It looked like the Spartans had folded their tents after the Wildcats - who came into the game averaging just 8.7 points per game - took an astounding 38-3 lead with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter, but instead, MSU fought back and in the process may have found some playmakers.
How about Kendell Davis-Clark's touchdown saving tackle on Tyrell Sutton as he broke through the MSU secondary and appeared ready to salt the game away? Instead, Clark's play set the stage for another great play.
That turned out to be Kaleb Thornhill's touchdown saving interception over Sutton, just two plays later. That kept Northwestern from expanding its lead, something that turned out to be absolutely critical because even an extra three points might have put the game out of reach for State.
What about Drew Stanton coming back from a huge hit by Northwestern defensive end Corey Wooten, shaking off a badly bruised shoulder and with reckless abandon, running for a first down and then again for a five-yard a touchdown to pull MSU closer?
What about Devin Thomas' pivotal punt block that was returned for a touchdown? And how about Key baiting Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher into the game losing interception? And don't forget the pressure on young kicker Brett Swenson who calmly stepped up and knocked it straight through the uprights.
Those are the kinds of plays that build confidence, not just in the playmaker, but also in your belief that your teammates can make plays as well.
The critics will say MSU had no business being down 38-3 to a bad Northwestern team - the same team that loss to Division I-AA New Hampshire and nearly loss to Eastern Michigan and they are right.
But none of that negates that fact that MSU made plays in this game, more plays than they've made most of the season.
The Spartans (4-4) now have a little momentum and even more important, a belief that their teammates will not hang their hats when they're down, but will fight 'til the end.
They also have renewed their belief in Drew Stanton as the team leader. It was more than a little unsettling to hear that the team had grown tired of Stanton and actually sparked up when Brian Hoyer entered in mop up and injury duty in two games.
Now, after Stanton's gritty performance, albeit against Northwestern, the team seems to be behind him again.
This all bodes well for MSU as they travel to an underrated Indiana squad that knocked off previously #13 Iowa two weeks ago. Indiana may be down after hanging tough for a half, then getting drilled by #1 Ohio State.
MSU needs to win three of it's final four to save John L. Smith's job and maybe Stanton's reputation as one of the top signal callers in college football.
The prospects for both look a little bit brighter after Saturday's amazing performance performance.