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MIchigan State 30, Northwestern 6

The SportsXchange

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Connor Cook threw two touchdown passes and Jeremy Langford rushed for two scores as No. 13 Michigan State secured a spot in the Big Ten championship game with a 30-6 victory over Northwestern on Saturday at Ryan Field.

The Spartans (10-1, 7-0 in the Big Ten) claimed their second Legends Division championship in three seasons, while Northwestern (4-7, 0-7) saw its faint postseason hopes extinguished with its seventh straight loss.

Cook, a sophomore quarterback, completed 16-of-24 passes for a career-high 293 yards. Langford, a junior running back, rushed 25 times for 150 yards.

Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian was 25-of-43 for 227 yards, but Northwestern managed 80 rushing yards.

Spartan strong safety Isaiah Lewis was ejected in the first quarter for targeting Northwestern's Kain Colter, who caught Siemian's pass at midfield and was knocked out of the game.

The Wildcats drove to the Spartan five-yard-line but stalled and settled for Jeff Budzien's 22-yard field goal.

Michigan State took a 7-3 lead on Langford's 20-yard touchdown run with 8:22 showing in the second.

The Spartans made it 14-3 on an 87-yard pass play from Cook to wide receiver Bernie Fowler with 4:31 let in the half. Fowler made a one-handed grab over the back of Wildcat cornerback Matthew Harris and sprinted the remaining 35 yards untouched.

Northwestern replied with another drive inside the Michigan State 10 thanks to a 39-yard pass from Siemian to super back Dan Vitale that set up the Wildcats at the Spartan 8.

The Wildcats reached the Spartans three before Budzien was called in on fourth down to kick a 20-yard field goal that trimmed the deficit to 14-6.

Michigan State opened the second half with Cook's 48-yard pass play to Tony Lippett to the Northwestern 24. But the Wildcats stiffened and wouldn't allow the Spartans past the 15, leading to a 37-yard field goal by Michael Geiger and a 17-6 lead with 11:33 left.

Cook's second touchdown strike came with five minutes left in the third, a 15-yard pass to tight end Josiah Price in the end zone. Geiger's extra point kick was blocked by tackle Chance Carter, leaving the Spartans ahead, 23-6.

Kurtis Drummond's fourth quarter interception of a short Siemian pass at the Northwestern 37 set up Michigan State's next touchdown. On first down, Langford picked up his second score on a 37-yard run.

NOTES: Michigan State entered the game leading the nation in total defense for the 10th straight week. The Spartans had allowed an average 228.4 yards per game and only 57.3 yards rushing. ... Michigan State clinched its last Legends Division title in 2011 with a 31-17 victory at Northwestern and have beaten the Wildcats five straight times in Evanston. ... Five of Northwestern's six Big Ten losses have been by 10 points or fewer. ... Jeff Budzien's field goals gave him a school record 267 career points. Brian Gowins (1995-98) held the previous record of 262. ... Fourteen Wildcats played in their final game at Ryan Field on Saturday. Since arriving in 2008, the five-year class has contributed to 35 wins and four straight bowl appearances.
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