Spartans "take the air out of the ball"

MSU dominates time of possession in win against Indiana, part of the plan against a potent Hoosiers offense.

It was no secret going into Michigan State's game against Indiana that the Hoosiers like to move the ball and move it quickly.

If anyone didn't know it, they found out when IU scored just a minute into Saturday's 42-28 MSU win.

Naturally, the MSU coaches sought to control the pace of the game to its advantage.

"Offensively, we felt like we had to control the tempo of the game and had to definitely win the field position and had to take the air out of the ball some, which I felt like we did," coach Mark Dantonio said.

The Spartans did just that as they had the ball for 37:28 to Indiana's 22:32.

Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said the ability of the MSU offense to sustain long drives was huge for the defense.

"We're up in the press box just saying `tic toc', `tic toc', just let that clock run," he said. "Our offense did a great job of controlling the ball. I don't look at stats too much but the one stat I did look at was 18 minutes in time of possession in that first half which was huge and that's a tribute to our offensive staff and our offensive players."

Indiana entered the game with the ninth most yards per game in the nation, but the fifth-lowest time of possession.

MSU's defense held Indiana to 351 yards – about 180 below its season average.

With a season-high in yards against an FBS team and four touchdowns drives of at least eight plays -- and two of 14 or more -- MSU really managed to dictate the game and keep IU off the field.

"It's always important to try and keep their offense off the field," offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. "(Saturday) was especially important because you could see they strike very quickly. We talked about that but in reality it doesn't come into play calling a whole lot. You just want to be able to keep grinding out first downs and (Saturday) we were able to do that."


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