After an unusual schedule, where IU dominated three teams, and got crushed by one, the Hoosiers (3-2, 0-2 B1G) finally experienced a 60-minute challenge at Michigan State. Ultimately, IU fell short in heartbreaking fashion, 40-31, against the Spartans (4-1, 2-0), who retained the Old Brass Spittoon.
The decisive plays came late in the 4th quarter. After IU tied the game at 31 with 2:00 left, MSU moved 74 yards on two plays, driving the ball down to the IU 1-yard line. After the offense centered the football, Matt Coghlin nailed the game-winning field goal with :05 on the clock. MSU tacked on a defensive score with no time left.
IU QB Michael Penix sparkled for the Hoosiers, completing 33 of 42 passes, for 286 yards, totaling 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). Junior WR Whop Philyor recorded 14 catches, 142 yards, and two TDs. WR Donavan Hale hauled in 7 passes for 99 yards and a TD of his own. Below, see what we learned from IU’s dramatic battle with MSU.
We’re for real. We ain’t going nowhere.”Indiana HC Tom Allen, after the game
The Secondary Needs to Improve ASAP
During the bye week, cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby and safeties coach Kasey Teegardin will be busy trying to shore up their team’s pass coverage. IU allowed MSU QB Brian Lewerke to throw for 300 yards on the day, a sharp rise from the 228 he put up at Northwestern last week.
WR Darrell Stewart Jr. ran unperturbed on a frequent basis, recording 5 receptions for 117 yards and 2 TDs. DBs A’Shon Riggins and Reese Taylor missed the affair against MSU; keep an eye out for their status after the bye week. Freshman CB Tiawan Mullen made a positive impact, recording a remarkable four PBUs.
Michael Penix is the Real Deal
Erase any and all doubt. Not only does IU have its quarterback of the future, but Penix, a redshirt freshman, might also turn some heads this season, if he stays healthy. Penix finished the game with 286 yards passing, a 159.3 QB rating and no turnovers, against the #1 rated defense in the country (per S&P+).
Penix spread the ball around to seven receivers, using a combination of quick swing passes, pinpoint accuracy, and deep attempts down the field. He set a school record with 20 consecutive completions during the game; with three years left after this year, one might predict Penix will accomplish more school records during his time at IU.
4th Quarter Penalties Stung the Hoosiers
Through three quarters in East Lansing, Indiana had committed just four penalties for 40 yards, in a tough environment as well.
In the decisive fourth quarter, the Hoosiers consistently pegged themselves back with infractions, recording an eye-popping five penalties in the final stanza alone. The two biggest were as follows:
- With 14:38 left, and IU leading 24-21, Philyor returned a punt deep into MSU territory. A holding call on IU pushed the Hoosiers all the way back to their own 11-yard line.
- With 7:10 remaining, and IU trailing 28-24, the Hoosiers sacked Lewerke, forcing a fumble at midfield that IU recovered. However, Mullen held Stewart, resulting in a 1st down.
If those back-breaking penalties did not occur, perhaps the Hoosiers leave East Lansing victorious.
The Offensive Line Played Steadily
A week removed from senior captain Coy Cronk’s season-ending leg injury, the IU offensive line held its own against MSU’s ferocious front four, led by DE Kenny Willekes. Freshman LT Matthew Bedford and redshirt sophomore RT Caleb Jones gave Penix enough time to throw deep, and they conceded only one sack on the day (to future NFL DT Raequan Williams).
Also, IU totaled 70 rushing yards, which significantly exceeded MSU’s average of 52.5 allowed per game. The Hoosiers will not face a tougher front line the rest of the season.
IU will have their first bye week of the season next week, before taking on Rutgers at home on October 12, in the annual Homecoming game. The teams will kick off at noon ET, with the TV station to be determined on Monday, September 30.
Featured photo: IndianaHQ