Northwestern upsets No. 16 Michigan State 39-31 in 3OT

Northwestern earned its third-straight win as it stunned No. 16 Michigan State on Saturday. (AP)

Northwestern got its third-straight win —  and its second overtime win in the last two weeks —  with an upset of No. 16 Michigan State 39-31 in triple-overtime.

While Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke was spot-on all night — he led his team 88 yards downfield for a game-tying drive with 25 seconds left in regulation — the sophomore quarterback threw an interception in the end zone in triple overtime to seal a Wildcats win.

Michigan State needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion on that possession to tie the game after Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Flynn Nagel on the first possession of the third overtime. Northwestern’s Cameron Green hauled in the two-point conversion.

In the third overtime, facing a first-and-10 and his own 25-yard line, Lewerke had the ball knocked loose and, after picking it up, heaved a pass one downfield into the end zone across his body. The pass ended up in the waiting arms of Northwestern’s Nate Hall.

Lewerke finished with a school-record 445 passing yards. He completed 39-of-57 passes with four touchdowns and one interception.

Thorson was 33-of-48 for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Northwestern running back Justin Jackson had 17 carries for 41 yards and one touchdown. Jackson reached 1,000 career carries during the game, only the fifth player in Big Ten history to accomplish that feat.

Michigan State dropped to 6-2 and 4-1 in the Big Ten as Northwestern improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Northwestern will take on Nebraska next week on the road and Michigan State heads home to Spartan Stadium to face No. 2 Penn State.

Penn State lost to No. 6 Ohio State 39-38 on Saturday.

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