In close games, it usually pays off to have a veteran quarterback under center. That was especially true in Michigan State’s 40-31 win over Indiana on Saturday. Mark Dantonio knows it, too.

When the Spartans needed to make some big plays late in the game, Lewerke pulled through. With the game knotted a 31-31 late in the fourth quarter, Lewerke found Darrell Stewart 41 yards down the field for a big play to get into Indiana territory. On the next play, Lewerke picked up 30 yards on a run to get to the IU 1-yard line.

Those two plays set up a game-winning field goal by Matt Coghlin. The extra six points came on a fumble recovery in the end zone as time expired.

After the game, Dantonio had plenty of praise for his senior quarterback. The head coach commended Lewerke for making big plays in the winning moments. He also said that Lewerke’s experience in these situations was huge down the stretch.

Below are some of Dantonio’s post-game comments, as posted by Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.

Lewerke finished the afternoon completing 18-of-36 yards for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He also ended the game as the team’s leading rusher, totaling 78 yards on 12 carries.

Michigan State improved to 4-1 on the season with the win and is 2-0 in B1G play with victories over Northwestern and Indiana. Next week, the Spartans take on Ohio State in Columbus.