The season that was, games 9/10/11: Indiana 46, Michigan State 21; Minnesota 63, Indiana 26; Michigan 34, Indiana 3.

Michigan State
Date: 10/28/06
Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
Box score/stats
Attendance:
36444

Historically, it’s rare for a Hoosier team to whip a non-Northwestern Big Ten opponent into submission, so I tried to savor last season’s MSU whipping as it transpired. The last time IU played a reeling, coach-killing MSU team was 2002, the game after Bob Williams resigned, and while the Spartans looked vulnerable then, they pistolwhipped IU. Not so in 2006. MSU managed a quick 10 play, 80 yard drive to start the game and then allowed 46 points in a row to the Hoosiers. Kellen Lewis threw five touchdown passes, including four to James Hardy. IU won the first down battle 26-8 and outgained the Spartans 446-215. MSU managed 79 yards in the fourth quarter, meaning that at the end of the third, MSU had only 136 yards of offense. Lewis was 15-22, an while it he throw an interception, it was inconsequential and came late in the fourth quarter when IU led by 32. Marcus Thigpen lead IU with 104 yards rushing on 20 carries and Lewis added 75 on 14 carries. I don’t expect this game to tell us much about this season. MSU was a really odd team. I hesitate to say that the Spartans had quit, because this game came only a week after MSU’s amazing comeback at Northwestern. Still, it’s a new day in East Lansing. IU rarely does this to a Big Ten opponent, so I choose to savor the memory of this game standing alone. Unfortunately, the MSU game was the Hoosiers’ last win of the season.



Minnesota
Date: 11/4/06
Location: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.
Box Score/stats
Attendance: 44,610

After the MSU game, the Hoosiers were within a game of their first bowl game since 1993. The only home game remaining was against then second-ranked Michigan, so IU fans pinned their hopes on the road games against Minnesota and Purdue, two solid but uneven teams. Unfortunately, the Hoosiers performance at the Metrodome was a disaster. IU played as poorly as had the Spartans in Bloomington a week earlier. Minnesota led 35-0 less than halfway through the second quarter. IU never pulled closer than 21. Bryan Cupito embarrassed the IU defense, throwing four touchdowns and for 378 yards on 33 attempts. Kellen Lewis continued to accumulate some numbers (321 yards) but threw two interceptions and was relieved by Blake Powers late in the game. As was too often the case, Lewis was IU’s only viable rushing threat. This game was a bitter blow to IU fans and halted the momentum of the program. With Michigan upcoming, all eyes were on the Bucket game.
Michigan
Date
: 11/11/06
Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
Box score/stats
Attendance: 42,320
As with the OSU game, there’s not much to say about a whipping administered by a top five team that IU doesn’t play until 2009. IU’s 131 yard offensive output was the worst of the year. Ball State, by scoring some points late against Michigan a week earlier, erased any hope that the Hoosier might sneak up on the Wolverines.


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