EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Jeff Smoker is making the most of his
Smoker tied a Michigan State record with 32 completions and
accounted for three touchdowns as the Spartans (No. 25 Associated Press) beat Indiana
Smoker finished 32-of-40 for 351 yards with two TDs, a rushing
score and no interceptions. He tied the school mark for completions
set by John Leister, who threw 46 passes in a loss to Michigan in
1982. It was Smoker's third 300-yard game this season and the
seventh of the senior's tumultuous career.
Smoker was suspended from the team last year with five games
left because of a substance-abuse problem. After seeking treatment
and following numerous undisclosed conditions set by new coach John
L. Smith, Smoker was reinstated two weeks before the season.
"Everyone makes mistakes. I'm sure you guys can think back in
your lives to a time you did something stupid," Smoker said. "You
can learn a lot of things as you go through life, not just in
football. I have a greater appreciation for football now.
"I want to take advantage and make the most of every
opportunity I get now."
Smoker increased his team records to 510 career completions on
858 attempts for 7,044 yards and 50 TDs.
Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) has won three straight games
in a season for the first time since starting 3-0 in 2000. The
Hoosiers (1-5, 0-2) lost their 11th straight road game, dating to a
win at Michigan State on Nov. 10, 2001.
Smith said Smoker's presence has helped his first season in
charge of the often-troubled program get off to a good start.
"In what we do, the one building block you really need is that
quarterback," Smith said. "But don't give him too much credit so
that he gets a big head and thinks he's real neat."
Smoker gave Michigan State a 14-0 lead early in the second
quarter on a 31-yard pass to Jaren Hayes, after tossing a 12-yard
pass to Jason Randall for a score in the first quarter. Smoker's
2-yard run midway through the fourth quarter completed the scoring.
Indiana, the lowest-scoring team in the Big Ten, did not score
on five drives into Spartans territory. Three of the possessions
ended because of sacks, one on a fumble and another on an
"The offense had the ball in the midfield area and didn't do
anything with it," Indiana coach Gerry DiNardo said. "Much like
we haven't done all year. I thought that hurt us."
Michigan State, which started the game with a Big Ten-best 22
sacks, had six sacks against the Hoosiers. Greg Taplin doubled his
season total with three sacks. The Spartans had just 19 sacks last
Matt Trannon, who had six receptions for 82 yards, was one of
nine Spartans to catch passes from Smoker. Hayes had 55 yards
rushing and caught six passes for 49 yards and a TD.
Indiana's Matt LoVecchio completed 14 of 31 passes for 168 yards
without a TD or an interception. Glenn Johnson had six receptions
for 70 yards and Benjarvus Green-Ellis gained 90 yards on 24
Coming off wins over ranked Iowa at home and Notre Dame on
the road, the Spartans did not have a letdown as many Michigan
State teams have in the past.
"That goes to show you we don't have to follow bad
traditions," Smith said.
Michigan State scored on its first possession for the third
Smoker tossed a short pass to Randall, who ran through three
Hoosiers for the score. Smoker rolled right, and threw back to a
wide-open Hayes for his other passing TD.
Indiana went 14 plays on the ensuing possession, but stalled at
the 2 and had to settle for Bryan Robertson's 21-yard field goal.
Jason Teague's 11-yard, tackle-breaking run then gave the
Spartans a 24-3 lead.
Michigan State retained the Old Brass Spittoon, awarded the
winner of the game since 1950.
"We didn't play very well," DiNardo said. "We took a step