Kick in the gut: Field goal in OT sends MSU to defeat
Bloomington, Ind. — As mistakes piled up and penalties mounted, it was no surprise that the two-touchdown lead Michigan State had built through nearly three full quarters started to erode, as well.
That’s the position the Spartans found themselves in at Indiana on Saturday night, and after allowing 21 straight points, No. 17 Michigan State found itself trailing Indiana by a touchdown with less than five minutes to play.
The Spartans rallied and tied the game with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard pass from Tyler O’Connor to Josiah Price, but the sloppy play that dominated the night came back to haunt them in the overtime. After two straight sacks of O’Connor, Michael Geiger’s 49-yard field goal attempt missed badly.
Michigan State had its chances on defense in the overtime, but the penalties bit back. Drake Martinez was called for leaping over the pile on Griffin Oakes’ 33-yard field goal that sailed wide left. The Hoosiers got the ball back and four plays later Oakes kicked the winner from 20 yards out.
Final score: Indiana 24, Michigan State 21.
“This one is gonna sting,” O’Connor said afterward.
The fifth-year senior quarterback was 21-for-35 for 263 yards and three touchdowns, but he continued to be erratic at times, something that was compounded by dropped passes and 11 Michigan State penalties, several that essentially ended drives.
“Too many mistakes by us, too many penalties, too many plays we could have made that we didn’t make,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “They would have been great plays, some of them, but get a drive at the end of game to tie it up but (we were) not very good in overtime, that’s for sure. We take two sacks, then we jump over the pile — so very disappointed.
“What we have to do now is claw our way back into things just in terms of playing winning football.”
It’s the first time Michigan State has lost two straight since 2012 and the first time Dantonio has been 0-2 in Big Ten play since his first season in 2007.
On the flip side, it was Indiana’s first win over a ranked team in two years and its first over a ranked team at home since it beat Michigan State in 2006.
“All we talked about was playing hard,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. “Maybe at the end, we played hard enough.”
Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow, the top passer on the Big Ten, threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns for the Hoosiers (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) while also catching a touchdown pass. Senior receiver Ricky Jones finished with five catches for 124 yards for Indiana while junior Devine Redding ran 19 times for 100 yards for the Hoosiers.
“Proud of the team,” Wilson said. “That was a hard win. We had a thought process early in the week that we were just going to try everything we could to get it into the fourth quarter. Didn't know if we could, but that was an important part of our style in the first half. Defensively, we hung in there and we didn't try to take a lot of risks early, because last week we did, kind of burned us a little bit. So in the second half got a little more aggressive, didn't manage a few things well. But our kids played hard, it was a good win, proud of them.”
Michigan State looked to be in control after it opened up a 14-0 lead thanks to an 86-yard strike from O’Connor to R.J. Shelton in the first half. The Spartans then extended the lead to 14-0 in the third quarter when O’Connor found senior fullback Delton Williams on a broken play for a 24-yard touchdown pass with four minutes to play in the third quarter.
But that’s when the Indiana offense got rolling behind Lagow.
Following the Williams score for the Spartans, Lagow connected with Jones on a 57-yard pass. Six plays later, the Hoosiers found the end zone as senior receiver Mitchell Paige took a jet sweep handoff from Lagow then threw back to Lagow for a 5-yard touchdown to cut the Michigan State advantage to 14-7 with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Spartans had a chance to add to the lead and were deep in Indiana territory on the ensuing drive early in the fourth quarter, but on a fourth-down run from O’Connor that would have picked up a first down, Price was called for holding, forcing the Spartans to punt.
It proved to be a critical penalty as Indiana marched 90 yards in eight plays to tie the game, 14-14, with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard pass from Lagow to Jones. The key play on the drive was a 40-yard strike from Lagow to sophomore receiver Luke Timian that put the ball in MSU territory.
“You have to tip your hat to Indiana, they played a great game,” said Shelton, who had seven catches for 141 yards. “We shot ourselves in the foot over and over again on offense. … the penalties were huge.”
After Indiana tied the game, Michigan State went three-and-out and Indiana took over at its 30 with 6:22 to play. The Hoosiers struck quickly, getting 44 yards from Redding on first down then scoring four plays later on a 15-yard strike from Lagow to Paige to take a 21-14 lead with 4:38 to play.
The Spartans answered with one of their best drives of the game, capping a 13-play drive with a 2-yard pass from O’Connor to Price with 11 seconds to play and tie the game at 21.
“We had no doubt,” O’Connor said of the final drive. “Obviously it sucks to look up and see you’re down seven points with four minutes left. But they didn’t stop us. We converted on a lot of third downs and every time we were stopped I’m pretty sure it was a penalty or something silly. We had no doubt (on the last drive). We just had to play well and not hurt ourselves.”
Overtime went as bad as it could for Michigan State. After a 2-yard gain on first down, O’Connor was sacked twice and set up Geiger for a 49-yard field goal attempt that was never close.
“A very disappointing loss,” Dantonio said. “I thought our guys played hard but our games with Indiana have always been close and competitive. This time we didn’t win the fourth quarter and we needed that to win the football game.”