Oct. 24, 2006
Note: As part of the Hoosier Nation Challenge for 50,000 fans at the Oct. 28 Indiana-Michigan State game at Memorial Stadium, IUHOOSIERS.COM takes a look back at some of the great games in IU-MSU history. Today's installment features former IU head coach Bill Mallory's recollection of Indiana's 10-0 victory over Michigan State on Oct. 30, 1993.
Indiana opened its 1993 season with an impressive 6-1 mark, featuring a stifling defense that had two shutouts in seven games and was averaging just under 10.6 points per game against. But until the Hoosiers faced Michigan State on Oct. 30, Indiana had not defeated a ranked opponent.
When the No. 22 Spartans came to Bloomington that day, they sported a 4-2 record, with their only losses coming on the road to perennial powerhouses Notre Dame and Ohio State.
According to head coach Bill Mallory, the Spartans were one of the toughest teams in the Big Ten, and his squad had a little extra motivation in the contest.
"The players were focused. We'd lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship in 1987 and that never set well with us," Mallory said. "They had good talent and were a well-coached team. They always had a good running game - they had quality running backs and a good, sound defense, but the important thing was to be able to rise to it."
The Hoosiers rose to the occasion, shutting out the Spartans in the contest 10-0. Michigan State, which entered the contest averaging 399 yards per game, was held to just 161 yards. MSU managed just 41 yards on the ground on 30 carries in the game. Leading the way for the Hoosier defense was Alfonzo Thurman, who made eight tackles, broke up two passes and recorded an interception.
The Hoosiers got just enough offense in the game to come away with the victory, with the deciding score coming on a 17-yard touchdown run by Jermaine Chaney in the second quarter. The game's only touchdown was set up by a broken play, as punter Jim DiGuilio scampered away from heavy pressure on fourth-and-9 from IU's 45 and scrambled for a 24-yard gain to keep the drive alive.
Michigan State began its first possession of the fourth quarter with excellent field position, at its own 48-yard line. After the Spartans converted a fourth-and-1 to move into IU territory, Jim Miller faded back to pass on second-and 10. He was picked off over the middle by Thurman, who returned it to the 41. Later in the ensuing drive, Indiana added a 31-yard field goal by Bill Manolopoulos in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
The shutout was Indiana's third of the year and second in a row. It marked win number seven in what turned out to be an 8-3 regular season where the Hoosiers advanced to the 1993 Independence Bowl and posted a 5-3 mark in Big Ten play.
"I think it was a great accomplishment," Mallory said. "Our players really played well, and to be able to shut them down as we did was a great accomplishment defensively, and offensively we were able to put up enough points to win. They were always good defensively, they played a 6-1 concept and weren't an easy team to score upon, but we scored enough to win the game. Our players were focused and they wanted to get the job done. Michigan State was a hard-nosed football team but we matched up to them and we played darn good."
The home crowd was kind to the Hoosiers that day for the matchup against IU's conference rivals. Indiana played in front of over 40,000 fans that day, and in the head coach's mind, that crowd played a huge role in helping the team take possession of the Old Brass Spittoon.
"I think it's what [current head coach] Terry [Hoeppner] is making a strong push for," Mallory said. "We were able to have strong crowds behind us and we have to give a lot of credit to our crowds for being 12th man. Terry pushes about `The Rock,' we pushed about `The House.' We took a lot of pride in playing at home - the opponents were in our house.
"We really pushed hard and the kids played with lot of pride. The crowd gave us the energy for the players to give us enough of a push. I know the crowd was loud against Iowa a couple weeks ago and the players said that it really helped. When you can get crowds in high 40 and 50 thousands, it really gets loud in there, especially when they are so vocal."