By MICHAEL STOLLARDE and JOSH MCCULLOUGH | SPORTS Illustrated/Associated PressThe Michigan State Spartans were down 17-0 to Northwestern in the final game of the preseason Thursday night in a matchup between the teams’ two preseason All-Americans.
The Spartans (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) trailed by 21 in the third quarter, and were down 15-0 when Jalen Hurd stepped in front of a pass from quarterback J.T. Barrett to put the Spartans up by six points.
The Wolverines (3-5, 1-3) scored three touchdowns on their first possession of the second half.
Michigan State had three turnovers, including a pair on the Spartans’ next possession.
That set up a 17-yard field goal by freshman receiver Jacoby Ford, and the Spartans tied the game at 22 late in the second quarter.
The game was tied at 20 with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter when Michigan State recovered a punt from Northwestern.
That would have put the game away, but Hurd threw a fourth-and-1 pass to tight end D.J. Jones on third-and -1 from the Michigan State 14-yard line that was picked off by receiver Dwayne Allen.
The pass was intercepted by safety Jordan Willis, who recovered a third-down fumble by the Spartans.
Michigan Stadium was filled with Michigan State fans and players as the game was over.
Barrett, who had seven catches for 107 yards, said he was very emotional, but not angry.
“It was just something I couldn’t control,” Barrett said.
“It was a big game for us.
It was a great game for our program.
It’s something that I’m proud of and proud of the team that won it.”
Michigan State quarterback Jameis Winston said he didn’t think about the game too much.
“I think of it as a big win, and I think about my teammates, and that’s the biggest thing.
It wasn’t about us,” Winston said.