Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Overtimes, shutouts and an Old Brass Spittoon: Indiana’s history with Michigan State


Indiana football has struggled against Michigan State since the two first met on the gridiron in 1922. The Hoosiers’ record against the Spartans currently stands at 16-48-2. 

The first four matchups between the two ended without a Michigan State win — Indiana won in 1922, 1927 and 1940, and later tied the Spartans in 1939.

The two have played for the Old Brass Spittoon trophy since the 1950 season. 

The Hoosiers have gone 2-3 against the Spartans in their last five meetings and will look to even that up with a win Saturday in Bloomington.

2020 - Indiana 24, Michigan State 0

Indiana’s 2020 win over Michigan State was its first since 2016 and the first time the Hoosiers had held the Spartans scoreless since 1993. 

The game was Spartans head coach Mel Tucker’s first against the Hoosiers after the resignation of former head coach Mark Dantonio, who went 10-1 against the Hoosiers in his career. 

Indiana scored all 24 of its points in the first half, with 10 points coming off of interceptions from then-sophomore defensive back Tiawan Mullen. 

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. throws the ball Sept. 28, 2019, in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. No. 10 IU plays Michigan State on Saturday for the Old Brass Spittoon trophy. Alex Deryn

2019 - Indiana 31, Michigan State 40

Indiana took the lead from Michigan State early in the fourth quarter in 2019 and managed to tie the game with a touchdown pass right before the two-minute warning. 

Those last two minutes spelled doom for the Hoosiers thanks to a field goal from the Spartans and a fumble recovery for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

2018 - Indiana 21, Michigan State 35

Indiana couldn’t get its running game going against Michigan State in 2018, rushing for just 29 yards on 32 attempts. 

The Hoosiers brought the game within just seven points in the fourth quarter, nearly overcoming a 28-7 deficit. Indiana couldn’t find those final seven points, and a 75-yard touchdown run from Michigan State sealed its 35-21 win.

2017 - Indiana 9, Michigan State 17

2017’s matchup marked the beginning of three consecutive starts against Indiana for Michigan State’s quarterback Brian Lewerke, who would later win all three of those starts. The Hoosiers traded field goals with the Spartans for the first three quarters of play, taking a 9-3 lead early in the fourth quarter. Michigan State finally found the endzone on a Lewerke touchdown pass, and a late rushing touchdown from Spartans running back LJ Scott cemented the win.

2016 - Indiana 24, Michigan State 21

Indiana, donning chrome helmets, defeated Michigan State for the first time in 10 years during the 2016 season. Indiana went scoreless in the first quarter before two touchdown passes and a receiving touchdown from quarterback Richard Lagow allowed the team to take the lead. Michigan State sent the game into overtime with a touchdown pass. The Hoosiers rushed down the field in overtime, and kicker Griffin Oakes’s first attempt was called back thanks to a Spartans personal foul. Oakes’s second attempt rang true for the Indiana win.

Then-sophomore safety Brandon Mosley prepares to spit into the Old Brass Spittoon after Indiana's 46-21 victory against Michigan State on Oct. 28, 2006, in Memorial Stadium. IDS file photo

2006 - Indiana 46, Michigan State 21

Indiana took down Michigan State at home in 2006 behind six touchdowns from quarterback Kellen Lewis. The Hoosiers had been winless against the Spartans since 2001. Indiana’s 46 points were the most it had produced since 2001 as well. The Hoosiers had a wide advantage in first downs, picking up 26 while holding the Spartans to eight. 

1993 - Indiana 10, Michigan State 0

Indiana, coached by Bill Mallory, took on Michigan State at home on the eve of Halloween in 1993, earning its fourth consecutive win in shutout fashion. 

It was the Hoosers’ first ranked win of that season. 

Indiana’s defense stifled Michigan State’s running game, which only picked up 41 yards on 30 carries. The game’s only touchdown came, in part, thanks to Indiana punter Jim DiGuilio scrambling into Spartan territory on a fourth and nine. Running back Jermaine Chaney took it from there on a 17-yard touchdown run.

1950 - Indiana 0, Michigan State 35

The 1950 game was the first battle for the Old Brass Spittoon.

Following a narrow win over the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State looked to avoid an upset by Indiana the week after. According to The State News, Michigan State junior class president Gene McDermott teamed up with class secretary Virginia O’Brien to find a trophy to rally the team. The two found a spittoon, said to have been used by residents of Indiana and Michigan at a trading post near East Lansing, Michigan, in an antique shop.

McDermott reached out to the Indiana student senate about the new trophy.

“We the students of Indiana University hereby accept your challenge,” the senate replied.

Indiana would fall to Michigan State 35-0, and the Spartans claimed the Old Brass Spittoon for the first time. The Hoosiers would go on to win the Old Brass Spittoon for the first time in 1958 after a 6-0 win.

Get stories like this in your inbox