2011 Michigan State Spartans Football
Michigan State Spartans vs Indiana Hoosiers Football Recap
Michigan State 55, Indiana 3
The Michigan State football team took the field this past weekend knowing that it might have needed to stay sharp for future battles. Now, perhaps, a championship team can take a break before playing the game it wants more than any other.
Michigan State knew that it could beat Indiana at Spartan Stadium and still fail to lock up the Big Ten Legends Division. If Nebraska had beaten Michigan on Saturday, Sparty would have had to win at Northwestern on Nov. 26 in order to earn a shot at the Rose Bowl, the holy grail for all Big Ten teams. However, since Michigan toppled Nebraska, Michigan State won’t have to worry about its road date against Northwestern. The Spartans clinched the Legends Division crown with a blowout win over the Indiana Hoosiers in their final home game of the season on Saturday in East Lansing. The Spartans are now guaranteed a spot in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. They can treat the Northwestern game as a scrimmage if they wish. While Wisconsin faces Penn State for the Leaders Division title, MSU can play backups against Northwestern so it will be fresh for the Big Ten’s first official title tilt. That’s the value of this blowout against the hapless, helpless Hoosiers.
Kirk Cousins completed 16 of 23 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns in his final home game at Michigan State. Spartan Receiver B.J. Cunningham caught six passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Keshawn Martin caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, and ran for a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter to lend ballast to a bold and potent Michigan State offense.
Cousins threw two long touchdown passes in the first quarter: a 63-yarder to Cunningham, and a 47-yarder to Martin. The Spartans led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter and 34-3 at halftime. They didn’t waste time or mess around the way past MSU teams have done against manifestly inferior competition. The ability to lay a supreme beatdown on Indiana marked the increase in maturity that has defined (and accompanied) the rise of Spartan football under head coach Mark Dantonio.
Running back Edwin Baker ran for two touchdowns to join the Sparty party. The Spartans outgained the Hoosiers, 470-236. The Michigan State defense forced two turnovers and held Indiana to a 3-of-15 success rate on third downs. This was a comprehensive display, one with no acute or appreciable weaknesses. It’s the kind of airtight performance that the locals in East Lansing have been waiting for. MSU fans were excited to see Michigan State win at Iowa for the first time since 1989 the week before, but they had to be somewhat surprised that the Spartans – so often an up-and-down team in the past – maintained a steady upward progression this time around.
True freshman Tre Roberson struggled at quarterback for the Hoosiers, throwing for just 92 yards, and was intercepted twice. One of Roberson’s picks was returned 86 yards for a touchdown by Michigan State’s Johnny Adams in the third quarter. Edward Wright-Baker, who Roberson replaced as IU’s starting quarterback several weeks ago, completed five-of-nine passes for 50 yards in relief of Roberson. Stephen Houston led the Hoosiers with 40 yards rushing.
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