Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Connor Cook threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns as Michigan State (8-0, 4-0) retained the Old Brass Spittoon as Mark Dantonio remained unbeaten against the Hoosiers. IU only trailed by five points with less than seven minutes remaining but things deteriorated quickly as the Spartans pulled away and punished a ground-down IU defense.
Indiana (4-4, 0-4) jumped in front 7-0 on a Jordan Howard touchdown but the Spartans quickly responded as Connor Cook hooked up with R.J. Shelton to even the score. MSU took a lead they would never relinquish as Gerald Holmes ran for a touchdown to put Sparty ahead 14-7. The Hoosiers let everyone know they would not go quietly as they marched 94 yards and scored on a Nate Sudfeld pass to Ricky Jones. Griffin Oakes missed the extra point and IU trailed 13-14. Connor Cook threw his second touchdown pass of the day as he connected with his top target, Aaron Burbridge to put Michigan State ahead 21-13 with time running out in the first half. IU answered in quick fashion as Nate Sudfeld hit Simmie Cobbs on a deep bomb to pull the Hoosiers within one, 20-21 at the end of the first half.
Connor Cook remained hot in the second half as he connected with tight end Josiah Price to put Michigan State ahead 28-20. Indiana responded once again as Nate Sudfeld completed a screen to Andre Booker who ran into the end zone. Griffin Oakes missed his second PAT of the day and IU trailed 26-28 entering the fourth quarter. Michigan State nailed a field goal to go ahead by five after Griffin Oakes missed a 42-yarder that would have put IU on top. R.J. Shelton scored on another pass from Connor Cook to put the Spartans ahead by two scores. They would add a pair of rushing touchdowns after Indiana miscues that gave Michigan State the ball in advantageous positions after the outcome was decided.
The Spartans were outstanding on third down, converting on 13-20 third downs. The Hoosiers were able to convert on 5 of 11 third downs and rack up 389 offensive yards as Nate Sudfeld had another very nice outing, throwing for 308 yards and a trio of touchdowns. However, they were outgained 389 to 540 and the Spartans possessed the ball for nearly 39 minutes of the contest. Both teams have a much-needed bye next week and the Hoosiers will need to recharge as they continue their quest to gain bowl eligibility.