A fumble changed everything.
With Northwestern driving deep in Michigan State territory and the score tied at 3 Saturday at a rainy Ryan Field, it appeared that the Wildcats were poised to take a lead on the No. 11 Spartans with 5:25 to play in the first half. It was up to freshman running back Treyvon Green to get the job done, as the Widlcats were in the midst of a 60-plus yard drive that started at their own 35.
But after Green plowed through the Spartans' line and appeared to be down near the Michigan State three, the ball popped out of Green's hands. Spartans linebacker Max Bullough forced Green to fumble and defensive end Denzel Drone recovered.
That miscue led to an eight-play, 97-yard Michigan State drive that chewed 3:45 off the clock and cumulated in Le'Veon Bell's seven-yard touchdown run. Bell faked out cornerback Daniel Jones heading into the end zone and Michigan State led 10-3.
Adding insult to injury, Keshawn Martin returned a Wildcats punt 57 yards for a touchdown with 34 seconds to play in the first half, boosting the Spartans' lead to 17-3.
Cornerback Jordan Mabin left the game late in the first quarter with a right shoulder injury and is questionable for the rest of the game. Redshirt freshman Jones replaced Mabin in the Wildcats' secondary.