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Katin Houser, Maliq Carr hook up late to rally Spartans past Hoosiers 24-21

Michigan State running back Nathan Carter (5) slips out of a tackle effort of Indiana defensive back Phillip Dunnam (6) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Katin Houser hooked up with Maliq Carr on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 1:19 left Saturday to rally Michigan State for a 24-21 victory at Indiana.

The Spartans (4-7, 2-6 Big Ten) reclaimed the Old Brass Spittoon by winning their first road game of the season and their second under interim coach Harlon Barnett. It took an eight-play, 75-yard drive and Carr’s tackle-breaking catch-and-run to win it.

Indiana (3-8, 1-7) had a chance to force overtime but Brendan Sorsby drew an intentional grounding call when he had a miscommunication with his receiver. The penalty moved the ball back 6 yards and Chris Freeman missed a 49-yard kick that would have tied it with 2 seconds to play.

The Hoosiers still have not won consecutive games in this rivalry since winning three straight from 1967-69.

Houser was 26 of 41 with 245 yards, three TDs and two interceptions. His yardage and touchdown totals were both career bests.

Carr caught eight passes for 88 yards and two scores — all career highs.

Michigan State took a 7-0 lead when Houser capped the game’s opening drive with a 17-yard scoring pass to Carr. Indiana tied the score on Trent Howland’s 4-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.

Montori Foster Jr. broke the tie with spectacular one-handed grab inside the Hoosiers 20-yard line, then made several defenders miss on his way to a 29-yard TD catch with 1:10 left in the first half.

Sorsby’s 3-yard TD pass to James Bomba on the first drive of the second half tied the score at 14 and that’s how it stayed until Jonathan Kim’s 43-yard field goal with 9:26 to play.

The Hoosiers answered with 10 consecutive runs before Sorsby connected with Bomba for the go-ahead score with 4:06 left — only to have Michigan State answer with the decisive TD.

Sorsby was 19 of 34 with 192 yards and two TDs. He also rushed 12 times for 65 yards. Howland had 19 carries for 77 yards and one TD. Josh Henderson had 13 carries for 74 yards.


Michigan State: A tough season got better Saturday when the Spartans finally won on the road and headed home with the trophy. Michigan State has one game remaining and then a coaching search.

Indiana: The Hoosiers have at least been competitive each of the past four weeks, but they’ve come away with three losses. And this one really hurts because the Hoosiers blew chances to win it and force overtime in the final five minutes.


Michigan State: Starting center Nick Samac was helped off the field and was carted into the locker room after quarterback Katin Houser rolled up on Samac’s left leg on the opening drive. Defensive lineman Brandon Wright was carted off the field with what appeared to be a right leg in the fourth quarter. Running back Nate Carter left in the third quarter with an injury and did not return.

Indiana: Receivers Cam Camper and Omar Cooper Jr. and defensive back Noah Pierre missed the game with injuries. Running back Trent Howland (shoulder) and tight end Trey Walker (hand) both were injured in the second half. Howland returned to the game.


Michigan State: Closes out a miserable season by hosting No. 12 Penn State next Saturday.

Indiana: Will try to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket next Saturday at Purdue.


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