Indiana scored an all-important win Friday night in Bloomginton, Ind., beating Michigan State 30-19. The Spartans led 19-14 at halftime, but the Hoosiers picked up both their defense and offense to finish the game on a 16-0 run.
Indiana dotted down an unconverted try to open the contest, and spent a chunk of time threatening to go up two scores, but the Spartans were resilient on defense, and once they stole momentum, they it owned it most of the rest of the half.
“They have a great center,” said Indiana coach Marcus Hurley of MSU’s Scott Peterson. “Very good crasher, and he gained a lot of ground each time he touched the ball, and he was able to help them get into our half of the field and on the board.”
Michigan State converted that score and another to take the lead at 14-7.
“At that point momentum was on their side and they were back in our end of the field and knocking at the door, and they spent a lot of time there towards the end of the second half, and it was kind of like, ‘Are they going to go up three scores?’,” said Hurley.
“We were able to hold them off for three to five minutes at a time deep in our end of the field. We got a little bit of a relief from our tactical kicking game and tied it up 14-14.”
The Spartans sneaked one more in before the half for the 19-14 lead. In the second half, sophomore Hoosier flyhalf Lewis Shaw continued to use his foot to put pressure on Michigan State and control territory, and Indiana’s defense responded with sound tackling.
“We finally kind of turned it on. We had a much better second half,” said Hurley. “Michigan State is the kind of team you have to play defense 60-80 solid minutes, and we did that...I think fitness played a factor, too.”
The win pushes Indiana to 3-1 and the top of the Big Ten Universities East standings, all but securing a spot in the BTU spring playoffs. The loss drops Michigan State to 2-1-1. Indiana's last BTU regular season game is Oct. 27 at home against Ohio State. Michigan State's is the same day at rival Michigan, who the Spartans beat 36-17 in week one.