Indiana at Michigan State, relatively live updates

Michigan State now has 531 yards of total offense.

I’m going to blog less frequently now. Need to get to the writing.



Indiana’s defense is swarming. Ringer can only find one yard on first down.

  • Thomas takes a wide screen eight yards on second down, but goes out of bounds.
  • Looks like Indiana might have held on third down. Yep. The Spartans need two inches.
  • They get it, with Hoyer plowing ahead.
  • Caulcrick is dropped by Middleton and Polk, as Indiana continues stacking to stop the run. Time’s a tickin’ though.
  • Hoyer drops and passes to senior tight end Kellen Davis, a real talent who is under-utilized in this offense, for a first down.
  • The double reverse works for Michigan State, as Indiana is keyed on the running backs. The Spartans face another 3rd and short.
  • With this monstrously long drive, full of tough and smart play, the Spartans seem to be leaving no doubt. Javon Ringer now has over 200 yards rushing.
  • Caulcrick follows that run with a bruising rush for the score.


Porter’s fumble return was the second-longest in program history.

He’s also the only player in Indiana history to have a punt return, interception return and fumble return for touchdowns.



Caulcrick fumbles — due to a hit by Nick Polk — and Tracy Porter returns it 76 yards for a touchdown.

And, just that suddenly, this is a little bit intriguing with 0:01 seconds left in the third quarter.


Hardy has set an Indiana record with 11 games of 100 yards or more receiving.

By the way, Austin Thomas has 20 tackles.



  • Drive details: 78 yards, 6 plays, 3:04

Indiana has to salvage something here, just for self confidence.

  • Lewis with two strong passes. He’s winging it cross field on quick drops.
  • Saint-Dic called for a roughing the passer there. Lewis has taken a few shots this game.
  • The Hoosiers call their second time out.
  • Perfect throw by Lewis to Hardy on the score.



Indiana calls a time out on first down. They need a plan here to get back into it.

  • On 3rd and 3 from the 27, Lewis fires a ball just in front of a linebacker and it gets to Hardy for a first down. That could settle this offense down.
  • And then, possible one of the worst play calls of the entire year, as Indiana tries the double reverse and Means is stopped for a 14-yard loss.
  • And, not surprisingly, Indiana is reeling. Jonal Saint-Dic blows into the backfield and sacks Lewis, in the process forcing his seventh fumble of the season (I think that ties the Big Ten record for most in a year) and his fellow end Ervin Baldwin picked i up and returned it 9 yards for a score.



  • Drive details: 48 yards, 9 plays, 3:21

Michigan State has momentum, and the ball. They’ll try to run the clock and get some yards.

  • Indiana’s defense is getting pretty run down. Michigan State is so tough because it can hand to three players who will make you tackle them.
  • Austin Thomas is everywhere. This is his sort of game. He has 18 tackles now. Joe Norman holds the all time record with 26 in 1978.
  • Thomas — the MSU receiver — has been really impressive. His route running is impeccable. He’s always in the right place. On that play he ducked inside of Porter and muscled his way to the catch, giving Michigan State a first and goal form the 3.
  • Caulcrick cranks into the end zone.


Indiana hurts itself with a personal foul on the kick return, and starts from the 15.

  • Hardy can’t make a play on first or second down.
  • Lewis throws behind his man on third, and the crowd is becoming a factor in this game. The students are down there where Indiana is trying to start its drives.


Here’s some art, courtesy of Chris Howell, of Austin Starr’s record-breaking kick.

Starr begins his kick

Starr celebrates his record



  • Drive details: 58 yards, 5 plays, 2:23

Michigan state gets the ball near midfield.

  • The Hoosiers have sniffed out the run, holding Ringer to three yards on his first two carries.
  • But Hoyer rises to the challenge and guns a pass to Thomas for a first-down. Great placement on the pass, as it fell right in front of Thomas.
  • Thomas goes up and beats Majors for a 34-yard TD catch. That’s a 6-2 receiver vs. a 5-10 corner.


Indiana will start with the ball, in good position to win the game despite an MSU-dominated first half.

  • Block in the back by Indiana sets the Hoosiers back after a good return from Marcus Thigpen, who has barely been kicked to this season. The Hoosiers start at their 20.
  • First play, not much going. Payton hit as soon as he gets the ball. SirDarean Adams blows it up five yards back.
  • Lewis uses the quick in to Hardy to pick up six and make it a more manageable 3rd and 9.
  • Lewis throws for Walker-Roby but is too high, and there looked to be a tackler there.


Amazing stats at the half:

Indiana has run 14 plays on offense.

Michigan State has run 49. Yet the Hoosiers trail by only 11.

The Spartans have 233 rushing yards to Indiana’s 56.

Austin Thomas has 14 tackles for Indiana already.


Michigan State takes over.

  • Huge 3rd-down conversion by Hoyer, as he shows the ability to step up into the open field. Indiana had dropped into a deep zone.
  • But it looks like the Hoosiers have at least latched onto what Michigan State is trying to do. The Hoosiers are stacking the line and hitting the gaps they need to, and they’re also paying special attention to Thomas.
  • Ringer springs out over the middle for another 3rd down conversion.
  • Huge sack there by Patterson and McClurg. Could keep points off the board and send Indiana to the half on a high note.
  • Ringer slips down on 3rd down and loses a yard. The Spartans will call time out with three seconds left, and will line up for the kick.
  • Indiana ices the kicker as Swenson lines up for a 53-yarder.
  • It clangs off the upright.



  • Drive details: 53 yards, 5 plays, 1:55

Michigan starts at its 19.

  • Vintage Lewis there. Eluding tackles and heaving the ball 49 yards to a wide open Hardy.
  • Then Lewis is leveled by Kendell Davis-Clark on a delayed corner blitz, losing eight. That might have been the hardest hit all year.
  • Michigan State brings a blitz on 2nd and 18, and Lewis tries to step through it but is stopped Baldwin for a loss of 1.
  • Lewis looks left and finds Hardy on a short patter. It’s now 4th and 6.
  • Starr with a chance to set the record for most field goals in a row. Its deep, and against the win. 47 yards and….good! He breaks Doug Smith record.


Michigan State takes over at its 47.

  • A strong read and tackle by Austin Thomas brings up third down. And Ringer is forced out of bounds by Thomas for no gain. The Spartans will punt. It’s a fight for field position right now. This punt only goes to 19.


Indiana begins at it’s own 10.

  • Payton eludes the Michigan State blitz and jumps ahead for six yards. Impressive run. The Spartans had seven up on the line.
  • On second, Payton takes a hand off out of the shotgun, and gains 2.
  • Indiana faces 3rd and 2. Lewis in the shotgun, and hands to Payton. Gain of 1. The Hoosiers will punt.


Michigna starts at its 45.

  • Thomas with another carry.
  • Caulcrick punches it up the middle, finding plenty of room on the way. That was a 15-yard gain.
  • Indiana holds on that, as Carrington gets through. That’s a smaller, quicker linebacker picking his way through the power blocking, and it might be the way for Indiana to go in this game.
  • On 3rd and 3, Kremer busts through for an eight-yard loss.


Indiana takes over at the 22.

  • Lewis misses Fisher on what was actually his first pass attempt of the game, with 12:39 left in the second quarter. His arm is probably very cold.
  • Then Lewis throws an interception, but there’s a false start by Brandon Walker-Roby.
  • Lewis is pressured early on fourth and 14, but finds Thigpen, who makes a good effort but can only get seven yards.


Ringer has 143 yards on 11 yards.



  • 74 yards, 5 plays, 1:51

Michigan State starts at its 26.

  • Hoyer throws for Dell, who drops it.
  • On second, Caulcrick flows right and ducks inside for five yards.
  • That’s the end of the half. Michigan State had 134 rushing yards.
  • Hoyer finds Thomas over the middle for the third-down conversion.
  • Leslie Majors gets to Ringer and causes a four yard loss on that screen play.
  • But then Ringer storms out left and goes 64 yards for a score.


Quick note: Austin Starr has now tied a school record with 10 straight field goals made.



  • Drive details: -9 yards, 5 plays, 2:05

Bailey makes up for his fumble with a 63-yard return. Then Roderick Jenrette is called for a personal foul late hit, giving the Hoosiers the ball at the Michigan State 20.

  • Payton ahead for three on first down.
  • Baldwin blows past tight end Nick Sexton for the sack.
  • Then Indiana is called for a delay of game.
  • And Lewis can’t find anything on third down.
  • Start gets that 40-yarder to float just over the bar.



  • Drive details: 20 yards, 5 plays, 2:37

The play stands as is. And Michigan State starts at the 25.

  • Ringer gains 11 yards on first down, as he squirts through the line.
  • But Indiana stacks him up on second down. Holding him to a 2-yard game.
  • Thomas again on the end around, this time for four yards.
  • And Michigan State faces another 4th down, this time a 4th and 2 from the 6.
  • Swenson knocks a 23-yarder through the uprights.
  • ——
  • Bailey has the ball stripped away by Travis Key, and Travis Key picks it up. The play will be reviewed. Tough to tell what went on from the reviews we’re seeing. It’s got to be pretty definitive to overturn the call, though.



  • Drive details: 55 yards, 9 plays, 4:02

Michigan starts with good field position again after a strong return. Hoyer takes the first snap at his 45.

  • Two running plays to open the drive, both of which make Indiana look pretty powerless across the front. The Spartans are pulling well and using a ton of lead blockers.
  • But the Hoosiers get sturdy on the next two runs, holding Ringer to a total of five yards.
  • On 3rd and 5 from the Indiana 30, Hoyer’s pass to Dell pulls him away from the marker.
  • Michigan State has a 4 and 2 and will just bring out the offense. No trickery this time. Ringer goes right, looks to have no hole but bursts through anyway for 16 yards.
  • Caulcrick pushes his way ahead for six yards. Then again for two more.
  • That brings up a 3rd and 2 from the 3. But ringer takes a pitch left and has a lot of field to run on. He gets in with ease.



  • Drive detials: 1 play, 59 yards, 10 seconds

Bailey runs onto the short kick and gets a 25-yard return. Indiana starts at its 41.

  • Kellen Lewis pulls off certainly one of the better fake handoffs I’ve ever seen and goes 59 yards in just 10 seconds.
  • Let me reflect on this: Lewis’ handoff probably took up at least 1 second of the play. So he went 60 yards in 9 seconds. Nine.



  • Drive details: 80 yards, 12 plays, 5:03

As the game begins, seems to be moderate swirling wind on the field. Michigan State receives the kick and starts at its 20.

  • On first down, swing pass out Devin Thomas for a ten-yard gain.
  • Ringer is speedy. He got around end there in a flash, although he had superb blocking. Indiana’s linebackers are going to have to get a read on him — start anticipating where he’ll head based on his first steps — because he’s so quick.
  • On second and 6, for instance, McClurg flowed right at him on what was pretty much a simple pitch left. Good tackle by him, holding Ringer to 3 yards.
  • Michigan’s clearly a running team, but that post play was really well run. Thomas made a sharp cut and was right where the ball went.
  • Michigan State just handed to Thomas on a reverse, and he picked up four. Then Hoyer rolled left and threw to him — and Thomas made a great catch — for eight yards. I think the Spartans will be pretty content using three play-makers to start the game.
  • Another reverse on 3rd and 3 from the Indiana 18. This time Thomas goes nowhere, thanks to McClurg and Thomas. Those two are going to have to make a lot of tackles for Indiana to be successful. It just matters WHERE they make the tackle.
  • Aaron Bates takes the snap, picks up it up and gets the first and more. Heckuva play by a freshman punter.
  • Jehuu Caulcrick thunders into the end zone from a yard out to give Michigan State the early lead.


MSU is on the field. Still waiting for the Hoosiers to make their way onto the field.
And out come the Hoosiers, to much booing. Not a very full crowd so far, but I think it’s fairly rowdy — I saw a few empty beer cans as I walked toward the stadium.


This just in: Bryan Payton will get the first carries for Indiana. All of the other backs will play, but Payton will start.

Also, center Ben Wyss, who did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, will try to play.


What to watch: Who gets the bulk of the carries for Indiana?

Marcus Thigpen is still listed as the No. 1, but he’s battled an ankle injury for what sure seems like a long time.

Bryan Payton is coming off a three touchdown game.

Then there’s Josiah Sears. He should be back and will get some carries.


We can see for miles and miles up here on the eighth level of the Spartan Stadium press box. And the leaves are changing on the trees, and the brick buildings all around give this fall day a very collegiate feel.

Down on the field the team’s are warming up. Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan was just walking through here a few minutes ago. He seemed pretty calm. It’s just 30 minutes from kickoff of what is certainly one of the most important football games of his tenure. A win here makes the team eligible to go to its first bowl since 1993.

More to come . . .


  1. I know that it’s an emotional game, but the dead ball fouls and special teams penalties are eliminating any chance we might have. We’re not playing smart ball at all.

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