Saturday, Sep. 30 12:10pm ET
Anderson leads Northwestern into first place in Big Ten


EAST LANSING, Mich. -- No fluke. No overtime necessary.

Northwestern beat a ranked team for the second straight week Saturday -- this time a 37-17 victory over Michigan State (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP). The victory follows a riveting 47-44 overtime win at Wisconsin, then ranked No. 7.

Herb Haygood
Herb Haygood (2) makes this catch, but it wasn't enough as Northwestern knocked off the Spartans.
"We are a better football team this week than we were last week," Wildcats coach Randy Walker said.

No one was better Saturday than Damien Anderson, who ran for two long touchdowns and 219 yards on 25 carries. Tim Long added three field goals for the Wildcats.

"I have to take my hat off to Northwestern," Spartans coach Bobby Williams said. "I thought they did a tremendous job."

Northwestern (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) used its spread offense to keep Michigan State (3-1, 0-1) off balance early. The Wildcats then shifted to a ground game in the second half to eat up time.

"I think overall we played pretty solid," Walker said. "It was a nice job by the offense and I knew that it would be because of the optimism we had coming in. We came out of the blocks and got the job done."

Michigan State now must regroup from its first loss after three straight victories.

"We have a long season to go. ... We have to stay focused," Williams said. "We just have to rally the troops, reload, and remain within the system."

Michigan State was unable to convert several big plays into scores, and the Spartans had two costly fumbles.

The game was tied at 10 after the first quarter, with Northwestern's Teddy Johnson catching a 39-yard scoring strike from Zak Kustok, and Michigan State's T.J. Duckett countering with an 11-yard touchdown run.

Long kicked two field goals in the second quarter, and Andersen raced 32 yards for a touchdown.

Northwestern ran for 201 yards in the half, to only 63 for Michigan State as both teams used their pass attacks to register big gains and pose scoring threats.

Anderson scored again in the third quarter, breaking loose up the middle for a 41-yard run.

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Northwestern Clubhouse

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 Northwestern's Teddy Johnson lays out to haul in a 39-yard TD pass from Zak Kustok.
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 Northwestern's Damien Anderson runs 32 yards for the TD.
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 Northwestern's Damien Anderson runs the rock 41 yards for the TD against Michigan State.
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