Revisiting the Biggest Comeback in College Football History

A brief look back at the remarkable 35-point comeback between Michigan State and Northwestern.

The biggest comeback in NCAA Division I history happened in 2006, when Michigan State rallied and scored 38 unanswered points to beat Northwestern 41–38.

Michigan State had fallen behind 38–3 with 9:54 left in the third quarter. The Spartans were down 38–17 at the end of the third quarter.

Quarterback Drew Stanton re-entered in the fourth, leading the team back. A blocked punt returned by Ashton Henderson for a touchdown in the fourth helped chip away at the lead. 

With the game tied in the fourth quarter, Brett Swenson hit a 28-yard field goal to win. 

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The two teams finished the year at 4–8 each. 

Most recently, UCLA pulled off the second-biggest comeback in FBS history when the Bruins came back from a 34-point deficit to beat Texas A&M 45–44 in 2017.

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