I was out of town on Saturday and forgot to Tivo the game, so my comments will be fairly short. It's for the better, I suppose. Watching the 97-yard TD pass that turned into a safety for holding in the end zone probably would have taken years off my life. Here's the box score. Spartans Weblog is a must-read during basketball season, but I didn't realize that he had branched out into football so extensively. Read the whole thing, as they say, but here's his recap of the game. My thoughts, which, again, are entirely box score-based:
- Surprisingly even offensive numbers. MSU modestly outgained IU, 497-473. IU had a slight edge in yards per play, 6.6 to 6.4. IU punted 7 times, MSU 6 times.
- The difference, apparently, was turnovers. IU had 3, MSU 0.
- Marcus Thigpen had another nice game, with 113 yards on 9 carries. As is often the case, Thigpen got the bulk of the yards on a big play, a 78 yard run. Still, even taking the big run out of the equation, he averaged 4.3 on the other carries. He was a beast catching the ball as well, with two catched for 94 yards, and adding a receiving TD to his two rushing TDs.
- Shades of Cam Cameron: Lynch played Lewis and Chappell at the same time, lining up Lewis as a WR. Both had respectable performances passing (actually, Chappell was only 11-23), and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
- Demarlo Belcher joined the attack, with 73 yards on four catches.
- No sacks! The 2007 team is looking like a one year wonder.
- Javon Ringer brutalized us, of course.
Overall, it sounds like it was a frustrating game to watch, but I can't be too discouraged considering MSU's strengths. Now, IU enters the most crucial stretch of its season. IU plays at Minnesota this week, then Iowa at home, then at Illinois, then at home against Northwestern. To make it to a bowl game (I'm assuming 7 wins will be required), IU almost certainly must go 3-1 in the next four weeks. And even going 3-1 would require IU to beat dangerous Central Michigan and either pull a major upset against PSU or Wisconsin or beat Purdue in Joe Tiller's last home game. The Ball State loss remains a killer, obviously. More on the apparently improved Gophers later.