EditorsNote: adds “Logan” to last graf
Indiana was looking for a signature win Saturday night. Michigan State was looking to get back on track.
It was the 24th-ranked Spartans who met their goal in the Big Ten opener for both teams, as Michigan State did just enough to knock off the Hoosiers 35-21 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
The Spartans (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten) last played two weeks ago, a deflating three-point loss to Arizona State when they watched a 10-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter.
A similar scenario almost played out against the Hoosiers, but after a late field goal cut the Spartans’ lead to seven, freshman wide receiver Jalen Nailor took a jet sweep 75 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach with 3:17 to play.
It was Nailor’s second touchdown of the night as he had a 16-yard grab to open the scoring in the first half. Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke added an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt Dotson while kicker Matt Coghlin scored on a 6-yard run off a fake in the third quarter.
Cornerback Shakur Brown had Michigan State’s other touchdown, a 69-yard interception return in the first quarter.
Indiana (3-1, 0-1) was forced to move the ball almost exclusively through the air as Michigan State’s run defense was suffocating. Peyton Ramsey was intercepted twice but threw for 272 yards with two touchdowns, one to running back Stevie Scott in the first half then a 65-yarder to Whop Philyor in the fourth quarter.
Philyor had 13 catches for 148 yards for the Hoosiers.
Michigan State opened the scoring with Nailor’s first career touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, defensive end Kenny Willekes put pressure on Ramsey, whose pass went off the fingertips of Scott and landed in the hands of Brown. The redshirt freshman converted it to give MSU the 14-0 lead with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
Michigan State extended its lead late in the third quarter thanks to some trickery. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the Indiana 6, the Spartans lined up for a short field goal. But Lewerke, the holder, took the snap and ran the option, pitching to Coghlin for the 6-yard touchdown.
The play gave Michigan State a 28-7 lead with 4:47 to play in the third quarter.
Indiana kept the pressure on, however, converting a fourth down deep in its own end then getting a 65-yard touchdown pass from Ramsey to Philyor. The two-point conversion pass trimmed Michigan State’s lead to 28-18 with 8:19 to play. Logan Justus added a 36-yard field goal with 3:28 to play to make it 28-21 in favor of Michigan State.
—Field Level Media