BLOOMINGTON – For the first time since 2006, the Indiana Hoosiers (3-1, 1-0) hoist the Old Brass Spittoon following a 24-21 overtime upset win over No. 17 Michigan State. Griffin Oakes 20-yard field goal in the first overtime period clinched Indiana’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2014.
“I’m proud of the team. That was a hard win,” said Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson. “We had a thought process early in the week that we were just going to try everything we could to get it into the fourth quarter. Didn’t know if we could, but that was an important part of our style in the first half. Defensively, we hung in there and we didn’t try to take a lot of risks early, because last week we did, kind of burned us a little bit…We’ve been in those games and we just talked all week about trying to play as hard as we could and take it down the stretch playing hard. Just look at the end to see if it would be enough and we were lucky enough it was tonight.”
Nearing the end of the third quarter with a 14-0 deficit, Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow sparked a comeback with a five-yard touchdown reception on Mitchell Page’s toss on a throwback play. The touchdown was the first of Indiana’s 21 unanswered points to put the Spartans (2-2, 0-2) on the ropes late in regulation.
Lagow completed 16 passes for 276 yards with two scores. The junior gunslinger finished the game with a nearly flawless fourth quarter, going five-for-six with 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Indiana’s defense delivered the win to Oakes and the Hoosiers after blanking the Spartans on their offensive possession in overtime. Patrick Dougherty and Nate Hoff sacked Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor on back-to-back downs, holding the Spartans to a deep field goal try. Michael Geiger lined up for a 49-yard attempt, but his kick slipped outside of the uprights.
“We focused a lot on our pass rush this week in practice,” Dougherty said. “We focused on getting the edge. That was a huge emphasize. We did not feel that we played up to our standards last weekend. As far as the play goes, it was a simple boundary blitz. I was just getting out to contain, made a move and he was right there.”
For the second week running, Tegray Scales led all Indiana defenders in the tackle tally with 14, including eight solo takedowns and 1.5 tackles for loss. Marcus Oliver forced a fumble to go along with seven solo tackles, while Rashard Fant and A’Shon Riggins split four of Indiana’s five pass break-ups.
“It was a big win,” said Scales. “It’s a big momentum boost for us. I think to move forward, we just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing to give us that success.”
Ricky Jones hauled in 100-plus receiving yards for the second time this season to lead Indiana’s aerial attack, including a 22-yard touchdown reception on a wheel route to tie the game at 14-14. Devine Redding led all rushers with 100 yards on 19 carries, his sixth career triple-digit outing. Redding julienned the Spartan defense on a 36-yard dash to the right sideline, which culminated in Indiana’s go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Lagow finished the game with a nearly flawless fourth quarter, going five-for-six with 91 yards and two touchdowns.
“It felt great,” said Lagow on his performance down the stretch. “I just kept believing in my teammates, myself and the coaches. Good things like this happen when you work hard, trust yourself and just play. It was good for it to click like that and come out with the victory. ”
Michigan State knotted the game at 21-all with 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, capping a 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass from O’Connor to Josiah Price. Indiana forced a decisive fourth down after Oliver stuffed the run for a one-yard loss, but O’Connor’s third touchdown of the game pushed the prime time action into overtime.
The Spartans ascended to a 7-0 lead with the only score of the first half when O’Connor located R.J. Shelton downfield for an 86-yard touchdown pass. Another 24-yard touchdown toss from O’Connor to Delton Williams pushed Michigan State’s lead to 14-0, four minutes before the Hoosiers mounted their comeback.
Indiana took a deep reach into the playbook for their first score of the game following Jones’ field-swapping 57-yard reception. Lagow handed off to Paige on a right side sweep, but rather than continuing the run, Paige stepped back and lobbed his pass attempt back to Lagow. The pass was perfect, and Lagow hauled in the touchdown on the wide-open left side of the end zone.
“We practiced it a lot, and Rich made an incredible catch,” Paige said. “We actually practiced quite a bit, I’m just really happy it worked out and I was excited that it worked out. I like throwing touchdowns.”
Lagow and the Hoosiers delivered in the clutch with their game-tying touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter. Redding’s 14 yards on two plays led to Luke Timian’s 40-yard catch down the sideline, giving Indiana a chance in scoring position. After ten yards on the ground from Natee, Lagow hit Jones on a 22-yard wheel route for the equalizing score.
Redding broke his 36-yard run, which ended with a hurdle over a Spartan defender, to put the Hoosiers in the red zone with a chance to take their first lead of the game. Tyler Natee barreled for a first down between two carries, enough to lull the Spartan defense into surrendering Paige’s 15-yard touchdown snag. The senior created space with his out-and-up pattern, leaving Lagow with an open toss towards the left pylon.
The Hoosiers recovered the ball in the second possession of overtime, hoping to put the win away for good. Redding and Natee pounded the ball forward to shorten Oakes’ game winner, and a Michigan State penalty pushed the Hoosiers near the extra point hash mark. Oakes split the uprights on the 20-yard field goal to lift the Hoosiers to their first overtime win since 2010.
Indiana returns to action next weekend, when they face a tough road test at second-ranked Ohio State (4-0, 1-0). The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.