Hoosiers Down Michigan State 46-21
Oct. 28, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Lewis threw for five touchdowns and ran for a sixth as Indiana upended Michigan State, 46-21, on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Memorial Stadium. In front of a raucous Homecoming crowd, sophomore wide receiver James Hardy became the first Hoosier in school history to grab four touchdown passes to help IU recapture the Old Brass Spittoon for the first time since 2001.
The Hoosier offense scored its most points ever against Michigan State and the most in any contest since a 56-21 victory over Northwestern on Nov. 3, 2001. Lewis became just the fourth IU player to account for six touchdowns in a single game, joining Levron Williams (Oct. 6, 2001 vs. Wisconsin), Antwaan Randle El (Sept. 12, 1998 vs. Western Michigan) and Bob Hoernschemeyer (1943 vs. Nebraska). His five touchdown passes tied Jay Rodgers and Tim Clifford for the second-most in a single game in school history.
Lewis also set a career-high with 261 passing yards, completing 15 of his 26 throws. Hardy picked up 83 yards on six catches, while senior Jahkeen Gilmore added 86 yards on three grabs. Sophomore Marcus Thigpen ran for 104 yards and caught two balls for 45 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown in the second quarter. The Hoosiers outscored MSU 36-0 in the second and third quarters combined.
Not to be outmatched by its offensive counterparts, the IU defense put together a stellar effort as well. After MSU went 80 yards and picked up four first downs on its opening drive, the Hoosiers allowed the Spartans just four first downs and 135 yards the rest of the contest. MSU did not pick up another first down until the fourth quarter.
The Hoosier defense was led by veteran defensive backs Will Meyers and Tracy Porter. Meyers tallied nine tackles, six solo, and picked up his third interception of the season, while Porter made eight tackles and forced a fumble resulting in a safety. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jammie Kirlew had five tackles, 1.5 for loss, and assisted on a sack, while all three of sophomore defensive back Joe Kleinsmith's tackles went for loss.
The Spartans got on the board on their first drive on the strength of quarterbsck Drew Stanton's arm, as the senior went 5-for-6 for 64 yards, with the final play a 38-yard touchdown pass to Devin Thomas. MSU converted a key fourth-and-1 just after entering IU territory, as the drive covered 10 plays and 80 yards.
Indiana responded at the 6:18 mark on its first drive, with Austin Starr booting a 34-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 7-3. The Hoosiers drove 39 yards in eight plays, with the key play being a pass interference call on the Spartans while Gilmore was leaping for a ball on the right sideline.
The Hoosier defense stepped it up on MSU's second drive, with some help from the crowd. After a long kick return gave the Spartans the ball at their 46, MSU committed consecutive false start penalties. On second-and-long, Stanton dropped back to pass, but was sacked under heavy pressure from Kenny Kendal and Kirlew. Two downs later, the Hoosiers recaptured the ball at their 36 following a 41-yard punt by Brandon Fields.
Indiana gained the lead on the ensuing drive with 2:16 to play in the opening quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Hardy. That play capped off a drive filled with big plays, as Thigpen tallied a 30-yard run and Gilmore grabbed a 20-yard catch on third-and-11 from the 50-yard line. Hardy moved into a tie for fourth place with Trent Smock on the career receiving touchdown list after hauling in his 15th career TD reception.
The Hoosiers extended their lead with 7:58 to play in the second quarter, scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Thigpen. It took just two plays for Indiana to march 67 yards and move the score to 17-7. Lewis scampered away from pressure and picked up 26 yards on the first play of the drive on a dash down the left sideline. A facemask penalty tacked on 15 yards to give IU possession at the 26, and on the following play, Lewis rolled to the right behind his offensive line and threw back to the left to a wide-open Thigpen, who hauled it in for his second TD reception of the season.
Indiana extended its lead with two touchdowns in the final 44 seconds of the opening half. The first score came on a 2-yard pass to Hardy for the sophomore's second trip to the end zone of the day. That play capped off a 53-yard drive for the Hoosiers on which Lewis went 5-for-8 and picked up 49 yards through the air.
The Hoosier defense capped off an exceptional second quarter as Adam McClurg forced and recovered a fumble at the MSU 17 two plays later. Lewis looked twice for Hardy in the end zone on the ensuing drive, and connected on the second pass for a 17-yard score, Hardy's third of the day, to move the lead to 30-7 heading into the locker room. Hardy became the first Hoosier in history to post two games of three receiving touchdowns or more in a single season.
Indiana's defense allowed MSU just 21 yards on 16 plays in the quarter, and did not allow a single first down in the frame. Stanton went just 1-of-8 in the frame for two yards, while the rush defense allowed only 19 yards on eight carries. Meyers led the way with four tackles in the quarter, while McClurg, Kirlew and Kleinsmith each tallied tackles for loss.
The Hoosiers upped their lead to 37-7 on a beautiful 27-yard touchdown run by Lewis. Lewis shook off pressure from the Spartans, evaded a pair of tacklers and turned on the jets to beat an MSU defender to the goal line. That followed another three-and-out by the Spartan offense deep in its own territory that resulted in IU getting the ball at the MSU 32.
Hardy tacked on his fourth touchdown of the day with 3:57 to go in the third quarter. Lewis found the sophomore on the left sideline and Hardy dived for the end zone and just kept the ball inside the pylon to put IU up 44-7. That followed Lewis' longest career pass, a deep post to Gilmore over the middle that netted 55 yards.
The Indiana special teams got in on the scoring with 1:49 to play in the third, when a Tyson Beattie punt was received inside the 10 by Kenny Love. Porter got on the returner immediately and stripped the football from Love's hands. The ball rolled out of the end zone for the Hoosiers' first safety since Oct. 29, 2005, against the Spartans.
The Spartans registered a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to trim the deficit to 46-21. Brett Kahn picked up the first on a 4-yard run and was credited with his second score of the game when backup quarterback Brian Hoyer entered the game and threw for a 13-yard score.
The Hoosiers return to action on Saturday, Nov. 4, when IU travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for a matchup with Minnesota at noon EST. IU will become bowl-eligible for the first time since 1993 with a victory in that contest.
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