East Lansing, MI – It wasn't pretty, but Michigan State's quarterback Rocky Lombardi delivered another huge victory to the Spartan faithful.
Yet, whether or not he is MSU's starter moving forward remains in question after getting benched for Payton Thorne early in the second quarter against Indiana two weeks ago.
However, he retook his spot under center vs. Northwestern, a team sitting atop the Big Ten West, vying for a shot at a Big Ten title.
But Lombardi wouldn't let up.
"He was able to play within our scheme and take what the defense gave him. He was able to make some good throws. He ran the ball well," MSU coach Mel Tucker said. "Those are things that we saw him do in practice, so we felt like he would be able to take that into the game and execute."
He completed 11 of his 27 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns (65 rushing yards), not a perfect outing by any means.
Still, he protected the football (outside of one late-game interception), executed Michigan State's gameplan, and rushed for a first down to keep the clock moving, but above all else, Lombardi put the Spartans in a position to win.
"We needed this win as a team. It's just good to beat a really good team like Northwestern because that's the confidence boost we needed," said Lombardi. "We know we're a good team, and we know we can beat good teams, but it's hard to believe in yourself until you do it."
The redshirt junior provided Spartan Nation with hope following a 75-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Nailor but cemented that feeling when Michigan State moved downfield for 85-yards on 13 plays – its longest scoring drive of the year.
"We're tired of losing. That's what it comes down to. We want to win, and we know that we got the players to win," Lombardi said. "We all came together. We knew we had a shot to win this game. We expected to win the game."
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