Michigan State football went back and forth with the Indiana Hoosiers all game long, but the match eventually came down to a 49 yard field goal attempt by Indiana redshirt junior kicker Chris Freeman. Freeman’s kick sailed wide left though, and the Spartans hung on to a 24-21 victory for their fourth win of the season. With the win comes the Old Brass Spittoon, which is headed back home to East Lansing after last year's loss.
MSU started off the game strong, scoring an opening drive touchdown on a 17 yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser to redshirt junior tight end Maliq Carr. It was the first time the team scored on their first drive of the game since Houser’s first start against Rutgers earlier this fall.
“When we do that on offense it’s really good for us,” Houser said. “I feel like we get into a rhythm. Going out and scoring on that first drive really helped us later in the game so it was really important we got that first score.”
Both teams would counter each time the other threw a punch, as IU scored early in the second quarter to knot the score back up at seven apiece. Senior wide receiver Montorie Foster Jr. had an answer though, as he gave MSU their touchdown lead back late in the first half with a jaw-dropping one handed grab that he turned into a 29 yard touchdown.
The Hoosiers tied the game up early in the third and took a four point lead late in the fourth with another score after MSU redshirt senior kicker Jonathan Kim netted a 36 yard field goal earlier in the period.
Just like the way the game started, Carr played a massive role in the Spartan’s final offensive drive of the day. Houser found him in the middle of the field after scrambling out of the pocket, and as he made the catch, the 6’6 target took a massive hit in stride, stayed on his feet and scored a 36 yard touchdown to give the Spartans a 24-21 lead with just a minute left in the game.
“Our guys did a good job of making plays down the stretch,” interim head coach Harlon Barnett said after earning his second win in the role. “Great throw and catch by Katin to Maliq. That’s a big, physical target. He’s a player, you have to wrap and squeeze to get him down. If you don’t do that, he’s going to do what he did.”
The Hoosiers were very close to sending the game to overtime, but their kick was well off point. Sophomore safety Jaden Mangham said that the key to keeping the game in their hands was the ability to control their emotions.
“You just gotta stay calm,” Mangham said. “I was just trying to get my calls out since they were running a hurry up to try and catch us off guard. Just trying to stay on top of my game as it was the same with the whole defense.”
On a short week, the green and white will head to Detroit for their final game of the season at Ford Field for a Black Friday contest with the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions.