Solari says:

    MSU DE Shilique Calhoun breaks up a pass, then on third down nearly sacks Northwestern QB Siemian. Wildcats have fourth and 1. Timeout Spartans, 1:39 left, is their last.

  8. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Maxwell to Lippett broken up with a big hit. Next pass to Bell broken up. Third and 10 MSU at its own 20, 1:19 left.

  9. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Slant to Burbridge incomplete, no pass interference called. Fourth and 10 at MSU’s 20.

  10. avatar Chris Solari says:

    And that should be it – Maxwell hits Dion Sims, who drops it/has it knocked away. Play will be reviewed, but Northwestern to take over at its own 20 with 1:09 left.

  11. avatar Chris Solari says:

    MSU will need to win its final game next week at Minnesota in order to be eligible for a postseason bowl game. Spartans fall to 5-6 on the season, 2-5 in the Big Ten and go winless at home in conference play for the first time since 2006 (John L. Smith’s final season).

  12. avatar Ben Green says:

    Drops….the story of the season.

  13. avatar C'mon eh says:

    Joke. Chris. Please tell me the offensive coaching staff should not be changed?

  14. avatar IBleedGreen says:

    So many lost opportunities in this game. Way too many mistakes. Too many dumb penalties, and no help from the officials on blatently obvious calls that should have been made in our favor. This has been a heart breaking season to watch. Hopefully we can regroup, grow a little in the offseason, and come back next year swinging.

  15. avatar Chris Solari says:

    FINAL SCORE: Northwestern 23, MSU 20

  16. avatar Ben Green says:

    Geez….another close loss. Another home loss. Another disappointment. Incapable of making even 1 yard on the last possession. Not too many teams are that inept on offense in the country.

  17. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Next year will be better

    • avatar IBleedGreen says:

      I know it’s been said before, but I see a lot of similarities to the 2009 season. Maxwell reminded me a lot of Cousins that year – some bad decisions, happy feet in the pocket, and didn’t handle the pressure that well. I think now that he has a season under his belt and knows what to expect, he’ll be more confident and we’ll see some good things from this team next year.

  18. avatar C'mon eh says:

    What a waste. How can MD have let this happen? So many tools. Squandered. Dare I say is SOS exposing itself again?

    Here’s the post game pressed: ” well tough game NW played physical… Can’t win when you have 3 turnovers… And kids played hard”.

    Well what about the coaches??????????????? Help me understand this.

    If izzo losses 50% of his games what would he do?

  19. avatar MLM89 says:

    Those 2 missed TD opportunities in the 1st half were killers. With this O line you cannot line up in a power formation and run. They should have gone 4 wide to spread out the defense then tried to punch it in. Even better would be to fake to Bell then throw the ball to Sims. The tight end is usually open on a fake run from in close.

    This game should seal Roushar’s fate. He has no clue how to call a game. I doubt he would even know how to call 911 if the house was on fire.

    Winless at home in the conference this season. So much for taking opponents to the “Woodshed”. Pride comes before the fall.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Lets pretend this game never happened, compartmentalize like Clinton. Big picture we need the extra practices to keep the bowl streak alive, and for recruiting. Dantonio needs to tell recruits parents your son will get the extra practice every year at Michigan State, that is the bottom line.

        • avatar MGoBlow says:

          I love my Spartans, but . . . I’m sorry – that’s pathetic for a coach in his 6th year at the helm to be selling his program w/ recruits.

  20. avatar MGoBlow says:

    Turn out the lights, the party’s over . . . Narduzzi should have taken the DC job @ A&M. There’s always next year in EL – sad how the more things change the more they stay the same. How different this season would have been if our beloved football team had an offensive coordinator, not an inept offensive line coach pretending to be one (the weakness of this “program” since MD has been in EL – I wonder why . . .) This was the year we were to see what type of program MD has built @ MSU – this is not good enough, folks.

    • avatar Com on 'eh says:

      100% agree mgb. When our the fans, the coaches and administration going to stop settling for a Mediocre program and results? I’m
      Starting to think seasons like last year are the ceiling of this staff?
      Would Kelly or Meyer or Beilima or Polini(sp?) for a 110 offense and NO home wind in the BT? NO WAY.

      I want rose bowls not not JLS seasons!

      Note to staff a good defense can only do so much.

  21. avatar mysondave says:

    We all saw it coming. Same idiot play calling, inopportune penalties, game changing to’s and an offense that can never get a first down in crunch time. At least we were spared from the normal of Northwestern coming down the field to go ahead and win. They were already leading. This team reminds me of the Brando scene in The Waterfront where he says “I coulda been a contender.” Yes, these Spartans were that close no matter what their record ends up. Too bad for the seniors and possibly a junior or two who leave early. Definitely not good for future recruiting. Just the same…..Go Green.

  22. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    This game never happened

  23. avatar Spartan in the D says:

    This season is completely UNACCEPTABLE! And it falls squarely on Dantonio. Whether Roushar “deserves” to be fired or not, it doesn’t matter. Dantonio needs to let him go just to show the team, the players (including Maxwell), the coaches, and Spartan Nation that the performance on the field is NOT GOOD ENOUGH across the board and that everyone needs to pick it up – including the coaches! This game was officially John L. Smith like (SOS) and Dantonio needs to change the mentality quickly in order not to slip back into that foolishness!

  24. avatar MGoBlow says:

    Hollis better start doing his homework now on potential candidates to replace MD as he can not afford to have another Perles era w/ all the upgrades he envisions to facilities, ect. in the future for the football program. MD might have to retire in 3 years when his “medical conditions” facilitate an early exit – a la Meyer @ Florida. We can give MD a job well done for stabilizing the program & move on to a coach who can take our program to an elite level. Please don’t tell me that’s a pipe dream just look at Oregon – I remember when they were perennially 1 of the worst teams in college football w/ not half the tradition we have in our program. Let’s give MD 3 more years to win a B1G championship & a couple of 10+ win seasons – if he pulls that off w/ this being another 2009 – then re-evaluate.

  25. avatar Ben Green says:

    Should an assistant coaching change be made? Might some other offensive coordinator be better suited?

    It baffles me how you can have the leading rusher in the B1G and be 2-5 in the conference and 5-6 overall.

    • avatar MGoBlow says:

      U can delegate authority, but not responsibility – MD did the evaluation of Roushar’s questionable & highly unsuccessful record/ experience & put him in the OC position, anyway. Was that a function of lack of dollars to spread around to the assistants at the time – we’ll never know, but Roushar is on MD. I’m sure MD wishes he could have a re-do on that decision as it might be the one that ultimately gets him “retired ” by our AD.

      • avatar Com on 'eh says:

        We only know medicore seasons. Nothing will change. This is sad. # 110 offense. Plus it kills me when people say we are young. We are not young! I like Maxwell. But QB is open next year. Plus I ant believe all this NFL talk with Bell sims and oh my god gohlson. Jeez. That kid is over rated. How has ND with a feshman QB done so well??? how ha OSU done so well without even a recognized season.

        MD. Make changes please !

  26. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    I am jumping on that internal assessment bandwagon.

    NW’s D was hurting after many of the 3rd & early 4th qtr runs by bell – shouldn’t you keep running plays that work? Yet, the run was abandoned again at odd times to a degree. Yet, when the running between the tackles didn’t produce results in the red zone didn’t get it done four times in a row… where’s that QB boot leg and pass to our 6’5″ TE in the corner in the of the End Zone? I just don’t understand and can second guess all day because the offense didn’t get it done.

    • avatar Ben Green says:

      Good points. To say the overall offense has been lacking this year would be an understatement. Did you see the points MAC teams put up against B1G competition? I’m guessing MSU has better talent.

  27. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    This game fever happened nothing to see her people lets move on to Minnesota

  28. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    49winsin six years meets my 8wins a year average, we will have 100 Mark Dantonio wins after 12 years. My standard is eight wins a year what I have always wanted is to look back after a decade and see eighty wins. If I had not seen a Rose Bowl with my father in person I would feel differently sure I would like more championships but I can live with an eight win average Mayo

    • avatar MGoBlow says:

      His record never happened nothing to see here – just the overall perception of a program falling back into it’s old ways (I will not invoke the dreaded 3 initials) . . . The problem is no one wants to see the product on the field now & how will that effect ticket sales & donations next year. That might be nothing to see, but will have to be dealt w/ if things don’t change in a hurry – regardless of winning %s. In this era of college football – a coach who won a nat’l championship 2 years ago is going to be fired for 1 embarrassing season. I consider this Spartan football season an embarrassment (5 home losses in B1G play – that was last achieved by JLS in his final season!) made worse by expectations wholly unfulfilled.

  29. avatar Tired Ofdumbtonio says:

    Once again, stupid on field coaching decisions doom our Spartans. Going for it on 4th and two in the second quarter is a rookie mistake. The not going for it on 4th down with three minutes in the 4th quater was the same stupid move Dantonio made last year against Wisconsin in the championship game. If you are going to depend on your defense to win the game, running one more additional play is not a risk. Dantonio is clueless when it comes to strategy. Meanwhile, Urban Meyer continues to dominate with second tier players because all of the other B1G coaches are so inept..

  30. avatar Ben Green says:

    Dantonio’s record speaks for itself. His overall and B1G records are the best since Biggie Munn. His .653 overall record translates to nearly 8 wins per season. His 5 bowl appearances are second only to Perles. He’s had only one losing season in five full seasons and it was 6-7 including a bowl loss.

    I don’t think dumping the head coach is the answer, however, the head coach is responsible for hiring assistant coaches. In my opinion, some changes need to be made. That’s Dantonio’s job.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:


    • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

      There’s a math error here. MD is 49-28 [.636] right now [actually a little better than an 8-5 average]. Unless he wins next week AND wins the bowl game, he’ll finish below Duffy’s first six years [35-19-1, or .644].

      • avatar Ben Green says:

        Chem, with all due respect, the discrepancy of a few percentage points has no bearing on my premise.

        • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

          I don’t think it’s fair to imply that MD is a shoo-in to have a better record that Duffy at the same point in their tenures. It’ll depend on who’s the B-XII #5; I think that’s Texas Tech right now–a solid touchdown favorite over the Spartans (on a day better than today).

  31. avatar Steve says:

    An immobile quarterback does not do well with two mediocre offensive tackles.

  32. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    Two quotes, with my two cents on each:

    Dan Roushar on whether anything was added during the bye week: “Not really. Just looked at some formation things alignment-wise but we tried to stay true to what we’ve been and who we are, didn’t do a lot of things in that way…We thought, rather than get away from who we’ve been personality-wise, stay with who we are.”

    What MSU’s offense has been is an O that averages nine fewer points per game than the average FBS offense–and one which formations telegraph plays to over an 80% accuracy. No need to change that? Seriously?? I can only assume Narduzzi doesn’t know where Roushar lives…

    Chris Solari: “I bet Ohio State’s players are going to get some tattoos to celebrate this undefeated season.”

    Thank you, Chris. Spartans everywhere are in need of a good laugh.

    • avatar Ben Green says:

      Roushar’s comments are sad but no doubt Dantonio and the other offensive coaches agreed to stay true to “who we are”.

  33. avatar Tired Ofdumbtonio says:

    89, I’m too lazy to google. Who was the last MSU coach to lose every single conference home game in a single season? Am I in good company?


    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      No you are an lost in the woods, go on home your mother is calling you to dinner

    • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

      As recently as 2006 (J L Smith). But instead of losing by a combined 11 points like Dantonio, that team lost by a combined 49–including a loss to one of the worst B1G teams of the decade (Illinois). And Smith was absolutely not robbed of a win by a poor call on a good block like MSU was vs. Nebraska.

      Duffy went winless in home conference games three times. I think Dantonio’s overall place is in pretty good company by Spartan standards, and he’ll have a better overall legacy than Perles as long as his teams average above .500 from now through 2016.

      • avatar MGoBlow says:

        I’ll take Duffy – much better recruiter.

      • avatar Tired Ofdumbtonio says:


        So when you adjust for inflation, those guys were paid way more than MD, correct. And the average season ticket price has decreased, right? So as a season ticket holder, we have nothing to complain about as we watch MD continue the streak of unfulfilled expectations and no rose bowl, right?

        • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

          I don’t truly know the prices, but I sincerely think the opposite is true, of course. I guess some of us can enjoy suites unavailable in the ’50s & ’60s; they’re pricey, but were factually beyond price back then. Same with the jumbo video accoutrements and (in principle) smartphone access to the outside world. And there are more home games to go to than in the Munn/Duffy years.

          (Also, let’s not forget that Penn State & Nebraska have been added to the B1G. The road to Pasadena is incontrovertably tougher on everyone.)

          Furthermore, inflation for most live events has far outstripped average inflation and average household incomes. My first rock show cost $12.50. That gave me general admission to see Bob Seger at the height of his career in an outdoor venue seating ~15,000. Today’s equivalent is about $35. I rather doubt Bob’s tickets are that thrifty nowadays.

          Having said all of that: There’s tons to complain about! If I were a 2012 MSU season-ticket holder and made the average ~$50,000/year income, I’d feel robbed (to put it mildly.)

          I wouldn’t necessarily cancel my 2013 tickets–the esteemed Joe Rexrode thinks MSU is the favorite to win the Legends next year due to schedule strength and a relatively robust return of starters. But a lot of donors & students won’t see it that way. And unless MSU goes to Indy next year (at a minimum), those folks won’t be coming back in 2014, either.

          Firing Dantonio would be an overreaction on the merits of the sport itself. But if sales were to drop from ~60,000 this year to ~6,000 next year, he’d be gone. (And basketball ticket prices might have to triple to keep athletics funded, period.) Each family must decide for themselves what to do.

          Here’s my opinion, fwiw: If you were willing to buy tickets in 2005 after JLS went 5-7, then I think MSU deserves serious consideration in 2013.

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            Encouraged by those thoughts, JLS took top ten talent at Arkansas this year and will go 4-8.

  34. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Folks, if you think we should step back from the cliff as I do, what about the greedy BCS slim after last night. Once again their system will prove inadequate to crown the champ.

  35. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Keeshan gets a TD early against the lowly Jags

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