Indiana hung with No. 7 Michigan State for 35 minutes and 15 seconds, trailing by as few as two.
But college football is a 60-minute game, and the effort put forth in the remaining 25 minutes was not enough as the Spartans (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) pulled away and defeated the Hoosiers (4-4, 0-4) 52-26 Saturday in East Lansing.
Senior quarterback Connor Cook threw for a career-high 398 yards on 30-for-52 passing with four touchdowns. His third touchdown of the day - a 13-yard pass to junior tight end Josiah Price, extended Michigan State's lead to eight at 28-20 with 11:07 remaining in the third quarter.
IU responded with a 7-play, 72-yard drive lasting nearly 90 seconds which was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld to senior wide receiver Andre Booker. That touchdown was the third and final one of the game for Sudfeld, who also finished 23-of-37 passing with 308 yards and an interception.
Michigan State scored the final 24 points of the game to put it out of reach on a 21-yard field goal from Michael Geiger, a touchdown reception from junior R.J. and and pair of rushing touchdowns between Gerald Holmes and LJ Scott as Indiana did not score a single point the remainder of the third quarter or in the fourth.
As a result, Indiana managed only 11 plays on offense in the second half and 60 overall while Michigan State ran 96.
Jordan Howard returned for the Hoosiers in his first action since missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. He had 11 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in his return.
Shelton led all receivers with two touchdowns on six catches for 76 yards. Fellow Spartans receiver Aaron Burbridge added eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Overall, Michigan State outgained Indiana 540-389 in total yards of offense.
The Hoosiers, who can still attain minimum bowl eligiblity with two wins in their last four games, are on a bye next week before facing Iowa at home Nov. 7