EAST LANSING – Needing one more win to become bowl eligible, Michigan State had a 17-point lead in the third quarter at home against Indiana.
That wasn’t enough for the Spartans to hold on and get a much-needed victory.
Indiana (4-7, 2-6) rallied late and pulled out a 39-31 win in double overtime against Michigan State (5-6, 3-5) on Saturday. The Hoosiers snapped a seven-game losing streak and ended Michigan State’s two-game winning streak, while winning the Old Brass Spittoon.
After blowing the lead, the Spartans had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Ben Patton missed a 22-yard field goal as time expired. Patton’s 28-yard attempt in the first overtime was blocked, but Michigan State followed by blocking Charles Campbell’s 37-yard field goal to force a second overtime.
Shaun Shivers had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second overtime and the Hoosiers added the 2-point conversion. Payton Thorne’s fourth-down pass in the second overtime was incomplete at the back of the end zone, ending the game.
It was the home finale for the Spartans, who closed the regular season at No. 11 Penn State next week.
Thorne finished 27-for-42 passing for 298 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Jalen Berger had 21 carries for 119 yards and Elijah Collins posted 19 rushes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Making his first career start in just his third game, Indiana’s Dexter Williams II was just 2-for-7 passing for 31 yards but had 16 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Indiana entered Saturday’s game averaging only 85.3 rushing yards per game and finished with 257, as Shivers had 13 rushes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan State remained shorthanded due to eight defensive players who are suspended indefinitely and missed their third straight game, while starters in all three phases of the game were also out. And it was a poor start for the Spartans, who gave up a 43-yard return on the opening kickoff and then Indiana capitalized on the short field. Williams scored on a 34-yard run to put the Hoosiers up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Michigan State had a chance to quickly tie the game and a pass interference call led to first and goal from the 2-yard. However, Berger was stuffed twice and Thorne threw the ball away while under pressure and the Spartans settled for a 19-yard field goal from Ben Patton on their first possession.
After Michigan State’s defense forced back-to-back punts, the offense cashed in with a little luck. Thorne’s pass bounced off the hands of running back Elijah Collins and tight end Malik Carr caught the deflection in the end zone. It was his first career touchdown and the Spartans took a 10-7 lead with 11:50 left in the opening half.
Michigan State followed that with another stop and another touchdown drive, this time spanning 69 yards and nine plays. Elijah Collins scored on a 1-yard run for a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Spartans made it 24 straight points on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Thorne to Coleman. That gave them a 24-7 lead with 51 seconds left in the second quarter and stood as the halftime score.
Michigan State went three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half for its first punt of the day and it took Indiana only one play to cut into the deficit. Shivers scored on a 79-yard run to nearly double the total number of yards for the Hoosiers, who pulled within 10 points.
The Spartans responded with a six-play, 69-yard drive with Collins leading the way. He found the end zone for the second time of the day with a 31-yard run midway through the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jaylin Lucas returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown allowed by Michigan State since a 2017 win against Western Michigan.
The Spartans gave the ball back one play later as Thorne’s pass was deflected and intercepted by Jonathan Haynes at the 29-yard line. That led to a 40-yard field goal by Charles Campbell as the Hoosiers pulled within seven points.
Michigan State’s third punt of the second half was followed by Indiana’s fourth touchdown. Josh Henderson scored on a 1-yard run as the Hoosiers tied the game at 31 with 12:59 left in the fourth quarter.
With the game still tied, Michigan State got the ball back with 5:36 remaining. A defensive holding call on Indiana gave the Spartans a first down when they would have faced third-and-15. That helped the drive continue and Michigan State had a chance to win as time expired, but Patton’s 22-yard field goal was wide left, sending the game to overtime.