BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — For 30 minutes against Indiana, Michigan State's defense looked like anything but one of the nation's best units.
The Spartans regained their normal footing in the second half, shutting out Indiana in the final two quarters of a 31-27 victory on Saturday.
Michigan State, which had allowed averages of 12.8 points and 263.4 yards in its first five games, held Indiana to 37 yards and two first downs in the second half after allowing 183 yards in the first quarter against Indiana's no-huddle offense.
"They were just fast," Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough said. "A fast-paced offense, that's tough for a defense, no matter what type of defense it is. I think we struggled with that a little bit. Once we were able to kind of feel the pace of the game, I thought that we played better and did better after that."
Michigan State's defense gave the offense time to get on track. Andrew Maxwell passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns, Aaron Burbridge caught eight passes for 134 yards and Le'Veon Bell ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries for the Spartans (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten).
Michigan State trailed 27-17 heading into the fourth quarter before rallying.
"Not how you draw it up," Maxwell said. "You don't want to be down 10 going into the fourth quarter, but the character and the resilience of our team — we just kept battling, kept battling, kept chipping away and we came out on top."
Indiana had success moving the ball at times. Cameron Coffman passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns and Shane Wynn had 12 catches for 70 yards for the Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2). Indiana had a chance to give second-year coach Kevin Wilson his first conference win, but the Hoosiers went three-and-out on critical back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter.
"Tough loss," Wilson said. "Played a half real hard. Second half (we) just got outplayed. Credit to Michigan State and coach (Mark) Dantonio and really should credit their kids because there was really no magic changes."
Indiana was unable to rely on its running game at all. The Hoosiers finished with 35 yards on 19 carries. The Hoosiers, despite trying to hold a lead, passed on all seven of their plays in the fourth quarter and had the ball for a total of 1:40.
Wilson started Coffman over Nate Sudfeld at quarterback, and the Hoosiers rolled right down the field against one of the nation's best defenses. Coffman fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Houston 77 seconds into the game.