Down 24-7 at halftime, it looked like more of the same for Indiana on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.
But a pair of big third quarter plays, a 79-yard run by Shaun Shivers and an 88-yard kickoff return by Jaylin Lucas, helped the Hoosiers erase the large deficit on a snowy, windy and frigid day at Spartan Stadium. An interception by safety Jonathan Haynes continued the rally and led to a Charles Campbell field goal.
Then a 9-play, 70-yard IU drive capped off by a 1-yard Josh Henderson touchdown run completed the rally, as Indiana tied the game at 31 with 12:59 left in the fourth quarter.
It still didn’t appear to be enough as the Spartans drove 70 yards at the end of the fourth quarter, down to the IU 5-yard line. But a Michigan State missed field goal at the end of regulation created the opening for an overtime stunner.
After both teams had field goals blocked in the first overtime, Shivers ran it in from 1-yard out to give IU the lead in the second extra session. A 2-point conversion pass from Dexter Williams to tight end A.J. Barner gave the Hoosiers an eight-point lead, and then the IU defense got a stop on fourth down on MSU’s final possession.
IU head coach Tom Allen ran on the field after an MSU pass fell harmlessly in the end zone to end weeks of misery.
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“I’m so proud of our team,” Allen said following the game. “They’re going crazy right now (in the locker room). They fought so hard. They never quit believing, it’s been a rough season. A lot of guys didn’t play today (due to injuries), but a lot of guys did. And the guys who did – they fought to the bitter end. It wasn’t pretty, but we bowed up on both sides of the ball, and special teams did their thing.”
Indiana (4-7, 2-6) defeated the Spartans 39-31, denying MSU bowl eligibility in the process. The win ends a seven-game losing streak for IU and brings the Old Brass Spittoon back to Bloomington. The Hoosiers have now defeated Michigan State three times in the last seven meetings going back to 2016.
Quarterback Dexter Williams started for the first time in his career, and IU won despite him completing just two passes for 31 yards in the poor conditions. His second completion came in the second overtime — a 24-yard pass to Barner down to the Michigan State one to set up the decisive score.
Indiana ran the ball 44 times 257 yards, including 86 yards by Williams. MSU outgained the Hoosiers 540-288 for the game, but IU outscored the Spartans 32-7 after halftime.
“It’s about fighting to the finish,” Allen said. “Our guys responded.”
Williams scored on a 34-yard run on Indiana’s first drive of the game to give IU the early 7-0 lead. Then 24 unanswered points by MSU going into halftime took the game in a familiar direction for the Hoosiers.
But Indiana’s defense forced two punts to open the second half, which helped to fuel the rally. Shivers’ long run came between the two Spartan punts, and Lucas’ kickoff return quickly offset MSU’s lone score of the second half, which came on their third drive after halftime.
Indiana closes the 2022 season in pursuit of another trophy. The Hoosiers face Purdue next Saturday in Bloomington.
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