Michigan State Pounds Indiana

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's best defense might be a high-powered, ball control offense.
The Spartans dominated time of possession and kept the ball away from explosive Indiana on Saturday to secure a 52-27 victory on homecoming. The win, assisted by a defense that played much better than in recent weeks, snaps a six-game Big Ten losing streak for Michigan State (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten).
Javon Ringer rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. The ground game picked up 368 yards overall, a big factor in helping Michigan State keep the ball for more than 41 minutes, compared to nearly 19 for the Hoosiers (5-2, 2-2).
"We've demonstrated that's who we're going to be ... just have balance," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "You take time off the clock from a defensive perspective ... you have to know how to play against the various types of offenses that come in."
Brian Hoyer was 20-for-23 for 190 yards and a TD for the Spartans, who led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter. Jehuu Caulcrick rushed for three TDs and 94 yards and Devin Thomas caught 13 passes for 148 yards and a TD.
Michigan State has been susceptible to the big play in recent years, including back to back losses to Wisconsin and Northwestern this season. But the Hoosiers' big playmakers were kept off the field for much of Saturday's game. Michigan State ran 90 offensive plays compared to 36 for Indiana.
Kellen Lewis ran for a TD and passed for another for the Hoosiers (5-2, 2-2). James Hardy caught six passes for 121 yards and a TD.
"They dominated from start to finish," Indiana coach Bill Lynch said of the Spartans. "It was one of those games."
Michigan State is trying to get back to a bowl game after missing out on the postseason the past three seasons. The Spartans need one more win in their last five games to become bowl eligible.
Indiana hasn't been in a bowl since 1993, by far the longest drought in the Big Ten. One more win would make the Hoosiers bowl eligible.
The Spartans, coming off two straight losses and hoping to fire up themselves and a homecoming crowd, used a fake field goal on the game's opening possession to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Caulcrick.
But Indiana answered on its first play from scrimmage. Lewis faked an inside handoff, then cut hard to his right, streaking down the sideline 59 yards to tie the game at 7.
Then Michigan State took over with a ball-control offense, chewing up clock and keeping the ball away from the explosive Hoosiers.
"I liked the way we came back and played hard," Dantonio said of his players. "The crowd was into it."
Ringer's 64-yard TD run early in the second quarter gave the Spartans a 24-10 lead. He started to his right, cut back left all the way across the line of scrimmage, then streaked down the left sideline, aided by receiver Terry Love's key block.
"Everything I did out there really has to go to my offensive line and my receivers blocking down the field," Ringer said. "They made my job easy."
Michigan State stretched the lead to 45-13 in the third quarter when Jonal Saint-Dic caused a Lewis fumble deep in Indiana territory. The fumble was scooped up by Ervin Baldwin and returned 12 yards for a touchdown.
"We were very motivated," Baldwin said. "We came out and put it on our shoulders to come out with a win."
The Spartans sacked Lewis five times. The Hoosiers were limited to 193 yards of total offense.
"It's frustrating," Hardy said. "We didn't have a chance to get going, we didn't have a chance to get in sync."
Indiana crept back to within 45-27 late in the third quarter, which ended with the Hoosiers' Tracy Porter returning a Michigan State fumble 76 yards for a TD.
Michigan State has dominated the series against Indiana for the Old Brass Spittoon, winning nine of the last 11.


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