No. 25 Michigan State outlasts Indiana 40-31
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Matt Coghlin made a tie-breaking 21-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining, and No. 25 Michigan State beat Indiana 40-31 on Saturday.
After Coghlin’s kick gave the Spartans (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) a 34-31 lead, Indiana tried to lateral its way down the field on its final offensive play, but that resulted in a fumble that Michigan State recovered for a touchdown.
Brian Lewerke threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans, who held off the upset-minded Hoosiers (3-2, 0-2) on a rare day when Michigan State’s defense struggled. Michael Penix Jr. returned for Indiana after missing the previous two games with an undisclosed injury — and he gave the Spartans fits, completing 20 passes in a row during one stretch.
“It definitely feels good to be able to score when we need to and drive down there at the end and get points, when the defense wasn’t having their best day,” Lewerke said. “Which doesn’t happen a lot — but I’m glad we played well today.”
Penix threw for three touchdowns, including an 11-yarder to Whop Philyor that tied the game at 31 with 2:00 remaining. Lewerke immediately led the Spartans back down the field. Darrell Stewart outfought defensive back Jaylin Williams for a 44-yard reception, then Lewerke broke free for a 30-yard run that put the ball at the 1.
Rather than try to score right away, the Spartans ran the clock down and set up Coghlin’s kick.
“Tough way to lose. Proud of our team, how our kids fought,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “It’s hard to face them in the locker room knowing how hard they played. Look them in the eyes, and there’s a lot of tears in there. And there should be.”
Elijah Collins gave Michigan State a 7-0 lead with a 4-yard scoring run, but Indiana answered late in the first quarter with a 28-yard TD pass from Penix to Philyor.
Lewerke put the Spartans back ahead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Stewart in the second, but Penix scored on a 2-yard run to tie it at 14.
Lewerke found Stewart for a 26-yard TD with 33 seconds left in the half.
Penix completed his last seven pass attempts of the first half and his first 13 of the second, but Michigan State held the Hoosiers to a field goal in the red zone to start the third quarter.
Indiana went ahead 24-21 with 14:52 remaining in the fourth on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Penix to Donavan Hale, who appeared to make the catch with one hand while cornerback Josiah Scott was draped all over him.
Michigan State went back ahead 28-24 with 12:12 remaining when Lewerke threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Matt Seybert.
Indiana: The Hoosiers had an impressive game plan, throwing quick, short passes and largely negating Michigan State’s pass rush. It wasn’t enough for a win, but Penix is a redshirt freshman and seems to have a bright future.
Michigan State: The Spartans’ offense has been deservedly criticized this year, but this is now back-to-back games with more than 30 points. Lewerke and Co. responded under pressure late in this one.
The Spartans were barely in the Top 25, and this wasn’t an especially convincing win — but unlike in their previous home game against Arizona State, they were able to prevail in the end.
Indiana: The Hoosiers are off next weekend before hosting Rutgers on Oct. 12.
Michigan State: The Spartans play at Ohio State next Saturday night.