Perhaps the most telling aspect of Indiana’s upset of No. 17 Michigan State was that the Hoosiers weren’t really celebrating after leaving the locker room.
Sure, they enjoyed the immediate aftermath on the field with the fans after Griffin Oakes’ 20-yard field goal in overtime.
And yeah, they felt the win was important, in the context of what it meant for one week.
But neither sixth-year IU coach Kevin Wilson nor his players acted like the Hoosiers’ first win over a ranked Big Ten team since 2006 was some monumental accomplishment.
“I think we’re the only Big Ten team that’s beat a ranked SEC team on the road,” Wilson said, referring to IU’s 31-27 win at No. 18 Missouri in 2014.
He paused then added: “I don’t think our guys felt like they didn’t belong. It’s a pretty calm locker room.
“They were excited about winning. I just think they were elated at the end of the game that we played as hard as we could and made a couple plays at the end of the game to finish, and that’s all we talked about. Can we get to the end of the quarter and play hard and see if it’s good enough, and tonight it was.”
Indiana, which went to a bowl game last season, improved to 3-1 and got halfway to bowl eligibility on the first day of October with eight regular-season games still to play.
IU’s 24-21 overtime win over Michigan State Saturday night in Memorial Stadium was the Hoosiers’ first win over a ranked team since that win over Missouri and IU’s first over a ranked Big Ten team since beating No. 15 Iowa 31-28 on Oct. 14, 2006.
“This is a dream come true,” IU linebacker Jonathan Crawford said. “This is what you live for, what you dream about as a little kid.
“That’s exactly what you want playing a big school, a good team, a lot of fun.”
IU quarterback Richard Lagow, who had five interceptions in last weeks 33-28 loss to Wake Forest, came back with 276 yards passing, two touchdown throws, one touchdown catch and on interception.
“It doesn’t mean anything for us,” Lagow said of IU’s first win over a ranked Big Ten team in a decade. “This is a whole new team. It’s great for program history, but this is us. It’s a different year, different team.”
Oakes got redemption at the end after missing three times, including from 50 late in the first half, 40 midway through the fourth quarter and from 33 yards in overtime.
On his overtime miss, Michigan State was called for leaping, IU ran the ball down to the 3, and Oaks hit from 20 yards out to win the game and set off the on-field celebration.
After his kick, Oakes ran down the field, threw off his helmet, his hair flapping as he celebrated.
“Best kicker in the nation,” Lagow said. “I never lost any faith in him.”
In overtime, Michigan State had the ball first, but junior Patrick Dougherty and junior Nate Hoff had sacks on consecutive plays and Michael Geiger’s 49-yard field goal attempt landed at the back of the end zone.
Seven plays later, Oakes hit the game-winner giving IU the Old Brass Spittoon fir the first time since 2006 when it beat the Spartans 46-21 at home.
Indiana defensive tackle Ralph Green called the Spittoon "beautiful."
"We spit in it," Green said. "We spit in it big."
The win had some parallels to IU’s win over Iowa in 2006. The Hoosiers on Saturday night fell being 14-0, dug in defensively, mounted a comeback and got the upset over a ranked Big Ten team.
The Hoosiers had close calls last year.
They fell 34-27 to No. 1 Ohio State, were within two points entering the fourth quarter before falling 52-26 to No. 7 Michigan State, lost 35-27 to No. 10 Iowa and took No. 15 Michigan to overtime before falling 48-41.
“It is a huge win, but at the same time there is so much work to be done. We’ve been building towards this,” Dougherty said.
“Obviously we came really close last year. I think that helped us last year, but at the same time we just learned how to finish better. We were in the same situations a bunch of times last year and we just finished well this time.”
Indiana’s Devine Redding rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries, and 270-pound freshman Tyler Natee chipped in with 39 tough yards on 10 carries.
“It was our choice to come out and play hard and play physical,” Redding said. “It was a great game today. We came out wanting to run and we made it happen.”
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