Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI — November 28, 2020
There was optimism in Ann Arbor and East Lansing this week as the Wolverines were coming off a victory over Rutgers and Michigan State had a week off due to their game with Maryland being canceled over COVID concerns.
Penn State vs Michigan
Michigan welcomed Penn State, and their 0-5 record, to the Big House. The Nittany Lions started the year ranked 7th in the country and there was talk of competing for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. But, after losing to Indiana in their opener due to poor coaching and not taking a knee at the end of a game they had essentially won, the program tanked mentally.
This was the 1st time in the history of the Michigan-Penn State series that both schools entered the game with losing records. The Wolverines were looking to even their season totals at 3 wins and 3 losses while adding to the Lions’ misery.
The magic that Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara showed last week disappeared quickly and a first-half shoulder injury limited his abilities. McNamara was 12-25 for 91 passing yards on the day. Former starting QB Joe Milton played a few series at the end of each half and was equally ineffective.
A totally uninspired effort resulted in a 27-17 defeat and likely means the Wolverines will not be eligible for a post-season bowl invitation this year. They face Maryland next week and travel to Ohio State for the season finale on December 12th.
The rumbling surrounding Coach Harbaugh’s continuing tenure as Michigan’s head coach has turned into a roar calling for a change.
Northwestern vs Michigan State
Northwestern, ranked 8th in the country, traveled to East Lansing with a 5-0 record. Fresh off a 17-10 victory over perennial Big Ten West Champion Wisconsin. It’s possible the Wildcats were looking past lightly regarded Michigan State to next week’s matchup against Minnesota. Midway through the 1st quarter, the Spartans led 17-0.
Northwestern put up six points on two field goals before halftime but did not look like the same team that controlled Wisconsin a week ago. The Wildcats scored on their 1st possession of the 2nd half to make the score 17-13.
After exchanging punts, State gave Northwestern a short field to work with on penalty for kick catching interference. The Wildcats took advantage of the misstep and scored a touchdown early in the 4th quarter to make it 20-17.
On Michigan State’s next possession, Rocky Lombardi threw an interception and it looked like the Spartans might fold under Northwestern’s pressure. However, on the next play from scrimmage, Northwestern’s running back Kyric McGowan fumbled handing the ball right back to State.
A Matt Coghlin field goal from 44-yards out tied the score. Another Coghlin field goal, this one from 48-yards, put Michigan State back in front 23-20. As Northwestern tried to mount a last-minute drive for a score, the Spartans forced a fumble and recovered it in the endzone for a touchdown as time ran out. Securing the 29-20 upset.
At 2-3, Michigan State hosts Ohio State next Saturday before traveling to Penn State to close out the season. The Spartans will need 2 more wins to become bowl eligible.
Other Big Ten Scores
- Indiana 27, Maryland 11
- Rutgers 37, Purdue 30
- Iowa 26, Nebraska 20
- Ohio State at Illinois Canceled
- Minnesota at Wisconsin Canceled