On its way to a 6-6 regular season in 2012, Michigan State found itself on the short end of the stick in a bunch of close games.
In losing five conference games by a total of 13 points, the Spartans relate to what Northwestern has dealt with in 2013.
Coach Mark Dantonio said he sees a lot of similarities between the 2012 Spartans and 2013 Wildcats.
"They've had some injuries that they've enduring," he said. "They've had some very close games, overtime games, lost on the last play of the game. So tough things to deal with."
The Wildcats are 0-6 in conference play and have lost on a tipped Hail Mary against Nebraska and a dramatic late field goal against Michigan pushed the game to overtime, where the Wolverines won in three overtimes.
"The thing you continue to be impressed with about Northwestern is they're resilient, which I thought we did the same thing last year," Dantonio asid. "They come to play every week. They're prepared. They're emotional. They're positive. Coaches are positive. They have an opportunity to win every football game."
Senior linebacker Max Bullough said he relates to the tough losses Northwestern has dealt with, but also knows it's a team playing with a lot on the line needing two wins in its final two games to get bowl eligible.
"I look at Northwestern and I think they've lost a lot of unfortunate games, similar to what we did last year," he said. "I know how good Northwestern is whether they're 0-6 or 6-0. … Northwestern is playing to get in a bowl game, but we're playing for some things, too."