"Pound, green, pound" has long been a mantra to represent Michigan State's physical approach to football in the run game and it has stuck around for a couple decades.
It's something the Spartans preached this week and it showed as they came out and ran for 238 yards in their 42-28 win against Indiana on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
"It's the lifeblood of our offense," offense coordinator Dave Warner said. "Any time you can run you have the ability to mix in the play action pass and create big plays and that was pretty evident (Saturday)," Warner said. "That's been our deal since we've been here is you have to be able to run the football. It makes my job easier because there are a lot of plays to choose from when the run game is working."
Junior Jeremy Langford, who led the way with a career-high four touchdowns, said the emphasis on "pound, green, pound" showed Saturday.
"We talked about playing hard and gaining yards, breaking tackles and making somebody miss," he said. "That's what we did in practice and that's what we did today."
Langford racked up 109 yards on 23 carries and had three rushing touchdowns. He also took an 11-yard screen pass in for a score.
His longest run was a 32-yard touchdown run -- the type of "home run" play MSU has been waiting to see from Langford, Warner said.
"It was important to me," Langford said, "but the win is more important to me. If we are winning and I'm not getting the long one, I'm happy with that, but I'm happy and excited that I got the long one (Saturday)."
Freshman Delton Williams chipped in 92 yards on just 12 carries in his second career game.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook played his second straight solid game in Big Ten play, going 22 of 31 for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think that he's growing, big learning curve, it always is for a young player," coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's got a good arm on himself. He's growing in confidence."
Cook was particularly effective on third down as he completed 10 of 10 passes for 147 yards and both touchdowns. Eight of the passes resulted in first downs.
"I thought he played well, he hit the big plays, he hit the plays on third down and long," Dantonio said. "It was a solid, winning performance by him."
Indiana broke out early with a 64-yard touchdown run by Tevin Coleman just 1:01 into the game.
"It's tough, in a game you play against a team like Indiana, it can turn like that," senior linebacker Max Bullough said. "You talk about Indiana going down the field on us, we get the two three-and-outs and it's just as hurtful to their team and their offense as them going down the field is to us. ... I think we did it enough times where we got them off the field fast enough and put ourselves in the best position to win."
The Spartans defense responded and held Indiana more than 180 yards under its season average as the Hoosiers had 351 total yards.
Michigan State tied the game on a drive that spanned the end of the first quarter and the start of the second and Langford finished the drive when he took a screen pass in from 11 yards out to knot it 7-7 with 13:34 left before halftime.
Bennie Fowler put MSU ahead when he took a short pass from Cook on third-and-6 and broke a pair of tackles for a 34-yard touchdown with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
The Spartans forced a punt on the ensuing Hoosier drive, but MacGarrett Kings fumbled the punt and IU recovered at the MSU 42.
MSU engineered a 14-play, 75-yard drive to retake the lead before half. Langford finished the 3:59 drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to put the Spartans up 21-14 with :37 in the half.
Tight end Josiah Price hauled in a 39-yard third-down pass shortly after the half and Langford ran for his second touchdown (third overall) for a 2-yard score and a 28-14 MSU lead.
Indiana responded quickly and took advantage of two MSU penalties to drive downfield and bring it to 28-21 with a 2-yard touchdown run by Shane Wynn with 7:47 to go in the third.
Langford again found the end zone for his fourth touchdown with 3:23 to go in the third. The junior scampered in from 32 yards out to give MSU a 35-21 lead.
A pair of freshman led to another touchdown MSU as Williams broke down the sideline for 37 yards to the Indiana 36. After a 2-yard run by Williams, R.J. Shelton took a jet sweep in from 34 yards to put MSU up 42-21.
Indiana scored with 2:17 to go on a 4-yard pass from Roberson to tight end Ted Bolser as the Hoosiers made it 42-28.