Instead of a traditional game story, we'll do more of a game analysis at AllHoosiers.com. Here's the one at the halfway point of the season, Game 6, in Indiana's 42-28 loss Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD:Indiana's first offensive series significantly quieted a crowd of 73,815. After a nine-yard completion to Ted Bolser, an incomplete pass and a two-yard run by Tevin Coleman, Coleman found a big hole in Michigan State's vaunted defensive front and raced 64 yards for the touchdown. The Spartans led the nation coming in only allowing 50 yards per game on the ground. IU and Coleman eclipsed that in one play as the Hoosiers took a quick 7-0 lead. Beyond that the highlights were few. Duwyce Wilson made a spectacular catch over the middle late in the game and IU took advantage of a late turnover on an interception by Tim Bennett to get a late touchdown.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:Two things stand out. Tackling in general and getting off the field on third down. Indiana seemed to be in position to make plays throughout the game but continued to come up empty. IU's defense was in position at the point of attack but quickly Michigan State's speed would turn the play into a huge gain. It's not a positive statistic for Indiana when the top three tacklers were all defensive backs. Mark Murphy, Michael Hunter and Tim Hunter combined for 29 tackles. The third down conversion numbers for Michigan State was also a big key. The Spartans converted on 10-of-14 third down attempts. Not getting off the field in crucial situations defensively makes it difficult to win games, too. One other issue was a lack of cohesiveness between quarterback Nate Sudfeld and his receivers. Sudfeld admitted that he wasn't in sync with his receivers and that showed. Playing on the road in the Big Ten you can't afford to not be clicking offensively, especially against a good Michigan State defense.
MOMENTUM CHANGER: Indiana had climbed back into the game on a 2 yard touchdown run by Shane Wynn midway through the third quarter, trailing 28-21, and appeared to have Michigan State stopped on third-and-3 on the Spartans' next possession. But an incomplete pass near midfield to MacGarrett Kings Jr. was reviewed and overturned giving Michigan State new life. Three plays later the Spartans scored again and went up 35-21.
SUPERLATIVE EFFORTS:Tre Roberson did a noteworthy job coming in at quarterback to replace an ineffective Nate Sudfeld. Roberson threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-17 passing and also ran for 20 yards on five carries. Tevin Coleman had 79 yards rushing but 64 of that total was one play. Cody Latimer led IU with seven receptions for 58 yards. Ted Bolser had his 100th career catch and Duwyce Wilson went over 1,000 receiving yards for his career.
BEST POSITIONAL UNIT:It's hard to pick a unit on the defensive side of the ball but the secondary didn't give up any plays over its head and the top three tacklers came from the unit. Mark Murphy led IU with 11 tackles, which Michael Hunter and Tim Bennett had nine each. Bennett also had the lone defensive turnover with a fourth quarter interception.
SCORING MACHINE:Indiana has now scored at least 28 points in all six games this season but doing so against Michigan State was particularly impressive. The Spartans came into the game ranked No. 7 in the nation in scoring defense at 13.4 points per game. IU doubled that total. Michigan State also was the nation's best defense statistically allowing just 203.8 yards per game. IU, though well below its average, put up 351 yards of offense against the Spartans.
UP NEXT: Indiana will play travel to Michigan next Saturday night for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff in the Big House.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch