No chance for Indiana in 55-3 loss to No. 12 MSU
A lost season for Indiana football got even worse Saturday afternoon.
The Hoosiers were routed 55-3 by No. 12 Michigan State as the Spartans clinched the Legends Division, providing little more than a way for several Michigan State seniors to finish their home careers on a high note.
Early in the third quarter, with Indiana (1-10, 0-7 Big Ten) on its way to its second 52-point loss this season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was able to start removing his seniors to standing ovations.
The Spartans even ran a trick play for guard Joel Foreman to get a carry before he came out of the game.
''Credit Michigan State - they are pretty good and they were ready to play,'' said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. ''But we had a very poor plan by us coaches and not very good playing from our kids.''
It was the third time in the last five games that Indiana had given up at least 55 points, including a 59-7 loss to Wisconsin and a 59-38 defeat at the hands of Northwestern. The Hoosiers lost non-conference games to Ball State and North Texas, with their only win coming over FCS member South Carolina State.
Even the little momentum they gained from the offensive production against Northwestern and last week's relatively close 34-20 loss to Ohio State disappeared by halftime in East Lansing.
''This is very disappointing,'' said senior receiver Dre Muhammad. ''I felt throughout the last couple weeks that we were making big strides.
''So to come out here today and play like we did across the board - that's a big disappointment. We just didn't play to our potential.''
Starting quarterback Tre Roberson completed only 10 of 23 pass attempts for 92 yards, and threw two interceptions, one of which was returned 86 yards for a touchdown.
''I thought we had a great game plan, but we came out here and played a real, real good team,'' he said. ''They are well coached, and they did everything that a good defense is supposed to do.''
The Spartans (9-2, 6-1) scored on their first two possessions, thanks to a pair of big passes from Kirk Cousins to B.J. Cunningham. The first, a 37-yarder, led to a 21-yard field goal by Dan Conroy. On the second, the Indiana defense bit hard on a play-fake, leaving Cunningham alone behind the defense for a 63-yard score.
Michigan State made it 17-0 before the first quarter was over as Cousins hit Keshawn Martin on the sideline. Martin avoided two poor tackles and raced into the end zone for a 47-yard score.
A failed fake punt gave the Hoosiers good field position, but they were only able to turn it into a 22-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald.
Nick Hill, though, returned the ensuing kickoff to the Indiana 24, and Martin took a sweep 19 yards for his second touchdown of the half.
Edwin Baker's 10-yard run made it 31-3 late in the second quarter, as the Hoosiers continued to struggle badly on both sides of the ball.
''That was just a poor performance,'' Wilson said. ''The defense was pretty bad, and we weren't good offensively.''
Another Conroy field goal put the Spartans up by 31 at the half.
After Cousins started the second half with the touchdown to Cunningham, Johnny Adams returned Roberson's interception for a 48-3 lead before Baker's second touchdown provided the final margin.
''We were bad today - we took a step back,'' defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. said. ''It just snowballed, but that's part of football. We have to forget this, go home and keep the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue.''