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Spartan Football Playback: Indiana vs. Michigan State (2011)

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In what has been an uneven rivalry, the 2011 installment between Michigan State and Indiana punched a ticket to Indianapolis for the Spartans.

Indiana v Michigan State Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

Opponent: Indiana Hoosiers

Date: Nov. 19, 2011

Location: Spartan Stadium — East Lansing, Michigan

Final Score: 55-3, Michigan State

All-time Matchup Record: Michigan State leads 48-17-2

Ah yes, another battle for the most flattering trophy in all of college football: The Old Brass Spittoon. Michigan State and Indiana will clash for the 68th time overall, as the Spartans travel to Bloomington this weekend for the first time since 2018 and each team continues to trend in opposite directions.

The Spartans are 6-0 for the first time since their College Football Playoff season in 2015, and are coming off another convincing 31-13 victory over Rutgers, while Kenneth Walker III continued his Heisman-level tear with a 233 yard performance on 29 carries. MSU continues to do what it needs to do, but will likely continue to be overlooked until the game on Oct. 30 against Michigan — but first and foremost, the Spartans must get by the Hoosiers.

Indiana, on the other hand, has been one of the more disappointing teams in the conference, and will likely miss star quarterback Michael Penix Jr once again this week. Although the Hoosiers have had one of the country’s more brutal schedules thus far, they clearly don’t seem to have the same juice as last year where they were the no. 10-ranked team heading into the 2020 matchup in East Lansing.

Overall, Michigan State has dominated the series 48-17-2, and has won 19 of the last 24 matchups. In the same respect, the Spartans’ 2011 performance was one of the more lopsided, and clinched the “Legends” Division en route to the first Big Ten championship game under Mark Dantonio.

Game Recap

On senior night, the Spartan veterans put together an epic farewell performance to Spartan Stadium, out-gaining Indiana in total yards 470-236. Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the game with 273 yards and three touchdowns in just over a half of play, while senior Wideouts B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin combined for 231 total yards and shined all day.

Michigan State entered the contest with a one-game lead over Nebraska in the Legends Division, who took on Michigan at the same time in Ann Arbor. When the Wolverines won, it ironically clinched the division for Michigan State because of MSU’s win over U-M earlier that season.

“To play a flawless game in our last game at Spartan Stadium...that’s a huge thrill,” Cousins said. He would fall one touchdown short of Jeff Smoker’s school record for career touchdown passes, but would surpass it in a Big Ten championship thriller versus Wisconsin (the record was later broken by Connor Cook).

“The journey isn’t over,” Dantonio said after the game. “But I want to congratulate the senior class for winning 35 games — the winningest class in the history of Michigan State football.” MSU fell short of its goal of a Rose Bowl appearance, but began a foundation for what would be a historic decade for the program.