Michigan State has beaten Northwestern to win its third straight game, sending its season series to the Big Ten title game in Detroit.
The Spartans overcame a late rally and a late penalty to win 45-41 Saturday in the season opener at Ford Field.
Michigan State won the first meeting 41-38 in December.
The Spartans are 7-0 against Northwestern since joining the Big 12 in 2011.
The win moved the Spartans to 5-1 in the series.
The Wildcats are 2-3 against Michigan State in its 14 seasons of existence.
The Big Ten regular season title game will be played Dec. 2 in Columbus, Ohio.