Rapid Reaction: Michigan State's defense shines in win over Indiana
Michigan State reverted to its old ways in Bloomington. The Spartans buckled up the chinstraps, dug their fingers into the turf and got after Indiana defensively.
The Spartans escaped Bloomington with a 35-21 win over Indiana on Saturday night, improving to 1-0 in B1G play. And that win comes courtesy of the defense.
After rushing for more than 200 yards in each of the first three games of the year, Indiana’s offense could muster only 29 yards on the ground. Stevie Scott was held in check and Peyton Ramsey wasn’t able to extend plays. The Michigan State defense swarmed the Hoosiers all night, forcing them to be a one-dimensional team.
For Mark Dantonio, that’s exactly what he wants to see from his defense.
Every week, Dantonio points to the ability to stop the run as a key for victory. The opponent doesn’t matter, the head coach’s message is always the same.
Stopping the run also allowed Michigan State to come up with some big plays against the passing game, as well. Shakur Brown recorded a pick-six early in the game to give the Spartans a 14-0 lead. Late in the contest, with Indiana hoping to make a last-second push, Antjuan Simmons came up with a game-winning pick.
Offensively it wasn’t the best night for the Spartans. Aside from a 75-yard touchdown run from Jalen Nailor to seal the victory, MSU’s run game was putrid again. Brian Lewerke wasn’t great either, completing just 14-of-25 passes for 213 yards. He had two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Michigan State’s first B1G win is credited to the defense, not an unusual thing in East Lansing. But it had to overcome another poor offensive performance. While the Spartans have proven to be solid on the defensive side of the football, they certainly won’t compete with Ohio State and Penn State unless the offense shows some improvement.
Saturday’s win over Indiana was an old-fashioned showing from the defense. Eventually, the offense is going to have to show up, too.