The Spartans entered the day hoping to slow down Michael Penix, Jr. and the high-powered Indiana Hoosier offense. But, miscues and a lack of execution continued to be a problem for the Spartans, who were shutout by the Hoosiers, 24-0. The Spartan offense was once again offensive, amassing only 191 total yards, nine first down, and just over 20 minutes of possession. The Spartans also committed a total of four turnovers.
The Spartans looked capable of potentially staying in the game early on. Indiana’s first possession ended on a Shakur Brown interception, and the Spartans were able to drive into Indiana territory until a bad snap on third down scuttled the drive. The Spartan defense once again stopped the Indiana offense, but then, the mistakes started to pile up.
The next eight plays for the Spartan offense were an absolute disaster. They included:
• A bad interception by Rocky Lombardi, thrown into double coverage (resulting in a Hoosier touchdown)
• A fumble on the MSU 17-yard-line by Ant Williams (resulting in a Hoosier touchdown)
• A three-and-out by the MSU offense, punctuated by a third-down sack
• Another terrible interception by Rocky Lombardi (which resulted in an Indiana field goal)
This doesn’t even consider that fact the MSU picked up two personal fouls on consecutive kick returns. Just 25 minutes into the game and MSU was down 17-0 and Rocky Lombardi’s day was done, as he got the hook for redshirt freshman Payton Thorne after the second interception. The Hoosiers added an additional touchdown late in the second quarter to make the score 24-0 at halftime.
It could have and perhaps should have been even worse, as Brown picked up his second interception of the game by picking off Penix in the end zone. Indiana also missed a field goal just before halftime.
While neither team scored in the second half, if one were to squint really hard, there were a couple of bright spots. Maybe. Payton Thorne looked athletic and was able to make a few plays with his legs. As he settled in late in the third quarter, he was able to drive MSU into the Indiana side of the field twice. On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans were able to stop Indiana twice on fourth down in the red zone.
But, at the end of the day, MSU is now 1-3 and appears to have a full blow quarterback controversy. Next up is a road game to Maryland, which looks to be the best chance MSU has to win another game this year (assuming the game is played as Maryland deals with COVID-19 issues within the program). Stay tuned to the Only Colors for continuing coverage of MSU football.