Spartans rout IU, reach Big Ten title game
East Lansing, MI – Kirk Cousins threw for 272 yards with ranked Michigan State to a 55-3 rout of Indiana at Spartan Stadium.
B.J. Cunningham caught six passes for 132 yards with two scores and Keshawn Martin added a TD catch with a score on the ground for the Spartans (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who have won three in a row and clinched a spot in the first-ever Big Ten championship game later Saturday when arch-rival Michigan closed out a 45-17 victory over Nebraska.
Michigan State, which beat Indiana to claim the Old Brass Spittoon for the third straight time, concluded its home schedule with its 14th consecutive win at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans claimed the Big Ten's Legends Division title and will close the regular season next Saturday at Northwestern, then will play Wisconsin or Penn State in the conference title game on December 3rd in Indianapolis.
Indiana (1-10, 0-7), meanwhile, has dropped eight straight overall and is another loss away from its first winless conference slate since 1995. The Hoosiers will try to avoid that distinction next Saturday at home against Purdue.
Tre Roberson completed just 10-of-23 passes for 92 yards and was picked off twice in defeat.
Michigan State took control from the start, opening a 17-0 lead by scoring on its first three possessions. After Dan Conroy kicked a 21-yard field goal five minutes into the game, Cousins hooked up with Cunningham for a 63-yard score and found Martin for a 47-yard touchdown.
Indiana didn't cross midfield until early in the second quarter and marched inside the Michigan State 10-yard line before settling for a 22-yard Mitch Ewald field goal.
Nick Hill returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Indiana 24 and it took the Spartans just two plays to extend their lead as Martin caught a five-yard pass before breaking loose for a 19-yard jaunt to make it 24-3.
Martin then brought back an Indiana punt 21 yards to the Hoosiers' 33-yard line and Edwin Baker capped a six-play series with a 10-yard touchdown run for a 31-3 cushion with 5:17 left in the half. Conroy added a 33-yard field goal in the final minute to send Michigan State to the locker room with a 31-point margin.
Cousins capped the opening series of the second half with a seven-yard TD strike to Cunningham and Johnny Adams spoiled a promising Indiana drive with an 86-yard interception return for a score to increase the Spartan lead to 48-3 midway through the third period.
After Cousins left the contest to a standing ovation on Senior Day late in the third, Baker scored his second touchdown of the contest in the first minute of the fourth quarter on a three-yard run for the final margin.
It was the second-largest margin of victory in series history, behind only Michigan State's 54-0 whitewash in 1957...Cousins has 60 career touchdown passes, one shy of Jeff Smoker's school record...Cunningham became the first Spartan with 200 career catches...Martin finished with eight receptions for 99 yards...The Spartans racked up 470 yards and held Indiana to 236...Michigan State improved to 41-15-2 against Indiana and beat the Hoosiers in East Lansing for a fourth straight time. The teams hadn't met since 2008. The Hoosiers haven't won at Spartan Stadium since 2001.