Griffin Oakes booted a winning field goal from 20 yards away in overtime to give Indiana a 24-21 victory over the No. 17 Michigan State Spartans Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
How it Happened
Michigan State (2-2, 0-2) received the kickoff and immediately embarked on a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes and culminated in a 40-yard field goal attempt. Indiana's Nate Hoff appeared to get a hand on the kick at the line, however, and IU turned the Spartans away with no points as the kick fell well short of the mark.
Indiana (3-1, 1-0) couldn't move the ball on its first possession but it pinned the Spartans on their own 11 and seemed to have the momentum when linebacker Marcus Oliver forced a fumble on first down. The ball bounced out of bounds, though, allowing MSU to retain possession and on the very next play Spartan receiver R.J. Shelton beat corner Rashard Fant on a deep pattern down the sideline. Quarterback Tyler O'Connor hit him in stride and Shelton outraced Fant to the pylon for an 86-yard TD and a 7-0 Michigan State lead with 4:39 left in the first quarter.
The score remained that way through the end of the first quarter and into the second. Michigan State began moving the ball near the midway point of the quarter and ended up facing a 3rd-and-5 on the IU 40. On that play, the snap went over O'Connor's head in the shotgun and Indiana recovered, taking over on its own 47. The Hoosiers looked to take advantage of the miscue and advanced the ball into MSU territory. On 2nd-and-1 from the 28, Lagow dropped back and found wideout Mitchell Paige wide open down the left sideline and threw in that direction but the ball was overthrown and the Spartans' Vayante Copeland intercepted it in the end zone to give the ball right back to MSU.
The Spartans were again unable to move the ball after IU's turnover, though, and Indiana took over near the end of the half with time for one more drive. The Hoosiers mounted their best drive of the half, with the aid of a kick-catching interference penalty as Paige tried to field the MSU punt that let IU start the drive at its own 44. An 11-yard run from big Tyler Natee moved the ball into Michigan State territory and several plays later Oakes had a 50-yard field goal attempt to narrow the score. The kick had enough distance but was wide right and the teams went into the locker room after a defensive struggle in the first half and a 7-0 MSU advantage.
The Hoosiers took the ball to open the second half and immediately began marching down the field. A 22-yard pass from Lagow to receiver Nick Westbrook moved the ball into Spartan territory and on 3rd-and-9 from the MSU 25 Lagow completed a deep out route to Paige for 19 yards and an IU first down inside the 10. The next three plays gained just three yards, however, and on 4th-and-goal from the 3, Indiana went for the touchdown and direct-snapped the ball to Natee in the backfield. The running back rolled out and threw into the end zone but intended receiver Ian Thomas wasn't looking and another scoring chance went by the board for IU.
Indiana's defense stood tall after the turnover, though, forcing MSU to punt out of its own endzone. The punt was a good one, too good in fact as it out-kicked the Spartan coverage. The long punt gave Paige room to work on the return and he took advantage, sprinting down the right side for a 31-yard return to the Spartan 31. The offense wasn't able to move the ball but Oakes was still set up to get Indiana on the board with a 40-yard attempt. For a second straight time, though, Oakes missed, this time wide left and Indiana was turned away without points again, despite getting into MSU territory for a fifth consecutive drive.
This time Michigan State took advantage of Indiana's inability to put points on the board. The Spartans moved down the field with ease for the first time all night, eventually setting up a first down at the IU 24. On that snap, an odd play unfolded as Shelton came across the field in motion and the snap almost hit him before O'Connor rolled out to his right. The broken start to the play seemed to throw off Indiana's defense as multiple receivers ended up far behind the IU secondary. O'Connor hit wideout Delton Williams in the endzone for an easy score. The extra point made it 14-0 MSU with four minutes left in the third quarter..
With its back against the wall, Indiana's offense responded on the ensuing possession. On the opening play of the drive, Lagow hooked up with Ricky Jones Jr. on a crossing route over the middle and Jones Jr. outraced everyone downfield with the help of a massive block from Westbrook for a 57-yard gain to the Spartan 18. Five straight runs for tailback Devonte Williams advanced the ball to the 5-yard line for a 3rd-and-goal and on that play Lagow handed off to Paige on what looked like a jet sweep to the right. Instead of continuing to run, though, Paige stopped short and looked back to the left where Lagow had leaked out into the flat. The wideout lofted the ball into the endzone and his quarterback ran under it for Indiana's first score of the night. The third quarter ended with Indiana behind just 14-7.
Michigan State opened the final stanza with the ball but Indiana's defense held and Lagow and Co. took over at their own 10 with 11:26 to go. Indiana immediately got the ball moving as Lagow launched a deep pass down the right side in the direction of wideout Luke Timian. With a corner blanketed all over him, Timian pulled the ball down one-handed and held on for a 40-yard gain to the Spartan 35. Four plays later, Lagow faked a handoff and dropped back, eventually finding Jones Jr. wide open on a wheel route and hitting him with a perfect pass down the left side for a 22-yard touchdown. Oakes booted the PAT through to tie the score at 14 with 8:23 left and send the larger-than-usual Memorial Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
The suddenly swarming Indiana defense stone-walled Michigan State into a three-and-out on the next drive and the offense took over with under seven minutes to play. On the very first play of IU's possession, running back Devine Redding, who had been quiet for much of the night, burst through a huge hole on the right side and leap-frogged a tackler en route to a 36-yard gain. Redding fumbled at the end of the run but Westbrook alertly pounced on it at the MSU 26 to let IU retain possession.
Just four plays after Redding's big run, the Hoosiers ran a nearly identical play to the one that led to Jones Jr.'s touchdown and the result was exactly the same. This time Lagow's throw was complete to Paige for a 15-yard score, giving Indiana its first lead. The IU QB took a huge hit after he let the ball go, leading to a targeting penalty against Michigan State and causing Lagow to limp off. Oakes' extra point made it 21-14 with 4:38 remaining.
With the game on the line, Michigan State took over and started methodically punching its way downfield as rain fell over the stadium. An 18-yard run for Shelton moved the ball into IU territory and from there it became the Gerald Holmes Show for the Spartans. The running back carried six straight plays for a total of 27 yards. The fifth of those was originally ruled a touchdown but on review it was determined he was inches short. On the sixth of Holmes' consecutive carries, he was stopped for a loss of one, leaving MSU with a massive 4th-and-goal from the Indiana 2 with under a minute to go. Indiana had a chance to close the door on that play but O'Connor dropped back and used play-action to freeze the IU defense and found tight end Josiah Price for an easy pitch-and-catch touchdown to knot the score at 21 and send the game to overtime.
The Spartans got the ball to start the overtime but Indiana's defense made sure they got nowhere, sacking O'Connor on two consecutive plays on second and third down and forcing MSU into a 49-yard field goal attempt. The kick was wide left, giving Indiana a chance to win the game with any score.
The Hoosiers played for a field goal, running the ball three straight times to set up a 33-yard attempt for Oakes. He missed the kick wide left but the attempt was negated when a Michigan State player was called for a leaping penalty, giving Indiana a first down at the MSU 8-yard line.
Indiana continued to pound the ball on the ground, bullying its way down to the 3-yard line and giving Oakes another chance at the game winner. The kick was partially blocked but it split the uprights to give the Hoosiers the huge win.
Player of the Game-Ricky Jones Jr.
Jones Jr. had his second consecutive 100-yard performance, hauling in five passes for 124 yards and his first touchdown of the season. He also caught the pass that set up IU's first TD. It was the fifth career 100-yard performance for the senior wideout from Sarasota, Florida.
This is Indiana's first victory against Michigan State since 2006 and just 16th in 63 all-time games, allowing the Hoosiers to recapture the Old Brass Spittoon...The coin flip before the game included a tribute coin in memory of late punters Mike Sadler of MSU and Sam Foltz of Nebraska, who were killed in a car crash July 23...It was the first win over a ranked opponent for Indiana since its 31-27 triumph over No. 18 Missouri in 2014 and its first such win in the Big Ten since a win over Iowa in 2006...Lagow entered the game leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game with 334 and threw for 276 against MSU...Similarly, Westbrook came in leading the conference in receiving yards per game with 110.7 and was second in touchdowns at four; he had three catches for 38 yards this night...Indiana All-American OL Dan Feeney missed a second straight game with a concussion while Michigan State was without starting linebackers Riley Bullough and Jon Reschke...The teams combined for a whopping 18 penalties, including 11 for 98 yards against MSU...The Spartans scored 52 points against IU a season ago; linebacker Tegray Scales led the IU defense tonight with 14 tackles, including 1.5 for loss
The Hoosiers are back in action next Saturday for a showdown against No. 2 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The game will kick at 3:30 p.m. EST with the broadcast to be determined. The Buckeyes are coming off a 58-0 pasting of Rutgers this week, the fifth shutout victory of 50-plus points in Urban Meyer's OSU coaching tenure.
Video, game-winning play: