Spartans Get Offensive In Win At Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Brian Hoyer turned the tables on Indiana and silenced his critics, too.
Instead of letting headliner Javon Ringer dominate again Saturday, Hoyer sliced up a makeshift secondary that seemed to forget about defending anybody in a Michigan State uniform other than Ringer.
Hoyer ran for one touchdown and threw for two more scores before letting Ringer wrap up a bizarre 42-29 victory over the Hoosiers.
"We knew what they were going to be doing," Hoyer said. "We knew what coverages they were going to be in, and we were able to use that to our advantage and came out and exposed them when they tried to take away the run."
Yes, Ringer finished with his usual numbers although that surprised Hoyer.
Ringer had 44 carries for 198 yards, barely missing out on a third straight 200-yard game. But 92 of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the Spartans were protecting a lead that never seemed safe in this wacky battle for the Old Brass Spittoon.
The Hoosiers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) and Michigan State (4-1, 1-0) traded big plays and miscues all day, combining for 970 total yards, two safeties, a blocked punt and endured a litany of replay reviews -- none of which were overturned.
Yet all that was nothing compared to the craziest play of the day. With the Hoosiers trailing 34-29 late in the third quarter, Indiana backup quarterback Ben Chappell hit a wide open Terrance Turner streaking across the middle. Turner caught it in stride and sprinted 65 yards before diving across the goal line for what appeared to be a 97-yard touchdown.
Instead, the yellow hankie laying 105 yards away in the Hoosiers' end zone was for holding on right guard Cody Faulkner, giving the Spartans a safety and a 36-29 lead. Chappell thought the call was going to be roughing the passer, but replays clearly showed Faulkner twisting a Michigan State defender around with his hands.
Indiana never recovered from the nine-point, momentum-changing swing that drew boos from the Hoosiers crowd for the next several plays.
"I think that definitely hurt us," Turner said. "But I think you can't necessarily look at that as the only reason we lost."
It was that kind of day.
The Indiana defense spent all week plotting to stop Ringer, who had won a record three straight conference offensive player of the week awards and made a strong case for his fourth in a row Saturday. While the Hoosiers did a reasonably good job forcing Ringer into a more workmanlike role, the Spartans adjusted.
Hoyer continually found open receivers on third down, finishing 14-of-26 for 261 yards with two TDs including a career-long 82-yarder to Charlie Gantt when safety Jerimy Finch missed on an interception attempt late in the first half.
Ringer didn't mind being relegated to the support role.
"If everybody wants to key on me, that's fine, we'll just throw it every down because we have a tremendous quarterback and good receivers," he said. "When Brian's on his game, we'll be successful."
On offense, the Hoosiers mixed things up, too.
They rotated quarterbacks Kellen Lewis and Chappell until Lewis injured his left leg late in the first quarter. Lewis eventually returned early in the second half, and Chappell did an admirable job in his first significant action as a college player, going 11-of-23 for 107 yards with one interception.
Lewis was 12-of-21 for 177 yards with 2 TDs, including the longest of his career -- a 79-yarder to Marcus Thigpen on his first pass after returning.
Thigpen, too, had a big day, running nine times for 113 yards with scoring runs of 6 and 78 yards while catching two passes for 94 yards.
But Michigan State made more big plays.
They were balanced enough to get 1-yard TD runs from Hoyer and Ringer, a 14-yard TD catch from Mark Dell, the long one to Gantt, three long field goals including a career-best 48-yarder from Brett Swenson and the touchdown-turned-safety that changed the game.
"People have been questioning the passing game," Hoyer said. "But when you look at it we really haven't had to pass and when we had to, we did. We were able to mix it up and still were able to pound the ball and if we can do that, we'll be tough to beat."

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