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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

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Indiana football’s defense handcuffed to offense in 20-15 loss against No. 10 Michigan State


No. 10 Michigan State needed eight yards on third down to a first midway through the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne scrambled to the right, avoiding the rush from Indiana football’s defense — except for senior linebacker Micah McFadden.

McFadden found Thorne behind the line of scrimmage, bringing him to the ground to force a punt and keep Indiana’s chances alive. Indiana’s offense gained 22 yards before losing five and punting.

Indiana’s defense gave its offense multiple opportunities in its 20-15 homecoming loss to Michigan State on Saturday in Bloomington.

“Football’s a team game,” McFadden said in a postgame press conference. “Everyone’s responsible when something like this happens.”

Related: COLUMN: Indiana football’s defense should break up with its offense

Michigan State junior running back Kenneth Walker III was the nation’s leading rusher heading into the matchup Saturday. Indiana’s defense stifled him throughout the day, limiting Walker to 84 yards on 23 attempts.

Allen said Walker made defenders miss tackles with moves in open field, and the coaching staff planned to keep him boxed in.

“We had some principles, some things from a technique perspective, schematically that we were trying to do,” head coach Tom Allen said. “I thought coach (Charlton) Warren did a great job implementing those things.”

When Indiana’s defense wasn’t stopping it, Michigan State’s offense was hurting itself with penalties. Michigan State’s offense committed nine penalties for 80 yards throughout the game, four of which occurred on third and fourth downs.

Junior quarterback Jack Tuttle threw an interception in the first half which redshirt freshman linebacker Cal Haladay returned to the end zone, giving the Spartans their only score in the first half. Otherwise, Michigan State never left its own territory during the first half.

Related: Instant recap: Indiana football loses to No. 10 Michigan State 20-15

The Hoosiers’ defense forced the Spartans to punt before reaching their own 35-yard line on all three of their second-quarter drives. Indiana’s offense turned those punts into a single field goal from junior kicker Charles Campbell.

Indiana elected to defer after winning the coin toss at the beginning of the game and received the ball first in the second half. Indiana found its way into opposing territory before punting on the Michigan State 39-yard line.

After Michigan State took the lead, Indiana’s defense gave its offense the opportunity to take it back after sophomore defensive back Josh Sanguinetti intercepted a pass fromThorne over the middle.

The Hoosiers gave the ball back five plays later when Tuttle was hit while attempting to throw, tossing an interception to  sophomore safety Darius Snow.

Related: Indiana football’s Aaron Steinfeldt is driven by family on the field and at home

“I’ve just gotta take care of the ball, take the sack if I get pressured,” Tuttle said. “That’s it.”

Down by 5 points with just over three minutes left in the game, Indiana’s offense had its final chance when junior defensive back Noah Pierre intercepted Thorne on a throw to the end zone. 

Indiana didn’t leave its own territory after gaining 17 yards. After a personal foul penalty call, Tuttle gave up a sack before eventually turning the ball over on downs. Michigan State bled what was left of the clock to seal Indiana’s fate.

“Our defense played awesome,” Allen said. “They did everything we would ask them to do, except maybe score.”

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