Sunday, February 25, 2024

Spartans clobber Hoosiers, 31-3

Sophomore running back Jaren Hayes stiff arms defensive back Buster Larkins during Saturday's game against Indiana at Spartan Stadium. MSU won, 31-3. —

MSU played its most efficient game of the season on both sides of the ball en route to a Homecoming victory over Indiana, according to head coach John L. Smith.

"We played as a football team today much better than we have in a game yet," Smith said. "And that's good to see because we've been spotty."

Senior quarterback Jeff Smoker had a career day to lead the Spartans offensively, while the defense held Indiana out of the end zone all day.

Smoker passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one as MSU defeated Indiana, 31-3.

The quarterback produced 351 yards of offense in the air, eclipsing 300 yards for the seventh time in his career. He also completed 32 passes, a career high, tying MSU's single-game record.

MSU's defense held Indiana to only three points. The Hoosiers averaged 3.8 yards per play, while the Spartans offense averaged nearly twice that with 7.1 yards per play.

The Spartans (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) put an early touchdown on the board when junior tight end Jason Randall broke three tackles and busted into the end zone just under five minutes into the first quarter.

The Spartans made quick work of the Hoosiers by successfully spreading the ball around on offense. Nine players had at least one reception and six players rushed the ball at least once.

Redshirt freshman Matt Trannon led all receivers with six catches for 82 yards, including one in which he bobbled and then caught over the middle of the field, surrounded by four Hoosier defenders.

MSU scored its second touchdown of the game early in the second quarter when Smoker hooked up with sophomore running back Jaren Hayes on a 31-yard pass - Hayes' third receiving touchdown of the season.

MSU's 382 passing yards were the third best in school history.

Junior free safety Jason Harmon led the team in tackles (10 ) and forced a fumble while senior defensive end Greg Taplin racked up three sacks, giving him six on the year.

Sophomore running back Jason Teague scored his first career touchdown on an 11-yard run in the third quarter.

Two Spartans left the game with injuries: Senior wide receiver Ziehl Kavanaght (bruised left leg) and senior bandit Monquiz Wedlow (ankle).

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