Bowl aspirations must wait another week for MSU after second-half collapse


Elijah Collins pushes up the field through defenders during Michigan State’s loss to Indiana on November 19, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

A.J. Evans, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING – The battle for the Old Brass Spittoon took place on Saturday in East Lansing. In frigid temperatures, wind, and snow flurries, the Spartans fell to the Indiana Hoosiers in a heartbreaking, double-overtime thriller. 

The last home game of the season for the Spartans ended 39-31, with two teams vying to keep their chances of making a bowl game alive. 

After a dominant first half, Michigan State had an abundance of errors in the second half, including an interception, an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 79-yard rushing touchdown to open the third quarter. An additional touchdown by Indiana’s Josh Henderson knotted the score at 31 apiece near the end of the fourth. 

With the wind and snow intensifying, the Spartans had a decision to make on their final drive of regulation. Sitting at fourth-and-2 around the 30-yard line, head coach Mel Tucker elected to leave his offense out on the field.

The risk paid off. 

Maliq Carr’s five-yard catch kept the Spartan offense on the field, giving them one final opportunity to break the tie.

With two seconds left, Ben Patton missed a 22-yard field goal attempt, stunning the Spartan Stadium crowd, and sending the game into overtime. 

 Defense kept the game tied at 31 in the second half, as both teams had their field goal attempts blocked, pushing the game to a second overtime. 

Mel Tucker walks off the field after Michigan State’s double-overtime loss to Indiana on November 19, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Heading into the period, the snow ramped up, and the crowd shifted down near the field. 

Shaun Shivers’ one-yard rushing touchdown broke the lead and gave the Hoosiers a 37-31 lead. 

A.J. Barner completed the two-point conversion with a catch in the end zone, giving the Spartans one final chance to respond. 

At fourth-and-7, with the game on the line, Tucker called one final timeout to talk things over with his offense. 

“We wanted to make sure we had the right plays,” head coach Mel Tucker said in the press conference after the game. 

A final pass from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed was ruled incomplete, concluding the duo’s touchdown-filled era at Spartan Stadium, with one final effort that fell short. 

Saturday’s loss was a disheartening finish to one of the best offensive performances of the season. 

Elijah Collins and Jalen Berger both ran for over 100 yards, and Keon Coleman recorded 107 yards on eight catches. 

“It was surreal,” Collins said of his last performance at Spartan Stadium. “It was everything that I could’ve dreamed of, truthfully.” 

“I was just trying to just do everything I could for Spartan nation, Spartan dawgs, and all the Spartan alum. Everybody that represents green and white across the world,” Collins said. 

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Spartans are still one win shy of bowl eligibility. 

“Anytime you lose, it hurts the same,” said Tucker. 

“We’re not going to cry about it. We haven’t done that so far. We’re not going to make excuses. One of the most important things is what you do next,” Tucker said.

Michigan State’s bowl hopes now rest on the final game of the season. The Spartans will travel to take on Penn State the day after Thanksgiving.