Scott and Holmes bury Hoosiers
On a day in which the MSU rushing attack couldn't get much going, the fourth quarter proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered, LJ Scott used two big fourth quarter rushes to put the Spartans up 45-26.
Scott's day now looks quite respectable; 11 rushes for 68 yards and a touchdown, and he has found the end zone for the fourth consecutive week.
When Kevin Cronin launched the ensuing kick off, Shane Jones forced a fumble and MSU was able to put their offense on the field to close out the game.
Or so they thought. Gerald Holmes then took a hand off 22 yards to the house, and capped off the day offensively for MSU, giving the Spartans a 52-26 lead.
The No. 7 Spartans will now move to 8-0, including 4-0 in Big Ten play, as they now look to their bye week on Oct. 31, and prepare for their next game, Nov. 7 in Lincoln, Neb. against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Cook has career day, Spartans lead 38-26
Connor Cook has passed for four touchdowns and 398 yards — both of which are career highs — as the Spartans lead the Hoosiers 38-26 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the game.
Cook has been nothing short of spectacular, as he has found six separate receivers on multiple occasions, including another 100+ yard effort from Aaron Burbridge (128 yards).
However, RJ Shelton is the man who has had the standout day of his career, finding the end zone on multiple occasions for the first time all season. In addition, Shelton took the opening kick of the second half for 58 yards, and has 10 yards rushing.
The MSU defense — who has come up with back to back stops — is just one stop away from icing this game.
Spartans extend lead, 31-26
The Spartans have moved the ball methodically all day long. That drive might have been their slowest paced yet. MSU just used a 15-play, 73-yard drive to bleed 6:44 off the clock, but was unable to punch the ball in the end zone.
The Spartans have 394 total yards on the day and Connor Cook has now accounted for 354 of those. That is 89.8 percent of the total yards.
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Hoosiers will start with the ball on their own 25 yard line, needing a touchdown to regain the lead.
Hoosiers miss field goal
The Spartans aren't the only team having special teams woes. Indiana kicker, Griffin Oakes, has left five Hoosier points on the board after missing two extra points, and most recently, a 42-yard field goal.
The Hoosiers began with the ball in Spartan territory, but a stop on third-and-5 by the Spartan defense brought out the Hoosier field goal unit.
The kick went wide right, and the Spartans regained control of the ball, maintaining a 28-26 lead.
Hoosiers respond, trail Spartans, 28-26
This time it took 1:22 for the Hoosiers to find the end zone. Nate Sudfeld — who has had arguably as good a day as Connor Cook, baring his first pass interception — marched Indiana down the field on a 7-play 75-yard drive to cut the MSU lead down to two, 28-26.
The pass was Sudfeld's 48th of his career, tying an Indiana school record. Sudfeld picked on Demetrius Cox for the majority of the drive — much like he has done all day — and picked up a big 35 yard pass play down the right sideline, setting the Hoosiers up on first and goal.
Andre Booker is the man who punched it in on a 3-yard screen pass, thanks to a missed tackle by Jon Reschke.
The extra points may end up being the difference in this one however, as the Hoosiers have now missed two on the day.
MSU benefits from short field, Cook throws third touchdown of the day
RJ Shelton returned the opening kick of the second half 58 yards, which set up a short field for MSU, leading to Connor Cook's third passing touchdown on the day.
A pass interference call on fourth-and-6 kept the drive alive for the Spartans, and it took MSU 11 plays to move the 42 yards, as Josiah Price caught his first touchdown pass since the fourth game of the year against Central Michigan.
LJ Scott was the running back who opened the second half for MSU, as they have tended to have him on the field in the second half this season when needing points.
Spartans lead, 21-20, at the half
It appeared as though MSU was going to put more points on the board before the half, but a bobbled snap as MSU lined up for a field goal didn't allow Michael Geiger to even get off an attempt.
Michigan State managed 291 yards of offense in the first half, to Indiana's 259 yards, and cling to a one-point, 21-20, lead.
Through the air MSU has been solid. 19-30 and 260 yards, the Spartans have had their way in the first half, even with Benny McGowan replacing back up center Brian Allen. Both RJ Shelton and Macgarrett Kings Jr. made five first-half catches, for a total of 115 yards, and Aaron Burbridge added four receptions and 69 yards of his own.
However, MSU couldn't get anything going on the ground against the countries 71st ranked rushing defense.
The stats read, 19 rushes for a total of 31 yards, from seven different ball carriers. While one of those was a negative one yard rush by holder Matt Macksood, the Spartan running backs —Holmes, Williams and Scott — have combined for just nine yards on ten rushes.
MSU will receive the ball to begin the second half.
Hoosiers answer right back
It took all of 25 seconds of game time, and about three minutes of live time, before the Hoosiers responded to the Spartans latest touchdown.
Nate Sudfeld found Sophomore Simmie Cobbs on a 37-yard pass down the seam of the Michigan State defense, and this time the Oakes extra point was good, which trimmed the MSU lead to 21-20.
However, at this rate, one might expect to see MSU score before the half runs out. There have been more than 500 yards of offense in the first half.
Cook takes shot, leads Spartans down field to take 21-13 lead
Connor Cook seemed to take offense when he was drilled on a 5-yard pass to Paul Lang on third-and-2 that kept the drive alive for the Spartans. After sitting out one mandatory play, Cook came back in the game and lead a 13-play, 75-yard drive, capped off on an 11-yard touch pass that fell into Aaron Burbridge's bread basket, giving the Spartans a 21-13 lead.
While the Hoosiers come into the game with just the 13th ranked pass defense in the Big Ten — so one might expect MSU to have success through the air — they also entered play with the 12th ranked rushing defense, and MSU has gotten nothing done in that regard.
Connor Cook has done it all, demonstrating his arm strength, his touch pass ability, and even going mobile at times. The Spartan quarterback has 21 of MSU's 32 rushing yards in the first half, and 223 of 234 total yards, thanks to a 15-23 effort for 202 and two scores through the air in the first half.
Hoosiers march down the field, trail Spartans 14-13
One big rush by Jordan Howard and back-to-back personal foul penalties against the Spartans were enough for the Hoosiers to march 94 yards in five plays, but missed the extra point, to trim the MSU lead to 14-13.
It appeared as if MSU had intercepted the second play of the drive, but the ruling on the field was a completed pass, and Indiana snapped the next play before MSU challenged the ruling on the field.
Then, after what appeared the be a sack by Joel Heath, MSU's Demetrius Cooper was flagged for illegal hands to the face, and a third-and-22 turned into a first down for the Hoosiers. On the ensuing play, the Hoosiers completed a swing pass that Colquhoun blew up at the line of scrimmage, but he aggressively slammed the Ricky Jones to the ground, resulting in an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Ricky Jones caught 13-yard screen pass on the next play that made it to the end zone, but Griffin Oakes missed the extra point, and the game remained 14-13.
MSU leads Hoosiers at beginning of 2nd quarter, 14-7
Connor Cook lead the Spartans down the field for the second time in as many drives, and Delton Williams capped off the 9-play 64-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, with a Michael Geiger extra point to give the Spartans a 14-7 lead.
Cook has been sharp thus far, completing six of his nine pass attempts for 120 yards and a score in the first 15:04 of play.
MSU was able to stop the Hoosiers on their last drive, although much of that — if not all of that — could be attributed to the tsunami that occurred for all of five minutes in the first quarter. So far Michigan State has played Grayson Miller, Matt Morrissey and Mark Meyers at safety so far, without an appearance from former starter Montae Nicholson.
At running back, both Gerald Holmes and Delton Williams have seen time, but LJ Scott, who has six rushing touchdowns in the past three weeks has yet to see the field.
Shelton takes Spartans down the field, game tied, 7-7
The rain is beginning to pour at Spartan Stadium, but that didn't slow down the Spartans offense on their second drive. It was the big plays that moved the Spartans against the Hoosiers, with pass completions of 18 and 22 yards to RJ Shelton, and a 31-yard pass to Burbridge were enough to march the Spartans down field.
MSU has yet to get the running game going however, as they have five rushes for negative 13 yards.
There was rain was monsoon-esque on the Hoosiers ensuing drive, but as soon as the Spartans forced a fourth down, the rain immediately stopped. Game is knotted, 7-7, with 4:01 remaining in the first half.
Hoosiers lead Spartans 7-0
The Indiana Hoosiers offense matches up well against a Michigan State defense that doesn't stop the pass very well. They showed it on their second drive of the game, marching 80 yards on 10 plays in 4:10 which was capped off by a Jordan Howard 5-yard touchdown rush.
Nate Sudfeld, who was intercepted on the game's opening play, was perfect on his last drive, going 5-5 for 67 yards through the air.
5-foot-7 junior receiver Mitchell Paige was the go-to-guy for Sudfeld on the drive, catching three passes for 46 yards.
Grayson Miller intercepts opening play
The man who forced the fumble on Michigan's punter Blake O'Neill didn't take long to make his presence felt against Indiana. True freshman Grayson Miller was in the right place at the right time as Nate Sudfeld's first pass attempt of the day was deflected by Demetrius Cox and Miller snagged it with his fingertips before the ball hit the ground.
This is Miller's first start on defense at Spartan Stadium, just a week after making his first career start.
However on the Spartans ensuing drive, Connor Cook and the offense went three-and-out, forcing a Jake Hartbarger punt.
Hartbarger ended up sending the punt into the endzone, a 46-yard punt that only netted 26 yards.
Spartans set to take on Hoosiers
The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans (7-0, 3-0) are back at Spartan Stadium for the first time in three weeks to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (4-3, 0-3).
The Hoosiers got off to a hot start, running through the nonconference season undefeated for the first time since 1990. However, Indiana has yet to find a win in the conference, losing their first three contests in Big Ten play. MSU, on the other hand, hasn't lost since Nov. 8, 2014, against Ohio State, and is coming off of an emotional high that is still hard to fully grasp a full week removed from the 27-23 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.
MSU will be tested in the secondary more than in recent weeks, as the Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in total offense (478.9 yards per game), passing (284.0 yards per game), and third in points (34.1 per game). However, as prolific as their offense is, that is how porous their defense is. Indiana ranks 12th in rushing defense (170.0 yards per game) and 13th in passing defense (334.1 yards per game) which gives one reason to believe that Connor Cook will have a big day.
Gerald Holmes will get the start at running back for Michigan State, as Madre London is not dressed for the contest. Jack Allen and Darian Hicks are not on the dress list as well.