Recap: Michigan State overcomes poor offensive showing, beats Indiana 20-15

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
Indiana's Chris Childers (36) is tackled by Michigan State's Ronald Williams (9) during the first half of Saturday's college football game in Bloomington, Ind.

Michigan State survived a brutal offensive showing in the first half to defeat Indiana, 20-15, and head into Michigan week with a perfect 7-0 record.

The Spartan defense stood tall to take a 7-0 lead on a first-half pick-6 and keep the Hoosiers at bay while Payton Thorne and Co. ironed out the wrinkles on offense after picking up just 57 total yards in the first half.

Final leaders


MSU - Payton Thorne: 14/26, 126 yds., TD, 2 INT

IU - Jack Tuttle: 28/52, 188 yds., 2 INT


MSU - Kenneth Walker: 23 atts., 84 yds.

IU - Stephen Carr: 19 atts., 53 yds., TD


MSU - Jayden Reed: 4 recs., 70 yds.

IU - Ty Fryfogle: 7 recs., 65 yds.

Second half

Michigan State ices game, heads into bye undefeated

It's first-and-10 at the Indiana 26 for the Spartans after the turnover on downs.

The Spartans lead by 5 with 2:03 to go. Indiana has just two timeouts.

Kenneth Walker rushes for 9 yards on first down. Walker finds the edge on the next play, gets down, and that'll likely do it for this one. Michigan State survives a scare heading into the bye.

FINAL: Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 

Michigan State gets big stop after trading turnovers

Indiana takes over at its own 6, trailing by 5, with 5:43 to go in the game.

Jack Tuttle completes passes of 2, then 7, to set up a 2-yard run by Stephen Carr that moves the chains.

Tuttle misses his next two passes, but takes off on third down to reach the Indiana 28 for a gain of 11 that will move the chains.

Tuttle's next two passes are also incomplete, and he's stripped on third down by Chester Kimbrough, who recovers at the Indiana 23.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (3:59 4th)

Kenneth Walker rushes for 3 yards on first down. Payton Thorne's pass to the end zone on second down is underthrown and into the hands of Indiana corner 

Hang on tight, folks. It's gonna be a fight to the finish.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (3:14 4th)

Now it's Indiana ball at its own 20.

The Hoosiers benefit from a personal foul, hands to the face, on Michigan State, to make it first-and-10 at the 37.

Jacub Panasiuk makes up for it with a sack of Tuttle that results in an 11-yard loss. Tuttle misses on second down and Jacob Slade hits Tuttle as he throws on the next play, forcing it incomplete. Fourth-and-21: Indiana is going for it. The pass is tipped into the air, but falls to the ground.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (2:03 4th)

Michigan State matches 3-and-out with chance to extend lead

Michigan State takes over at its own 42. It can put Indiana away with a touchdown to go up two scores, as the Spartans currently lead 20-15 with 7:42 to go.

Payton Thorne takes off on first down for a gain of 7. Kenneth Walker is dropped for a loss of 5 to set up third-and-8. Thorne can't escape the pressure on third down and is sacked for a loss of 4.

Bryce Baringer's punt is fielded with a fair catch at the Indiana 6.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (5:43 4th)

Indiana goes 3-and-out with time dwindling

Indiana will get it down 5 with 8:31 to go in the game.

The Hoosiers take over at the 25.

Jack Tuttle's pass on second-and-9 is broken up, and he's forced into a terrible throw on third down due to pressure from the Michigan State defense.

James Evans' punt goes out of bounds at the Michigan State 42.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (7:42 4th)

Michigan State extends lead to 5 points with field goal

Michigan State takes over at its own 9-yard-line after an illegal block on the kick return.

Payton Thorne's first-down pass is almost picked off. Kenneth Walker rushes for 2 on second down. Thorne goes to Jalen Nailor on third down, and this time they connect for an 11-yard gain.

Michigan State catches Indiana off-guard and Thorne snaps it with the Hoosiers still in the midst of subbing the defense. Walker rushes for 13 yards to the Michigan 35.

After the play, apparently, Connor Heyward is flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. He appeared to have shouted something at an injured Indiana player.

It's first-and-10 at the 20: Walker rushes for a yard, then Thorne takes off for a scramble of 12 yards to the Michigan State 33.

Michigan State runs its patented flea flicker, but for the first time this season, it doesn't end in a touchdown. The pass is a dangerous one into coverage, and broken up. Thorne throws one up for Jayden Reed down the sideline, and he brings it down for a pickup of 28 yards to the Indiana 36.

Walker rushes for 3 on first down and 5 on second down. The exchange on third down is fumbled, but recovered by a Spartan lineman.

That'll bring up a 49-yard field goal attempt from Matt Coghlin that splits the uprights clean. 

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 (8:31 4th)

Indiana punches it in after long drive, fails two-point attempt

Indiana takes over at the 25, trailing 17-9 after a touchback.

Jack Tuttle hauls in a 6-yard pass on first down. A pass interference penalty on the next play will give Indiana a first down at the Michigan State 46.

Members of the Michigan State Spartans defense celebrate with Cal Haladay (27) after Haladay returned an interception for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Indiana University on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

After a 5-yard run, Ty Fryfogle picks up 2 on a reception to bring up third-and-3 when the fourth quarter begins.

END 3RD: Michigan State 17, Indiana 9

Stephen Carr gets the exact yardage he needs to move the chains, bringing up first-and-10 at the 36.

Tuttle hits Miles Marshall for a 9-yard gain, and Davion Ervin-Poindexter rushes for 3 to move the chains again.

Tuttle can't complete his first-down pass to Chris Childers. His second-down throw to the end zone draws a pass interference penalty, setting up first-and-goal at the 9.

Tuttle's throw to the end zone is caught by Miles Marshall for a touchdown, but it will be overturned after review. He was out of bounds by a significant margin.

Indiana calls a timeout that looked like it was after the play clock hit zero, but it's awarded the timeout nonetheless.

Timeout #1 Indiana (13:37 4th)

Carr goes up the middle and is taken down just short of the goal line at the 1, which'll set up a huge third-and-inches.

Carr gets in on the next play, but Indiana fails to convert the two-point attempt. Michigan State leads by 2.

Michigan State 17, Indiana 15 (12:56 4th)

Michigan State forces turnover, Thorne takes over for Michigan State score

Indiana takes over at its own 27 after the interception, trailing 10-9 in the third quarter.

Stephen Carr rushes for 4, Jack Tuttle rushes for 1, and Chris Childers moves the chains with a 5-yard reception on third down.

Jacob Slade splits a double team, forces Tuttle into a terrible throw, and it's right into the arms of Michigan State's Darius Snow. He returns it to the Indiana 39, where it'll be Michigan State ball.

Michigan State 10, Indiana 9 (3:24 3rd)

Kenneth Walker rushes for 5 yards to the 34 on first down. The Spartans run a double reverse and Tyler Hunt throws a jumball to the sideline that's hauled in beautifully by Payton Thorne. What a catch by the Michigan State quarterback.

It's initially ruled that he's out of bounds, but Thorne got a foot in-bounds. It'll be overturned with review, resulting in a 15-yard gain to the Indiana 19. Wow.

After a first-down completion for no gain, Walker picks up 7 yards.

Thorne fires a strike to Hunt in the end zone for a 12-yard passing touchdown. Thorne is on a roll.

Michigan State 17, Indiana 9 (1:49 3rd)

Interception disrupts Michigan State's momentum

Michigan State takes over at its own 38, leading 10-9 with 6:31 to go in the third.

Payton Thorne nails the throw to Jayden Reed out of play-action for a 19-yard gain to the Indiana 43. 

Kenneth Walker rushes for 3, and after a second-down incompletion, Thorne's throw bounces off Tre Mosley's chest and into the hands of a diving Josh Sanguinetti. 

Michigan State 10, Indiana 9 (5:25 3rd)

Michigan State forces 3-and-out after taking lead

Indiana takes over at its own 25, trailing 10-9 with 7:54 to go in the first quarter.

Ty Fryfogle hauls in a 6-yrd pass, and after a 1-yard run by Stephen Carr, Ronald Williams makes a great play to break up the third-down throw.

Jayden Reed gets a few yards on the punt return to Michigan State's 38.

Michigan State 10, Indiana 9 (6:31 3rd)

Michigan State regains lead with field goal

Michigan State desperately needs a bounce-back half after picking up just 57 yards of offense through the first two quarters.

The Spartans take over at their own 20, trailing 9-7 in the third. Jayden Reed catches the first-down pass and gives Michigan State its biggest play of the afternoon, getting to the Michigan State 43 for a gain of 23.

After a 2-yard run by Connor Heyward, Indiana takes a pass-interference penalty that gives Michigan State first-and-10 at midfield.

Kenneth Walker rushes for 5, Jalen Nailor hauls in a pass for 4 yards, and Payton Thorne moves the sticks himself with a 2-yard run to the 39.

Thorne's first-down shot down the sideline is broken up. Nailor is blown up on a wide-receiver screen for a loss of 2. Thorne rushes for 7 on third down, and the Spartans will try a field goal.

Matt Coghlin makes the 51-yard try.

Michigan State 10, Indiana 9 (7:54 3rd)

Michigan State defense gets much-needed stop to open third quarter

Indiana will start from the 13-yard-line to open the third quarter. The Hoosiers lead, 9-7.

Stephen Carr rushes for 3, and Indiana comes up firing on the next play, a 19-yard completion to Ty Fryfogle to the Indiana 35.

After a second-down completion sets up third-and-5, Chester Kimbrough is flagged for pass interference. That'll give the Hoosiers a first down at the 45 of Michigan State.

Carr hauls in a 1-yard pass on first down, rushes for 2 on second down. Carr is knocked out of bounds after a gain of 3 to set up fourth-and-4.

The ensuing punt dies at the 5, but Indiana throws up all over itself and multiple players touch the ball, knocking it into the pylon for a touchback.

Indiana 9, Michigan State 7 (11:58 3rd)

First half

Michigan State definitely pictured a much better start to this one. The Spartans were horribly sluggish on offense in the first half, picking up just two first downs and moving the ball only 57 yards.

Linebacker Cal Haladay has the only points for Michigan State, as his pick-6 in the first quarter is the reason why the Spartans only trail Indiana 9-7 at halftime.

First half leaders


MSU - Payton Thorne: 4/10, 34 yds.

IU - Jack Tuttle: 15/24, 121 yds., INT


MSU - Kenneth Walker III: 10 atts., 22 yds.

IU - Davion Ervin-Poindexter: 3 atts., 37 yds.


MSU - Tre Mosley: 1 rec., 12 yds.

IU - Ty Fryfogle: 3 recs., 37 yds.

Both teams come up empty near end of first half

First-and-10, Indiana, at the 10.

Stephen Carr rushes for 6, then 2. Davion-Ervin Poindexter breaks free on third down for a big gain of 29 yards to the Indiana 47, and the Hoosiers are in business.

He gets it again on the next play, no gain. Jack Tuttle's throw to Miles Marshall is caught for 5 yards, as Carr is dragged down for a gain of only 1 on third down to bring up fourth-and-4. Indiana lines up to go for it, but calls timeout as the play clock expires.

Timeout #1 Indiana (1:34 2nd)

Indiana lines up to punt, then calls another timeout.

Timeout #2 Indiana (1:34 2nd)

Jayden Reed fields the punt with a fair catch at the 13.

Indiana 9, Michigan State 7 (1:28 2nd)

Kenneth Walker can't find the edge and is shoved out of bounds for a gain of only 1 on first down. Connor Heyward hauls in a 5-yard pass on second down, as a third-down throw down the sideline to Tre Mosley is tipped away by an Indiana defender.

Bryce Baringer's punt is fair caught at the Indiana 42.

Indiana 9, Michigan State 7 (0:25 2nd)

Jack Tuttle completes to Stephen Carr for 6, then hits Peyton Hendershot for a pickup of 5.

Timeout #3 Indiana (0:11 2nd)

Tuttle's throw down the sideline is just out of the reach of his receiver.

Timeout #1 Michigan State (0:06 2nd)

Tuttle throws quickly to a receiver, who gets out of bounds after a gain of 10 to give Charles Campbell a better chance at a field goal.

Timeout #2 Michigan State (0:03 2nd)

Timeout #3 Michigan State (0:03 2nd)

The 55-yard attempt has the leg, but it's wide-left to end the first half.

END 2ND: Indiana 9, Michigan State 7

Penalties, drops, hurt Michigan State again

Michigan State takes over at its own 25, and it needs to get its offense going in some way.

A false start will back the Spartans up. Kenneth Walker rushes for 2 yards. On second down, Kevin Jarvis is flagged for holding, so that'll make it second-and-18.

Payton Thorne's pass to Jalen Nailor is straight-up dropped. The third-down throw to Tre Mosley is caught, but only for a gain of 12.

Bryce Baringer's punt goes for 66 yards and out of bounds at the 10.

Indiana 9, Michigan State 7 (5:17 2nd)

Indiana regains lead, 9-7, with third field goal

Indiana takes over at its own 22, trailing 7-6 in the second quarter.

Chris Childers breaks free for 25 yards on first down to the Indiana 47.

Jack Tuttle runs for 9, and Childers picks up another yard to move the chains and set up first-and-10 at the 43 of Michigan State.

Childers rushes for 3 yards, and Jacub Panasiuk is flagged on the next play for roughing the passer. That personal foul will make it first-and-10 at the 25.

Tuttle's throw to the end zone on first down is incomplete. Stephen Carr comes up with a 6-yard reception, and Childers runs for 3. Indiana goes for it on fourth-and-1, and Carr moves the chains with a 3-yard run.

Donovan McCulley runs for 3, Tuttle comples a 3-yard pass on second down. He misses on third down, which'll force a field goal.

Charles Campbell's 25-yarder is good.

Indiana 9, Michigan State 7 (6:55 2nd)

Michigan State forced to punt as offensive woes continue

Michigan State will take over at its own 25, leading 7-6, early in the second quarter. The Spartans have struggled to get their offense going so far, moving the chains just once in the first quarter.

And they achieve that fairly quickly here to start the second, as Payton Thorne hits Jalen Nailor for 9 and Kenneth Walker rushes for a yard to move the chains.

Thorne tries a deep shot to Nailor on the next play, but it's underthrown and nearly intercepted. Harold Joiner is dropped after a 2-yard gain. Thorne's throw to Tre Mosley on third down is knocked away near the sideline.

Illegal formation erases a punt from Bryce Baringer that would have pinned Indiana inside its own 5. Ty Fryfogle fair catches the next punt at the 22.

Michigan State 7, Indiana 6 (12:28 2nd)

Indiana chips into Michigan State lead with another field goal

Indiana takes over at the Michigan State 43 after the shaky (maybe tipped) punt by Bryce Baringer.

Donaven McCulley rushes for 5, and Stephen Carr does the same to make it first-and-10 at the 33.

Carr is stuffed after a gain of 1, bringing the first quarter to a close.

END 1ST: Michigan State 7, Indiana 3 

Carr pushes ahead for 8. Quavaris Crouch makes a great play in coverage to hit the intended receiver and jar the pass loose, incomplete.

Charles Campbell puts home a 44-yard field goal.

Michigan State 7, Indiana 6 (14:21 2nd)

Michigan State forces 3-and-out, then goes 3-and-out, after pick-6

Indiana takes over at its own 25.

Jack Tuttle misses 2 out of 3, and the only completion goes for 3.

Indiana will punt.

Michigan State 7, Indiana 3 (3:37 1st)

Michigan State takes over at its own 21.

The Spartans are flagged for a false start before first down.

After a 1-yard run by Kenneth Walker, Payton Thorne is dropped for a loss of 11. Harold Joiner rushes for 10 yards on third-and-25, and now the Spartans will punt.

Bryce Baringer's punt is almost blocked, but winds up netting 27 yards.

Michigan State 7, Indiana 3 (1:48 1st)

Michigan State takes lead with pick-6

Indiana takes over at its own 24, leading 3-0 in the first quarter.

On third-and-long, Michigan State linebacker Cal Haladay jumps a route perfectly to pick off Jack Tuttle and take it to the house, giving Michigan State its first lead of the game.

Michigan State 7, Indiana 0 (4:33 1st)

Michigan State offense struggling to find groove

Michigan State takes over at the 25, and the drive doesn't start well.

Payton Thorne is hit as he throws and the pass lands in no-man's land, incomplete. Kenneth Walker rushes for 3 yards. Jayden Reed is open for a bomb from Thorne, who puts it on the money — but Reed just dropped it. 

Nevertheless, great awareness by Thorne, who realized that Indiana had 12 men on the field and just wanted to get a snap off. The play was free, and Michigan State will have it third-and-2.

Walker starts to get his feet going a little bit, making a man miss, steamrolling another, and getting to the 41 for a gain of 8.

Walker is stuffed for a gain of 1 on the next play. After another incompletion to Reed, Harold Joiner is upended short of the sticks on third down.

Bryce Baringer's punt goes out of bounds at the 24.

Indiana 3, Michigan State 0 (5:49 1st)

Hoosiers grab early lead at home

Michael Penix not in for Indiana, who takes over at its own 29 with Jack Tuttle in at quarterback.

Ty Fryfogle hauls in a short first-down pass, can't haul in a throw down the sideline after Indiana is flagged for false start. Him and Tuttle connect on third down for a gain of 16 to move the chains, bringing up first-and-10 at the Indiana 42.

Indiana gets to third-and-11, as Tuttle keeps the drive alive yet again with a 22-yard completion to Peyton Hendershot to the Michigan State 37.

Indiana is in business. A 6-yard completion, 11-yard completion and 14-yard completion puts Indiana at the Michigan State 6, first-and-goal.

Davion Ervin-Poindexter rushes for 3. Stephen Carr is stuffed for a yard. Noah Harvey the first of many Spartans to reach Tuttle and sack him for a loss of 4.

Indiana settles for a field goal.

Indiana 3, Michigan State 0 (8:02 1st)

Michigan State goes 3-and-out on opening drive

Jayden Reed pitches to Jalen Nailor on the kick return, but it doesn't benefit the Spartans much. He goes down around the 20.

Michigan State struggles to get anything going on its opening series, as Kenneth Walker is cracked on third down for a loss of 3 to force a 3-and-out.

Michigan State 0, Indiana 0 (13:03 1st)


While the Spartans are rolling with the Big Ten's third-ranked offense (36.7 points, 486.8 yards per game), the Hoosiers have struggled on the heels of a strong 2020 season, already surpassing last season's total losses by one, thanks in part to a rugged early schedule that includes losses to top-10 teams Iowa, Cincinnati and Penn State. 

Indian quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is banged up, and his status remains uncertain.

Michigan State at Indiana

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana

TV/radio: FS1/WJR

Line: Michigan State by 4½

Records: No. 10 Michigan State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten), Indiana (2-3, 0-2)