One bitter loss after another wiped out all those high hopes Northwestern had. Now, the Wildcats can forget about a bowl bid, too.
Northwestern fell out of postseason contention with a 30-6 loss to No. 13 Michigan State on Saturday, a scenario few would have envisioned when this season began.
"I didn't think it was going to go this way, but you never know," defensive end Tyler Scott said.
Connor Cook threw for a career-high 293 yards, Jeremy Langford ran for 150, and the Spartans clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game.
Cook threw for two touchdowns. Langford ran for two scores, and Michigan State (10-1, 7-0) reached the conference championship game for the second time in three years.
Langford ran 20 yards untouched for the game's first touchdown in the second quarter. He sealed it with a 37-yard scoring run in the fourth after Kurtis Drummond picked off a short pass by Trevor Siemian, sending Michigan State to its seventh straight win and Northwestern (4-7, 0-7) to its seventh loss in a row.
"It's definitely been a rough experience," Scott said. "You never want to lose a game, but to lose seven in a row, it's challenging."
It's stunning, considering the expectations they had.
Northwestern came in off a 10-win season and was looking to show it can beat the best in the Big Ten. Instead, the Wildcats will have to win at Illinois next Saturday to avoid going winless in conference play.
No. 4 Ohio St. 42, Indiana 14: Braxton Miller ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns and passed for two more to lead Ohio State to a victory over Indiana, extending the Buckeyes' school-record win streak to 23 in a row.
The snowy victory clinched a division title for the Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0), locking up a spot opposite Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 7.
Carlos Hyde became the first running back to go over 1,000 yards rushing in Urban Meyer's 12 years as a head coach. He ran for 117 yards and two scores.
Ohio State's defense throttled the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5), who came in averaging 39 points a game.
No. 16 Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 7: James White rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Wisconsin beat Minnesota (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) for the 10th straight time.
Jared Abbrederis had seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown and Chris Borland recovered two fumbles and forced one to tie the NCAA record for career fumbles caused. After the game, the Badgers (9-2, 6-1) hoisted Paul Bunyan's Axe and used it to chop the Gophers goal post when the time ran out.
Iowa 24, Michigan 21: Jake Rudock threw for 239 yards and a pair of touchdown passes and Iowa rallied from 14 down to beat Michigan (7-4, 3-4 Big Ten).
A fumble recovery by Anthony Hitchens with 2:12 left sealed it for the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten), who also clinched a winning season after going 4-8 in 2012.
Nebraska 23, Penn State 20: Pat Smith kicked a 42-yard field goal on Nebraska's first possession in overtime to lift the Cornhuskers to a win over Penn State.
Smith's 37-yarder was called back on a false start. Smith had no trouble with 5 extra yards, giving the Huskers (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) their third win in four games.
Penn State's Sam Ficken (Valparaiso), who missed an extra point in regulation, missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt to open overtime. The Nittany Lions (6-5, 3-4) lost for the first time in three home OT games this season.
Eastern Illinois 70, UT Martin 22: Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 477 yards and six touchdowns as Eastern Illinois dominated University of Tennessee at Martin (7-5, 5-3 Ohio Valley Conference).
Garoppolo completed 26 of 46 attempts with Adam Drake pulling in 14 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Jeff LePak grabbed seven passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Shepard Little rushed for 123 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Garoppolo threw for three touchdowns in the first quarter and had four touchdown tosses by halftime. He threw seven touchdown passes in a game against Illinois State earlier this season.
Eastern Illinois (11-1, 8-0) clinched the OVC regular season championship with a 52-14 win over Jacksonville State last week and the 11 victories in a season is a school record.
Southern Illinois 31, Indiana State 9: Malcolm Agnew rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns to lead Southern Illinois to a victory over Indiana State.
Kory Faulkner threw 11 of 17 for 131 yards for the Salukis (7-5, 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference). Wide receiver John Lantz had eight receptions for 99 yards.
Illinois State drew first blood on a 39-yard Eric Heidorn field goal in the first quarter. Southern Illinois answered on its next possession with a touchdown pass by Ryan West to Adam Fuehne from nine yards and led 7-3 at the half.
The lone touchdown for the Sycamores came in the third quarter when Travis Starks intercepted a John Lantz pass and returned it 98 yards. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.
The Sycamores (1-11, 0-8) managed only 55 total yards offense and suffered a pair of turnovers. They close the season in the basement of the MVC.
UNI 28, W. Illinois 13: David Johnson ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns to lead Northern Iowa over Western Illinois (4-8, 2-6 Missouri Valley).
Ray Mitchell returned two interceptions for touchdowns and UNI (7-5, 3-5) ran the ball 42 times compared to only 12 pass attempts. Johnson eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the 15th time in his career and passed Carl Boyd to become fifth in UNI's career touchdown list with 32.
Nathan Knuffman's field goal gave Western Illinois a 3-0 lead before the Panthers scored 28 straight first half points. UNI won the game with defense and ball control the rest of the way.
St. Francis 20, Faulkner 13: A goal-line stand by the Cougars defense preserved the win in the NAIA Football Championship Series opening round. Taylor Brown (Chesterton) and Matt Carden stood up Eagles running back David Amos on third down, then Jake Allen sacked quarterback Josh Hollingsworth on fourth and goal with 1:39 remaining in the game. The Cougars (9-2) advance to the quarterfinals.
West Texas A&M 27, Indianapolis 14: Joe Bell (Lowell) caught a 17-yard touchdown pass in the fisrt quarter, but No. 19-ranked West Texas A&M defeated No. 10 Indianapolis in the opening round of the Division II playoffs. The loss ended the Greyhounds’ 12-game home winning streak.