IU senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle hardly says much. But in a moment of frustration, he slapped the Michigan State turf despite being well-defended on a goal-line pass.
He let a throw slip right through his outstretched fingertips as he fell to the ground.
When the football hits Fryfogle in the hands, especially in the end zone, the team expects him to come away with the catch.
“I was just really upset because I actually had the ball in my hands,” Fryfogle said. “And actually, back to last year, I caught a ball in that same spot and stepped out for the touchdown. So that just fueled me up for the next play.”
On the very next play, Fryfogle caught a swing pass from sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and muscled his way through defenders down the left sideline for a 16-yard touchdown.
It was the first of two touchdown receptions for Fryfogle in the first half against the Spartans.
He caught 11 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 24-0 win over Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, Michigan. For the second straight week, one half was all Fryfogle needed to help lead the Hoosiers to a victory.
“Ty works extremely hard in practice, it’s something he does every day,” Penix said. “It’s nothing really new to us, but he comes out and competes all the time. He competes for the ball every time it’s in the air.”
Last week, in a 38-21 victory over Michigan, Fryfogle set career highs with seven receptions and 142 yards. He didn’t record a catch in the second half of the game. And before Saturday, he never had more than one 100-yard performance in a single season.
Fryfogle shattered those personal records against Michigan State and posted nine receptions for 178 yards in the first half alone. His performance was topped off by a 65-yard touchdown reception to give IU a 24-0 lead in the second quarter with 4:56 left to play.
Penix’s back-shoulder throw forced Fryfogle to tiptoe along the right sideline for the catch. After a Michigan State defensive back fell attempting to deflect the pass, no one was going to catch him.
He added another two catches for 22 yards in a scoreless second half.
“If you have a good first half, the defense has to adjust to what you’re doing and make you switch up your game plan,” Fryfogle said. “We still ended up doing what we needed to do in the second half.”
Fryfogle now has back-to-back games of more than 100 yards receiving and a touchdown catch in three straight games. His 200 receiving yards rank seventh most in a single game in program history.
On the season, Fryfogle leads the team with 24 receptions, 424 yards and four touchdowns.
IU head coach Tom Allen said Fryfogle is a physically tough receiver that loves the game and works hard in practice. He may not say much, but he’s starting to show how far his efforts can take him on the football field. After two strong performances, the Hoosiers are now 4-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1987.
“Just grit, toughness, fight. That’s our program,” Allen said. “So, to me, that’s an awesome thing, and the team is full of guys like him. It’s just neat to see a kid come from south Mississippi, believe in us, come all the way up here and be rewarded with great opportunities.”