On the next to last game of the 2023 football season, Michigan State traveled to Indiana for the Hoosiers’ Senior Day. MSU got the ball to start the game and successfully drove the ball for a touchdown. They would add a touchdown on their final first half drive, highlighted by one of the best individual efforts you will ever see from a WR. Montorie Foster caught the ball with one hand at the edge of his reach and planted hard, causing two defenders to go by him. He then moved toward the middle of the field and threw in a spin move to get by his next would-be tackler. Lastly, one of the first two guys came back at him and tried to rip the ball from his hands, but Foster fought that off and continued into the endzone to complete the 29-yard play to put MSU up 14-7.
Between those two drives, which totaled 140 yards and seven first downs, the Spartans punted twice, threw an interception, and had a turnover on downs when they could not get one yard on a QB keeper. Those four drives amassed a total of just 56 yards. They would have a nice play or two on each possession, but then would defeat themselves with penalties or poor execution. On the drive that ended in the turnover on downs, a TD pass to Maliq Carr was nullified by an illegal shift penalty. After Indiana missed a late FG, Michigan State went to the locker room up by seven.
Indiana started the 2nd half and drove right down the field, first with six consecutive runs to get over midfield, and then a 38-yard pass down to the three where they would punch it in on the first-and-goal play.
The Spartans would go three-and-out on their first drive after halftime, failing to get one yard on 3rd down and punted it away with the score notched at 14.
Indiana’s first play on the next drive was a snap over Sorsby’s head for a loss of 14 yards. A run for no gain and a sack inside the 1 led to Indiana punting from deep in their own endzone. They still got off a great punt, driving the returner back past midfield and MSU took over at their own 42.
After getting one first down, Nathan Carter was taken out with an injury. It looked like a neck issue judging by how he looked walking off the field with the trainers and he did not return. On the next play, we were treated to the good old double-turnover play. Katin Houser threw his second interception of the game, this one when he underthrew Maliq Carr. On the return, Carr hurried back and punched the ball out, allowing Alante Brown to jump on it and give it back to the Spartans.
That just led to a three and out, and MSU pinned Indiana back at the 1-yard line on a perfect punt by Ryan Eckley.
On the ensuing drive, Indiana picked up a third-and-long with a pass out to the 30. And on the next series, MSU stopped them on third down when two players ran up and kept the receiver from getting past the sticks on a screen pass. But, unlike the Spartans earlier 4th down attempt, Indiana did pick up the first-down with a QB keeper, and that ran out the 3rd quarter clock.
The Hoosiers would get one more first down but then turned it over on downs when they inexplicably went for it on 4th and 6 from the MSU 33. If they did not have the kicker to go for the FG there, a punt to pin the Spartans deep would have been a wiser decision. Instead, they gave it back to MSU with decent field position.
Michigan State would benefit from an Indiana penalty on the first play of the drive that moved the ball close to midfield. They would get two more first downs before settling for a 43-yard FG to go up 17-14 with nine and a half left.
Indiana then had their best drive of the game, a methodical 75-yard march that ended with a touchdown and a 21-17 lead with just over four minutes remaining.
Trailing late has not been a recipe for success for this year’s Spartans. After collecting a touchback, MSU faced a 4th & 3 on the first series, but Houser tossed an 18-yard pass that got the team to midfield with 2:48 on the clock. Two plays later, Houser did it with his legs, scrambling 15 yards down to the 34. And two plays later, Houser delivered a dart to a cutting Carr who then gave an individual effort that rivaled the one of Foster just before halftime. On this one, Carr caught the ball running across the field, but his momentum carried him into a defender coming from the opposite side. He only took one step before crashing into the Hoosier DB, but the impact only caused Carr to bounce back. In the smoothest reaction to a collision in the history of football, Carr immediately spun backwards which caused a second Hoosier player to miss a tackle and then, now with his balance fully restored, began moving toward the goal line. One last IU player came along and tried to tackle Carr up high, to which Maliq let out an audible chuckle as he crossed into the endzone to put MSU back on top. After the extra point, it was Spartans 24-21 with 1:19 to go.
Indiana started the final drive at the 25 and proceeded to get the late score to tie or win. They moved down the field 50 yards, getting three first downs including one 4th down conversion. They took one shot at a touchdown but a miscommunication between the quarterback and the receiver led to an intentional grounding penalty being called. The yards lost on the penalty pushed them back to the 31 and left them with a FG try from 49 yards out. And for the second time today, Chris Freeman missed the kick.
Michigan State took one knee and the game was over. The Spartans improved to 4-7, ruined Senior Day in Bloomington, and won the Brass Spitoon. I do not think there has ever been a trophy whose history was discussed as much as the Spitoon’s was today.
Kudos to the Indiana writer for nailing his score prediction, though he did get it backwards.
VICTORY FOR MSU!!!