October 1, 2016 — Bloomington, Ind.
The Old Brass Spittoon had grown comfortable in East Lansing.
And for much of the first evening in October of 2016, it appeared as though the more than a century old metal pot would be headed back to Michigan.
Indiana and Michigan State have played for the Old Brass Spittoon since 1950. Heading into their 2016 tilt in Bloomington, the trophy had been in MSU’s possession for a decade.
A first quarter 86 yard bomb from Tyler O’Connor to R.J. Shelton was the lone score of the first half. An IU offense that had averaged over 30 points per game through the first three weeks of the 2016 season couldn’t get on the scoreboard in the first half of their Big Ten opener.
Michigan State capped off a 7-play, 77 yard drive with another touchdown to take a 14-0 lead with just 4:00 left in the third quarter.
Here we go again. Indiana — a nice improving team under Kevin Wilson. Still can’t hang with the big boys.
Two big plays from the IU offense on the ensuing drive would change everything.
Quarterback Richard Lagow found Ricky Jones for a 57 yard completion over the middle that put IU deep into Spartans territory. A few plays later receiver Mitchell Paige took a hand-off from Lagow and then turned and threw it back to his quarterback in the end zone to put the Hoosiers on the board.
After new defensive coordinator Tom Allen’s defense forced a Michigan State punt, IU put together an 8-play, 90 yard drive that was capped off by a Lagow to Jones scoring strike.
The rally continued.
After an MSU 3-and-out, a fake reverse led to a 44-yard Devine Redding run to put IU into MSU territory. Redding fumbled at the end of the play but Nick Westbrook was there to recover.
Lagow found Paige in the end zone three plays later and suddenly IU held a stunning 21-14 lead with just 4:38 remaining.
Michigan State would tie the game with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
And that is when the kickers became the story, with an assist from Allen’s defense.
Indiana sacked MSU twice on their overtime opening drive, forcing the Spartans to kick a 49 yard field goal. Michael Geiger missed badly.
That set up IU for the win. Any score and the Old Brass Spittoon would change hands.
It wouldn’t come easy.
The Hoosiers failed to pick up a first down, and kicker Griffin Oakes missed his third field goal attempt of the night, this time from 33 yards out.
But there were flags on the field.
The Spartans were called for leaping, giving IU new life. 1st and goal at the MSU eight yard line.
After two running plays, Oakes was given a fourth chance, and this time he converted from 20 yards out for the dramatic win.
Oakes led the charge to midfield where he met teammates and fans in a long overdue celebration of the return of the Spittoon.
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