Northwestern students tore down the goalposts today, a testimony to the frustration they felt after the Wildcats absorbed a major college record 29th consecutive defeat, a 61-14 loss to Michigan State.
"I don't feel very good right now. We were outmatched the entire game," said Dennis Green, the first-year Wildcat coach.
"There are three parts to the game of football," Green continued. "Emotional: I thought we were ready despite all the distractions and the national coverage. Mental: it's hard to be perfect and there were a few letdowns. And physical: they were just stronger than us."
Michigan State quarterback Brian Clark, who played less than a half, threw two of his three touchdown passes in the first quarter, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Northwestern had shared the NCAA Division I record of 28 consecutive losses with Kansas State and Virginia. The Wildcats' last win was in the second game of the 1979 season, when they defeated Wyoming, 27-22. It was their 33rd straight Big Ten defeat and their ninth loss this season. Michigan State improved to 3-4 in the Big Ten and 4-5 overall.
Macalester College of St. Paul, Minn., a Division III school, set the all-time collegiate record by losing 50 straight games from 1974 to 1980.
It had been quite a week at Northwestern. Cheerleaders went to Chicago for pep rallies, disbursing thousands of buttons. The media blitzed Evanston. When Green appeared from his 6 a.m. racquetball game, he found a memo listing 14 interviews scheduled for the football office.
But it was the same old story on the field today. It was 41-0 at halftime as Michigan State scored three touchdowns in the opening 10 1/2 minutes and converted each of its seven first-half possessions into scores.
Clark, who gave way to Rick Kolb late in the second quarter, completed 11 of 15 passes for 118 yards. Kolb completed six of 12 passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, a 10-yarder to Kimichik and a 31-yarder to Aaron Roberts.
The outspoken Green said earlier in the week that he could see this season's problems because many players ignored him when he told them nine months ago what they would have to do to win.
"I guess you have to learn things the hard way," he said. "I was appalled at the strength and size of the team when I came in and looked at films before I took the job. The first thing I did was to hire a strength and conditioning coach. Now, I know you can't build up guys in a few months, but too many didn't gain like they should have."