Northwestern debuted at No. 8 on the initial rankings for the College Football Playoff, but it has not been an easy afternoon in East Lansing.

Mel Tucker and Michigan State surprisingly raced out to a 17-0 lead over the Wildcats. That run started with a 75-yard bomb from Rocky Lombardi to Jalen Nailor and was compounded by an uncharacteristically bad interception by quarterback Peyton Ramsey.

After that run, Northwestern responded with two field goals in the second quarter to make it 17-6, but that is all the Wildcats could manage in the first half. That means Pat Fitzgerald’s team will need to erase an 11-point halftime deficit if it wants to remain undefeated.

The big difference maker has been the rushing games of both teams. Northwestern has managed just 45 yards on the ground while averaging 2.6 yards per carry.

On the other side of the ball, Michigan State has controlled Northwestern’s defense. The Spartans have already rushed for 134 yards and 5.0 yards per carry heading into the break.