Michigan State’s offense shined Saturday, as the Spartans came away with a 42-28 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers.
Jeremy Langford found the end zone four times for Michigan State in a game that served as both homecoming as well as the 500th football game in Spartan Stadium history. The win improves the Spartans to 5-1 on the season while the Hoosiers drop to 3-3.
Coming into today, much of the key to the game would be based off of whether or not Michigan State could contain the Indiana hurry up offense. After Indiana got out to a fast start last year, scoring 17 quick points in the first quarter, it was going to be interesting to see what would happen this time around.
And what happened was a 64 yard touchdown run by Indiana sophomore running back Tevin Coleman on the fourth play of the game, and just like that it was a 7-0 Indiana lead a minute into the game.
From there, after swapping a few punts, Michigan State would take over from their own 17 yard line with 5:27 to go in the first quarter. It was then that the Spartans went on a 15 play, 83 yard touchdown drive that ate 6:53 off the game clock, culminating in a Langford 11 touchdown reception, the first of four times that he would find pay dirt on the day.
The rest of the half would be a similar story as Michigan State scored 21 points in the 2nd quarter, sustaining long drives, dominating time of possession and keeping the Indiana offense off the field, taking a 21-14 lead into the half.
“It was huge,” MSU Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi said of the offense’s ability to stay on the field. “We’re up in the press box just saying `tic toc’, `tic toc’, just let that clock run. Our offense did a great job of controlling the ball. I don’t look at stats too much but the one stat I did look at was 18 minutes in time of possession in that first half.”
In the second half, Michigan State continued to move the ball at will, opening with a 75 yard drive capped off by Langford, who found his way into the end zone for the third time that day giving Michigan State a 28-14 lead.
After Indiana answered with a quick drive of their own, the Spartans answered right back with Langford scoring again, this time from 32 yards out, to once again put Michigan State back up by two scores, 35-21. Langford would finish the day with 23 carries for 109 yards and one reception for 11 yards with four touchdowns all in total.
“It felt good,” Langford said of having a big game. “The offense executed very well. The offensive line had one of their best games. The quarterback had a good game and the receivers did a good job blocking down field.”
Possibly one of the brighter points to the game on Saturday for the Spartans happened on a drive that began at the Michigan State 27 yard line with 14:02 to go in the game. On a drive where every yard was gained by an MSU true freshman, Delton Williams started the drive with a 37 yard run, while two plays later RJ Shelton ran it in from 35 yards out to give Michigan State a 42-21 lead.
“We’ve got different guys making plays,” MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said. “That’s what’s exciting to me…Young players transitioning into play makers for us and that’s the thing that I felt like would happen.”
From that point on, save for a late Indiana touchdown, Michigan State closed the game out and sent the homecoming crowd home happy with a 42-28 Spartan victory.
For the Spartan offense, it is no doubt that this is the best they’ve looked all season, possibly even in the past two years.
Quarterback Connor Cook once again led a methodical Michigan State attack that went on six touchdown drives, finishing the game going 22-31, with 235 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, the lone mishap coming off of a tipped pass.
“I think he’s growing,” Dantonio said of Cook’s play on Saturday. “There’s a big learning curve. There always is for a young player. But he can make plays.”
Also, in addition to Langford’s already stellar game on the ground, true freshman running back Delton Williams also made an impact, bouncing back from an early fumble to gain 92 yards on 12 carries.
“I just felt comfortable out there,” Williams said. “Felt good being out there with the rest of the guys contributing. It was good to get the win, all that matters is winning.”
Up next for the Michigan State football team, they’ll take on Purdue (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten) next Saturday in East Lansing. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 pm.
Follow Ryan Squanda on Twitter @squandaryan