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), who were coming off a 17-16 loss to No. 12 Ohio State.
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), who led 27-17 at the end of the third quarter. Indiana could have given 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.
Michigan State, which gave up nearly 200 yards in the first quarter, held Indiana to 37 yards and two first downs in the second half.
Indiana started Coffman over Nate Sudfeld at quarterback, and the Hoosiers’ no-huddle offense 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.
Two possessions later, Mitch Ewald’s 32-yard field goal made it 10-0 Hoosiers.
After Michigan State was called for a roughing-the-punter penalty, Coffman took advantage with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ted Bolser with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
Michigan State finally got it going in the second quarter. Bell scored from 2 yards out to cut Indiana’s lead to 17-7.
Maxwell followed with a 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Larry Caper to trim Indiana’s lead to 17-14 with 6:26 left in the first half.
Indiana came right back when Coffman found Wynn for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Indiana recovered an onside kick, and a 19-yard field goal by Ewald gave Indiana a 27-14 lead at halftime. Coffman completed 23 of 30 passes for 256 yards in the first half.
Michigan State got the ball first in the second half, and a 46-yard field goal by Dan Conroy cut Indiana’s lead to 27-17.
Michigan State went for it on fourth down at the Indiana 2 and Bell got a yard on a play that was reviewed. Two plays later, Bell scored from the 1, cutting Indiana’s lead to 27-24 with 7:49 to play.
Coffman missed on three straight passes, and Michigan State got the ball back 20 seconds after the previous score. On the third play of the possession, Maxwell connected with Bennie Fowler for a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans a 31-27 lead.
Indiana went three-and-out again and punted. Michigan State’s Nick Hill fumbled the fair catch but fell on it, and Indiana got a personal-foul penalty, giving the Spartans the ball at the 50. Michigan State ran out the clock, clinching the game on a fourth-and-1 conversion by Bell on the Indiana 9-yard line in the final minute.