BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana finally took advantage of its opportunities Saturday night and delivered a signature Big Ten win for coach Kevin Wilson.
Richard Lagow caught one touchdown pass and threw for two more. The Hoosiers forced Michael Geiger to try a 49-yard field goal after back-to-back sacks. And after Griffin Oakes missed his third field goal of the game, a leaping call against No. 17 Michigan State gave him a second chance and he made a 20-yarder two plays later to complete an improbable come-from-behind, 24-21 upset over the Spartans.
The exuberant Hoosiers ran down the field to get their hands on the Old Brass Spittoon, the series’ trophy that they hadn’t won since 2006.
"They’re excited about winning," Wilson said. "I think they knew if we played hard and got into the fourth quarter that we’d have a chance, and we did."
Indiana (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) won its first overtime game in six years and got its second win in 26 tries over a ranked foe, but it wasn’t easy.
The Hoosiers nearly won it in regulation with a goal-line stand after a replay review overturned a tying TD run by the Spartans. Instead, Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor found a wide-open Josiah Price for a 2-yard TD pass with 11 seconds to go to tie the score.
In overtime, after Geiger pushed his kick to the left, Oakes also missed his to the left before the leaping call on Drake Martinez.
Michigan State (2-2, 0-2) has lost back-to-back games for the first time since November 2012 despite holding the usually prolific Hoosiers scoreless until the final minute of the third quarter.
"Great drive at the end of the game to tie it up, but not very good in overtime — that’s for sure," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "We were sacked twice, we jump over the pile. Very disappointed. Now we have to claw our way back into things."
Michigan State: The Spartans knew they faced a big challenge after Connor Cook and Co. graduated. But nobody in East Lansing could have expected a 0-2 start in conference play. Now the defending Big Ten champs no longer control their own destiny, either, falling two games behind No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan and unbeaten Maryland in the East Division.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ turnaround continues. After making the postseason for the first time since 2007 last year, they now have two trophies — the Old Oaken Bucket and spittoon — on campus for the first time since 2001.
Michigan State: The Spartans will likely slide out of the rankings this week and will find it tough to make it back in without an upset of the Wolverines or Buckeyes — or both — later this season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ victory may garner some votes but probably not enough to move into the rankings.
O’Connor’s 86-yard TD pass to R.J. Shelton was the longest by an opponent in Memorial Stadium, breaking the previous mark of 82 yards set by the Spartans in 2008. It also was the fourth-longest pass play against the Hoosiers, matching the length of a TD pass Kirk Gibson caught in 1978.
The most significant injury was to Michigan State cornerback Darian Hicks, who left with what appeared to be a hip or waist injury. Dantonio did not provide an update after the game. The Spartans had several players leave during the game but the others were not thought to be serious. Michigan State played without linebacker Riley Bullough for the second straight week. Indiana didn’t appear to sustain any additional injuries but played again without right tackle Dimitric Camiel (back) and right guard Dan Feeney (concussion).
Michigan State: Next weekend, the Spartans host BYU but they can’t afford another slip-up. They need to start building momentum for the Big Ten race.
Indiana: The Hoosiers visit No. 2 Ohio State next weekend, a team they’ve challenged in recent years but still haven’t beaten since 1990 — or in Columbus since 1987.