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SPORTS UPDATE: Gridders break losing streak, thrash Indiana

November 9, 2002

Bloomington, Ind. - After being blownout the past four weeks and seeing its head coach fired Monday, the MSU football team took out its frustrations on Indiana.

The Spartans (4-6 overall, 2-4 Big Ten) played like everyone expected them to play all season, beating the Hoosiers (3-7, 1-5) 56-21 at Memorial Stadium. MSU scored 35 points in the decisive second quarter to take a 42-7 lead into halftime.

“I appreciate so much the effort that those young men gave us,” interim head coach Morris Watts said. “I’m a happy man to say that I stood on that sideline today and watched a bunch of guys play their fannies off.”

In the rout, junior wide receiver Charles Rogers and sophomore quarterback Damon Dowdell made their marks on the Spartan record book.

Rogers hauled in touchdown passes of 36 and 21 yards becoming the Spartans’ all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 25. The 21-yarder in the third quarter made the score 49-7.

Rogers finished with five catches for 102 yards and two scores. He also had two carries for 66 yards.

After an unimpressive performance against Michigan last week, Dowdell delivered his best performance as a Spartan. He was 17-of-25 for 203 yards with a MSU single-game-record four touchdowns.

Dowdell played a part in each of the Spartans first three touchdowns.

In the first quarter on third-and-one at the Indiana eight-yardline, Dowdell scored for his first rushing touchdown of the season. The play started as a designed pass with Dowdell rolling out to the right, but no one was open so he reversed his field and used a convoy of blockers to get into the end zone.

In the second quarter, Dowdell hooked up with sophomore tight end Eric Knott for a one-yard touchdown pass, and then with Rogers for a 21-7 lead.

The Spartans’ offense also did damage on the ground as the team rushed for 289 yards.

Freshman tailbacks David Richard and Jaren Hayes accounted for the next three scores of the second quarter.

Hayes scored on runs of eight and six yards, while Richard leaped over the top of the offensive and defensive linemen for a one-yard touchdown.

Richard - in the first start of his career - did most of the damage on the ground carrying the ball 20 times for a career-high 136 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman tailback Jaren Hayes tacked on 88 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

The Spartans final score came on a three-yard reception by sophomore tight end Jason Randall, pushing the lead to 56-7 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter.

In garbage time, the Hoosiers added two touchdowns for the final margin of victory.


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