After one half, Michigan State Football leads Indiana 24-7. Despite a shaky opening push, both sides of the ball play well and the Spartans are in good shape at half-time but need to step on the gas to take the win.
Here are some takeaways from the first 30 minutes of the game.
The MSU defense was spooked by Williams early on, but recoverse
After a few quarterback shuffles in Indiana, redshirt student Dexter Williams II got the start today. He presents a unique style of play that the Spartans haven’t seen much of this season and relies heavily on running the ball.
Williams got the game’s first score by taking it himself to the end zone for a 34-yard rush in an acrobatic play that barely contained a foot. Their game plan has focused primarily on the ground, with Williams either passing it to a running back or taking it himself.
He threw only one pass in the first quarter, a misaligned throw into the ground, but led the team in rushing yards for 48 yards.
Since that opening drive, the Hoosiers have struggled to approach the end zone and have been forced to punt on a number of occasions. Of course, Indiana, who doesn’t have a solid pass attack, has limited the Hoosier offense, but the Spartans have done a good job of limiting the run so far.
Keon Coleman plays a key rolen offense
Due to heavy coverage over the past two games, second wide receiver Keon Coleman has been quiet lately. The Spartans were forced to watch their tight ends and running backs to gain some receiving yards, showing some versatility.
Today, however, it was wide open. He gained a quick 39 yards in the first offensive play of the game for the Spartans after a flea flicker pass from redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne to get into scoring position early.
Coleman quickly became a favorite target for Thorne, who easily found a hole in defense to open. He led receivers in the first half with 76 yards. He also caught a last-minute touchdown in the second quarter to give MSU a 24-7 lead.
Coleman was out for a while in the second quarter for unknown reasons but returned before the half was over. He will likely remain an important target in the second half.
Run game is still runningstrong
Although the Big Ten game struggled early on, the running game has turned things around in the last few games.
Jalen Berger, redshirt, running back sophomore, and Elijah Collins, redshirt senior, running back helped the offense stay ahead. Berger currently leads in rushing yards with 94 yards. He did an excellent job of finding holes in defense and maintaining drives.
Collins was called out as the Spartans neared the end zone and was picked to smack them into the end zone, giving the Spartans a 17-7 lead.
The Spartans currently lead the Hoosiers in rushing yards 121-60 at the half. Head coach Mel Tucker has stressed that offense must not be one-dimensional, which means the running game must play its part. In fact, most of their wins this season have come when the running game reaches 100+ yards.
The offensive has to carry this momentum into the second half in order to maintain the success.
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