Series History: Michigan State vs. Northwestern

A look back at the series history between Michigan State and Northwestern
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Michigan State kicks off the 2021 season with a road trip to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats Friday night.


Michigan State leads the all-time series 39-20 and is currently on a two game winning streak. The long-time Big Ten rivals have only not played each other seven times since 1959.

2020- Michigan State 29, Northwestern 20 (Home)

2019- Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10 (Away)

2018- Northwestern 29, Michigan State 20 (Home)

2017- Northwestern 39, Michigan State 31 (Away)

2016- Northwestern 54, Michigan State 40 (Home)

Most Recent Matchup

2020- Michigan State surprised most the country last November when they knocked off at the time undefeated and 8th ranked in the country Northwestern, 29-20. It was one of only two wins in 2020 for the Spartans who eventually finished the season 2-5. Jumping out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter before Northwestern rallied back to take a 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. Behind two late Matt Coughlin field goals and a fumble recovery in the endzone by Kalon Gervin to seal the victory. Michigan State was led Jalen Nailor who had three receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown including a 75 yard touchdown in the first quarter. The loss stunned Wildcat fans who were coming off a 17-7 victory over Wisconsin the week before that put them into the College Football Playoff discussion.

Mel Tucker is 1-0 as the Spartans Head Coach against Northwestern while Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald is 5-8 all-time against the Spartans.