Bowl eligibility a 'big step' for Spartans
For the first time since 2015, MSU is going bowling.
The 18th-ranked Spartans earned a hard-fought win over Indiana Saturday, improving their record to 6-1 on the season and garnering that important sixth win to become officially bowl eligible.
Head coach Mark Dantonio now has qualified for a bowl game in 10 of his 11 years at the helm of the Spartan program.
“I think win No. 6 is big this year, especially 6-1,” Dantonio said after the win. “So we get bowl eligibility, and we can now work on our next goal, which is really just finishing this, what I call phase, and getting into November. That’s what we’ll try and do; we’ll try to get through October 5-0. That was the goal when we started, and it’s got to be done one game at a time, but we’re there now.”
The Spartans’ offense struggled throughout the majority of the game and failed to garner a touchdown through three quarters.
But MSU’s offense broke through late in the game, scoring two touchdowns in four minutes to take a 17-9 lead with less than two minutes to play.
When the clock read 0:00, the Spartans held off the Hoosiers and remained undefeated in conference play.
“It’s another great win,” co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett said. “I hate to even bring up last year, but we’re bowling right now. … Our guys are really bought in. We worked our butts off this offseason — just talking football with the guys, changed up our vacation schedule in the summer just to be around them more and talk football. So now, all the fruits of our labor are paying off.”
True freshman Cody White hauled in six catches for a game-high 99 yards in the win.
“It means a whole lot to us as a team knowing that we’re taking it one game at a time, and (we’ll) just keep striving for the next game,” White said.
Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III had just one catch Saturday, but he was there when MSU desperately needed a touchdown as Lewerke’s pass from the Indiana 10-yard line landed in the hands of Davis in the end zone.
The touchdown put the Spartans up 10-9 after the made extra point, giving the Spartans a lead they would never surrender.
“Bowl eligible and just one step closer to our goal,” Davis said. “It’s a big step from last year and that’s the main thing.”
Davis said becoming bowl eligible officially puts the shadow of last season in the background.
With the win, the Spartans improve to 4-0 in conference play for the fifth time under the Dantonio era.