Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
Welcome to the homecoming edition of our Throwback series. Today we are reviewing the Hoosiers homecoming game against rival Michigan State in the battle for the Old Brass Spittoon. Once again it would be a tale of two halves that is becoming all too familiar for these Hoosiers.
Opponent: Michigan State Spartans
Location: Saturday October 6th | 12pm | Memorial Stadium | Bloomington, Indiana
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and Spartans renew their rivalry as part of a protected cross over series. Michigan State has dominated the match-up with a record of 42-14-2 coming into the 2012 game.
What The Game Meant:
The game always means more when you are playing for a trophy against a rival, but add in the fact that it was the Hoosiers’ homecoming and their home Big Ten opener this was a huge game for Kevin Wilson’s squad.
Top Offensive Performer:
Cameron Coffman, QB, Indiana- With arguably his best performance of the year so far Coffman threw for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns against the vaunted Spartan defense. The biggest improvement was that Coffman did not turn the ball over and kept the Hoosier offense attacking in the first half
Le’veon Bell, RB, Michigan State- Bell had a down day by his standards, but still steamrolled the Hoosiers hope for an upset with 121 yards and two scores on the ground. Even though the IU defense did a pretty good job limiting Bell to 3.3 yards a carry, the big bruiser from East Lansing made them pay.
Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State- Michigan State struggled to throw the ball for most of the 2012 season, but against the Hoosiers this freshman receiver had a break out game. Burbridge caught eight passes for 134 yards and kept the Spartans in the game with many key grabs.
Top Defensive Performers:
Kenny Mullen, CB, Indiana- The defensive back tied for the team lead in tackles with eight, one for a loss), and broke up two passes. Mullen was all over the field for the Hoosiers and came up with some big stops from the secondary.
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State- The heart and sole of the Spartan defense forced his will upon the Hoosiers, who were shut out in the second half, with nine total tackles including one for a loss.
Special Team Performance
The Hoosiers were much improved in the kicking game as Mitch Ewald converted all three extra points and both of his field goals. He even successfully pulled off a surprise onside kick right before halftime that led to three points. There was some bad news however, starting punter Mitchell Voss went down with a leg injury, which turned out to be a broken bone, and would be lost for the season. Despite this back up punter Erich Toth filled in admirably averaging 41.3 yards on seven punts. The Hoosiers did not get many chances to return a kickoff, the only attempt gained a respectable 27 yards from Tevin Coleman.
Key Stat: 27-0
This is the amount of points the Hoosiers scored in the first half next to the total points the offense put up in the second half. Indiana put up the second most points the Spartans would give up in an ENTIRE GAME in just one half. To much dismay the Hoosiers went on the put up a goose egg in the second half.
Can halftime be a turning point? Well, I am making it one. Indiana was rolling in the first half, everything went their way and took a surprising 27-14 lead into the locker room. What happened after that was ugly. IU would get shutout over the last 30 minutes and allow the Spartans to escape Bloomington with a 31-27 win.
I Knew it was over when:
Wide receiver Bennie Fowler hauled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Maxwell to give the Spartans their first lead of the game with 6:35 left in the game. While there was still plenty of time left for a Hoosier comeback, all of the positive energy was sucked from Memorial Stadium on that play.
Players of the Game:
Indiana- Cameron Coffman, Quarterback- The sophomore transfer did his best to lead the Hoosiers to victory but fell short in the second half. The Hoosiers executed their game plan in the first half, but were out matched by a better defense the rest of the way.
Michigan State- Le’veon Bell, Running Back- The Hoosiers kept the big fella from a monster game, but Bell just kept putting his head down and churning out the hard yards. If not for the effort of the future NFLer the Spartans probably would have lost the game. Bell put up a workman like 121 yards on 37 carries
As disappointing a loss as this was, and let me tell you it was a heartbreaker, there was a sense of optimism from the Hoosier faithful. Indiana went blow for blow with one of the big boys and sooner or later the Hoosiers are going to beat one of the bigger names in the Big Ten. The loss dropped the Hoosiers record to a mediocre 2-3 (0-2) and they have now been on the wrong end of three straight games. While some can look at it as just another game the Hoosiers flushed down the toilet, others will point at the effort and say we can play with the big boys.