Following a 49-7 blowout loss to Iowa, MSU returned home looking lifeless against the No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers, who regained control of the Old Brass Spittoon and beat Michigan State, 24-0.
It was the first time anyone shut MSU out at Spartan Stadium since losing to Michigan, 31-0 on October 12, 1985.
Indiana built a 24-0 lead going into halftime and ended their day with 433 yards of total offense (320 passing, 113 rushing), but the defense deserves some credit.
The Hoosiers average starting field position was its own 47-yard line, and they began drives inside the 30 four times and once at the 50.
“Again, turnovers and penalties in the first half against any type of team; any team, you do not give yourself a chance,” Mel Tucker said during the postgame presser. “And that was basically the story of this game.”
It’s an extremely tough spot to be put in, but two Indiana touchdowns came because of the defense’s mistakes.
First, Stevie Scott III burst through a significant hole on a halfback draw, running over multiple MSU defenders into the end zone for a touchdown.
Then on what should have been a routine tackle on a receiver screen from Michael Penix Jr. to Ty Fryfogle resulted in a 16-yard score due to a disappointing effort by Noah Harvey, Xavier Henderson, and Shakur Brown.
“Consistency in performance, again, is a killer for us. We were inconsistent, we had some efficient plays on offense and then nothing,” said Tucker. “You can’t take the defense off the hook as well. We had opportunities to get stops and didn’t … that’s the facts. It’s just straight down the middle, you can see it, it’s obvious.”
It was a collective failure by MSU, and offensively, things are only getting worse, finishing with under 200 yards of total offense, nine first downs, three turnovers, a non-existent run game, and juggling two quarterbacks.
With four games left, there’s no end in sight.
“We need to figure out what we can do with the guys that we have. But … we are able to evaluate who we have and what they can do,” Tucker said. “And who wants to or has the ability to play the type of football that we need to play here to be successful.”
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