DALLAS (FWAA) The Michigan State Spartans evened their record with a 27-24 win at rival Michigan behind a career-best day by quarterback Rocky Lombardi while its defense harassed the Wolverines throughout. For stymying Michigan yet again and bringing the Paul Bunyan Trophy back to East Lansing, the Spartans earned the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 31 as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
This is the eighth time for Michigan State (1-1) to earn the Team of the Week honor and first since 2015. All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected. This is the 19th season for the FWAA to award a Team of the Week.
The win gives Michigan State its third victory over Michigan in their last four meetings, five of the last seven and nine of the last 13 games. Mel Tucker joined former head coach Nick Saban as the only Spartan leaders to beat Michigan in their first meeting against their arch-rival.
It was a complete effort from all phases, as Lombardi threw for a career-high 323 yards, with 196 of those going to freshman wide receiver Ricky White. Lombardi tossed three touchdowns and has at least one touchdown toss in four of his five career starts. White's 196 yards is a new single-game school record for a freshman and came on eight catches after he snagged only one in MSU's opening loss against Rutgers.
Senior linebacker Antjuan Simmons tied his career high from the opener with another 11.0 tackles, six of them solo, to go with 0.5 TFL's and two pass break-ups, one of which came in the MSU end zone to stop a Michigan score. Matt Coghlin's career-best 51-yard field goal in the third quarter put the Spartans ahead to stay at 20-17 with 4:23 left in the third quarter. It was Coghlin's first make from 50-plus yards. Michigan scored in the final minute to draw within 27-24 but MSU recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
Michigan State travels to Iowa for an 11 a.m. CT game Saturday on ESPN.
The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 31 are:
Cincinnati (5-0): The No. 7 Bearcats won a 17th consecutive home game to extend the fourth-longest active win streak in the nation and snapped a five-game losing streak with a decisive 49-10 win over Memphis. Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes inside of a 21-of-26 passing night for a season-high 271 yards one week after rushing for 179 yards at SMU. The Bearcats defense held Memphis to five yards rushing, the third straight game for it to hold an opponent under 100 yards on the ground.
Texas (4-2): The Longhorns earned their first road win over the top-10 team since 2010 with a 41-34 overtime win at No. 6 Oklahoma State. Texas forced four turnovers and scored 21 points off those led by linebacker Joseph Ossai, whose third sack came on an OSU fourth down in overtime to seal the game among six TFL's. It was Texas' third overtime game of the season.
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson