Mark Dantonio uttered six seldom-used words to highlight the biggest problems in Michigan State’s fourth straight loss.
“Plan, structure, execution.”
“Outcoached, outtoughed, outplayed.”
Numbers can lie, but these are historic and horrific. One week, Michigan State’s offense barely cracks 200 total yards, the Spartans’ fewest since 2011. The next, the defense gives up its most points of Mark Dantonio’s 10 seasons as coach.
Justin Jackson rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and Northwestern moved the ball almost at will after a slow start, beating Michigan State 54-40 on Saturday night. Clayton Thorson threw for 281 yards and three TDs for the Wildcats, who rallied from an early 14-0 deficit.
QB change not enough as Northwestern runs over Michigan State, 54-40 Detroit Free Press
Tyler O’Connor came on in relief at quarterback and provided a spark he couldn’t the past three games. Spartan Stadium was still buzzing after his 86-yard touchdown pass to R.J. Shelton over Northwestern’s defense. It was O’Connor’s second in three drives after replacing redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke. MSU was back within two points.
‘No easy fix’: It’s bad to worse for MSU with 4th straight loss Detroit News
For nearly a full quarter on Saturday, the energy was back in Spartan Stadium. The home team was rolling, watching a quarterback efficiently move the offense down the field and an opportunistic defense putting points on the board. But the initial spark created by the start of redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke at quarterback and the interception return for a touchdown by Justin Layne was extinguished quickly by Northwestern.
Frustration mounts as Michigan State faces issues with no easy answers MLive
On a night in which his team gave up 54 points and nearly 500 yards, changed starting quarterbacks, ran for just 51 yards and gave up a special teams touchdown, Mark Dantonio was asked to name Michigan State's biggest issue going forward. "Just one?" Dantonio asked, in his postgame press conference. "That's not a good question."
Michigan State lit up for 54 points by Northwestern in fourth straight loss MLive
We've reached the nadir of the Mark Dantonio era at Michigan State. Michigan State again unravelled in the second half as it lost to Northwestern, 54-40 at home on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans (2-4, 0-3) have now lost four straight games for the first time in Dantonio's 10 seasons as head coach. Northwestern's 54 points marks the most ever scored on a Dantonio-coached Michigan State team, and most by any Spartans opponent since November 2003.
MSU remains winless in Big Ten, falls to Northwestern for fourth straight defeat State News
Homecoming weekend in East Lansing was capped of with what MSU head coach Mark Dantonio called a “must-win” football game against Northwestern. In a back and forth game that saw both MSU and Northwestern have over 10 point leads, the Spartans eventually fell the Wildcats 54-40, making Dantonio 8-2 all-time at MSU on homecoming and MSU is now 2-4 overall on the season and 0-3 in Big Ten play.
Thoughts on Northwestern Game: Coaching Still the Main Problem What is Your Profession?
The QBs and the O-line are average to below average, but we saw today that this offense can score points with the talent they have. Even Alabama takes a few long shots down the field, and at long last, MSU took a few shots down the field and it greatly paid off. I guess we can at least take some comfort in the fact that the OC seems to have learned some lessons. At this point, the OC might as well just open up the playbook and work his butt off every week to add wrinkles. This offense can and better score points the rest of season. There is no excuse.
MSU drops fourth straight with 54-40 loss to Northwestern Spartan Tailgate
For the first time in head coach Mark Dantonio's 10-year reign in East Lansing, the Spartans have lost four straight games. Turning to a redshirt freshman starter at quarterback in Brian Lewerke, MSU's day started with loads of promise. The afternoon would end up belonging to visiting Northwestern, though, as the Wildcats went into Spartan Stadium on Homecoming and came away with a 54-40 win, handing the Spartans a fourth straight loss for the first time since 2006, when it happened twice.
What Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after the loss to Northwestern Land of 10
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio managed to crack a smile in the midst of his press conference following the Spartans’ 54-40 loss to Northwestern on Saturday. But it was brief. Dantonio spoke at length about what has gone wrong for his team, and when asked to point out one thing that has not worked as of late, he responded, “Just one?” No, not just one. Plenty of fixes need to be made. And here’s what Dantonio said:
The Spartans drop four straight in loss to Northwestern isportsweb
Brian Lewerke, who had his first career start at quarterback after days of debating who the quarterback will be, looked promising in the first quarter, but struggled in the next two quarters and was ultimately benched in the Spartans’ 54-40 loss to Northwestern.
Lewerke starts, Spartans fall to Northwestern isportsweb
Michigan State kept things very secretive when it came to their quarterback situation this week, but in the end, redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke was chosen to start for the Spartans against Northwestern. “I would say I did a pretty good job. Obviously that first drive we got it going, kind of leveled off a little bit, but I think I did a good job of executing the offense to what the coaches asked,” said Lewerke.
Henning: Talent void puts slumping Spartans in dire straits Detroit News
It’s a full-moon Saturday evening in East Lansing and something approximating a werewolf sighting occurred a few hours ago at Spartan Stadium. Michigan State’s football team was slain by Northwestern, 54-40. If the score makes no sense, neither does the fact a Wildcats team scored more points than the Spartans had in rushing yardage (51).
Michigan State QB picture still in state of flux Detroit News
Michigan State made a change at starting quarterback on Saturday, but it’s hard to say whether anything has been decided at that position for the Spartans. Redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke was impressive early in his first career start, but when the offense became stagnant, coach Mark Dantonio called on fifth-year senior Tyler O’Connor, the starter through the first five games.
Michigan State struggles to finish, respond to adversity during slide MLive
The greatest response to adversity for Michigan State's defense Saturday had to have been the way Mike Tressel handled his postgame interview. Handling adversity and finishing have been big problems for the Spartans' defense this season. They've been especially apparent during the current losing streak that reached four games in a 54-40 loss to Northwestern.
Grinz on Green: Spartans Still Searching for the Inches MSUSpartans.com
The inches Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio repeatedly talks about as the difference between winning and losing came so easily in one regard against Northwestern on Saturday. There were 7,092 on three Tyler O’Connor touchdown passes and true freshman cornerback Justin Layne’s interception return to the end zone alone.
Starters' return to MSU 'D' can't stop bleeding Detroit News
Michigan State got Riley Bullough and Raequan Williams back on Saturday, but it seemed to matter little. Instead of helping bolster a defense that had taken its share of beatings this season, the return of two starters was merely a footnote in one of the worst defensive showings in coach Mark Dantonio’s tenure.
Michigan State notes: QB Tyler O’Connor didn’t start, but stayed ready Detroit Free Press
There is a certain level of irony in Tyler O’Connor coming off the bench to spark the Michigan State offense. He did just that Saturday in a 54-40 loss to Northwestern, just three days after the fifth-year senior learned he would be demoted to second string and redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke would make his starting debut.
Michigan State secondary takes beating in loss to Northwestern Detroit Free Press
Freshman cornerback Justin Layne showed good vision and anticipation early in the first quarter, picking off Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson and running it 43 yards for a pick-6. It was one of the only notable plays made by MSU's secondary in the entire game.
Michigan State's quarterback question still open after Northwestern loss MLive
Michigan State made a drastic change at its quarterback position to start Saturday's game against Northwestern, but ended up right back with its season-opener starter. The Spartans started redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke at quarterback on Saturday, before making a second-half switch to senior Tyler O'Connor.
A Michigan State team that aimed to become the first in 50 years to repeat as Big Ten champions is now staring at the possibility of making a different sort of history. Never in Mark Dantonio's 10 seasons as Michigan State's coach has one of his teams lost four straight games.
Facing the possibility of the first four-game skid in 10 years, it’s not surprising the finger-pointing has begun in earnest at Michigan State. It’s not happening within the program, but for fans that have grown accustomed to winning a lot of football games and competing for championships, staring at a 2-3 overall record with an 0-2 start in the Big Ten is difficult.
Of all of the problems Michigan State has endured during its first three-game losing streak since 2009, one in particular is the most problematic for Mark Dantonio’s defense. Getting off the field on third down.
Ten years ago, Michigan State broke a four-game losing streak by rallying from a 38-3 deficit in the third quarter at Northwestern for a 41-38 win. It was the largest comeback in NCAA Division I history. When the Spartans host Northwestern on Saturday, it will only feel as if they are trying to climb out of a hole that big.
One minute, you’re the little kid sitting in the bleachers at Spartan Stadium, cheering for your favorite players as loud as your 10-year old self can. The next minute, that same little kid is now a Division I athlete, standing on the field, smiling up at those little fans yelling “Go Green,” remembering when that was once you. For senior wide receiver Matt Macksood, this scene is actually from his journey.
Out of the blue, Kerry Reed got a phone call from an old mentor last year. “I’m watching you guys on ESPN right now,” said Reed’s former Greater Miami Pop Warner coach and mentor on the other line. Of course, it was the Northwestern game. Reed, who caught 95 passes for 1,213 yards at Michigan State from 2005-06, has hardly played in a more exciting game than that one. And that includes five seasons in the high-scoring Arena Football League, where he currently plays for the Arizona Rattlers.
Ed Davis felt the chop block hit him low. Michigan State’s linebacker went to the ground, his surgically repaired knee the first thing in his mind. And then? “I’m like, ‘Oh, man.’ But I got up like, 'Yo, I’m fine,' ” Davis said this week. “I’m like, 'all right, I can do this, let’s go. Get back to my old self.' ”
The Spartans are going to be in East Lansing again this Saturday, this time facing The Northwestern Wildcats. Michigan State has some things to figure out and certain adjustments will be made. We may even see someone different under center to start the game. After last week’s tough loss to The Cougars of Brigham Young, Sparty has had time to regroup and turn their attention to another good football team in the Wildcats.
Michigan State Madness, the MSU basketball program's annual season-opening shindig at Breslin Center, is, like everything else in college hoops, a chance to recruit. And Michigan State is expecting quite the list of recruits for Friday evening's festivities.
Michigan State hosts a pesky Northwestern team for its Homecoming this weekend and the Wildcats are struggling in 2016 as well. In fact, Northwestern lost to Illinois State and Western Michigan to open the season 0-2. Who’s going to win this battle of three-loss teams? Michigan State should be angry after losing three straight, but Northwestern won’t go down easily.
Mark Dantonio’s humor is desert dry. But just as there are pockets of life in any desert, Dantonio will every so often remind everyone his personality isn’t as arid as you might think.
A lot of comparisons have been made between this team and the 2012 team that went 7-6. That was the last time MSU lost three games in a season and had any uncertainty at quarterback. I’m starting to believe that’s where the similarities end. You may want to sit down for this next part — this team appears to be worse. A lot worse.