The day started off good for the Spartans, and despite the game being pushed back three hours because of weather, MSU came out aggressive and physical, looking like the team who beat Northwestern last week.
But MSU couldn't finish, ultimately losing 2-1 in the final minutes against No. 23 Indiana.
The standout player for the Spartans was junior Luke Morrell. Morrell made several tackles and seemed to be breaking up all of Indiana’s attempts to run deep into MSU’s side of the field. In the 19th minute of the game Morrell made an amazing, clean slide tackle in the box to save what would have been an Indiana goal.
Morrell would make a big impact on offense for the Spartans too. In the 24th minute, he soared above the defenders and scored on a solid header off of a corner kick from junior Louis Sala, giving MSU the lead 1-0.
After maintaining the lead for the remainder of the first half, the Spartans came out of the locker room looking to at least hold on to their lead and stop the dangerous Indiana offense from getting momentum.
The game turned physical early in the second half as MSU’s Conner George got into an altercation with an Indiana player, causing some shoving to happen. The refs did not give cards, and both players stayed in the game.
The altercation exemplified the physical tone of the second half. The teams ended the game with a combined 27 fouls, 15 for MSU and 12 for Indiana.
This physical tone may have caused MSU to play most of the second half without one of their star players, junior Farai Mutatu, who left the game early in the second half with an unknown injury.
Without Mutatu, the MSU offense slowed down and resembled the team that has had scoring problems in the start of the season, and without this offense, their defense suffered as well.
In the 60th minute, Indiana had their potential equalizer called off as a foul was called for contact on MSU goalie Isiah Handspike. It would make no difference though because just one minute later, Big Ten leading scorer Victor Bezerra notched the equalizer for Indiana off a shot that Morrell initially deflected but still found its way into the back of the net.
As the clock winded down MSU’s offense looked to be coming back to life. They attacked looking for that winning goal, but so did Indiana’s offense.
Just as the game looked to be headed to overtime, in the 87th minute, Indiana would score the go-ahead goal off of a low crossed free-kick, this time deflected in by an Indiana player.
If the first half showed any implications of the game, MSU played phenomenally. But the game is 90 minutes, and the Spartans, who are known for protecting their leads, let a dangerous team out-fight them in the second half.
MSU looks to avoid their third straight loss as they head to College Park, Maryland, to take on the Terrapins on Friday.
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