No. 10 Indiana cruises past Michigan State to stay unbeaten and take Big Ten East lead
No. 10 Indiana brought the Old Brass Spittoon back home for the first time in four years Saturday, after an impressive 24-0 victory at Michigan State that improved the Hoosiers to 4-0 and moved them to the top of the Big Ten East.
It wasn't a perfect performance, but it was comfortable. Sophomore quarterback Michael Penix threw two interceptions. Charles Campbell missed a field goal for the first time in his career. Indiana posted its first empty red-zone trip of the season.
And through all that, the Hoosiers still led Michigan State 24-0 at halftime. Such was the extent of Indiana’s complete control of the game through the first two quarters.
Kane Wommack’s improved, aggressive defense forced three turnovers and landed two more sacks in the game's first 30 minutes. Penix played through his mistakes, finishing the half 20-of-28 for 284 yards and two touchdowns to balance the two picks.
Senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, the star of last week’s first half, outdid his Michigan performance with nine catches, 178 yards and both of those touchdowns, all before halftime. He would finish the game with 200 yards, the seventh-best single-game performance in program history.
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The victory put the Hoosiers alone in first place in the Big Ten East. They will play at No. 3 Ohio State (3-0) next week with the winner taking firm control of the division.
“It doesn’t matter what everybody says about us,” said Fryfogle, who had seven catches for 142 yards against Michigan last weekend. “We’re going to keep doing us and keep executing each and every week, getting better every week. That’s what’s exciting about this team. We’re getting better each and every week.”
When the two teams retreated to their locker rooms for the break, Michigan State was on its second quarterback of the day, and Indiana was outgaining the Spartans 325-82.
Michigan State’s problems offensively were well-traveled coming into Saturday’s game. Indiana didn’t pass up the opportunity to exploit them.
The sacks and interceptions were the highlights. But Indiana was good on third downs, good against the run, creative with its pressure and relentless even when the Spartans switched quarterbacks near the end of the first half. The Hoosiers lost a couple of important linebackers, Cam Jones and Thomas Allen, to injury, and played through them both. Michigan State couldn’t manage the Hoosiers’ defensive front, and neither Rocky Lombardi nor backup Payton Thorne had extended success passing against Indiana’s outstanding secondary.
Indiana’s last shut out a Big Ten team other than Rutgers? Michigan State, in 1993. The Hoosiers closed Saturday’s game out for the third blank of Tom Allen’s head-coaching tenure.
“We sat down at the beginning of the year with our leadership council, come up with our goals,” Allen said. “One of the major things that guys wanted was, win our trophy games.”
Contributing: The Ass