Michigan State hasn’t played many freshmen this season, but two that have seen the field put together the Spartans’ quickest scoring drive of the season.
In the fourth quarter, freshman running back Delton Williams broke a 37-yard run (MSU’s longest of the season) to the Indiana 36-yard line. Two play later, freshman wide receiver R.J. Shelton took a jet sweep and scampered into the end zone for a 34-yard score on a 3-play, 73-yard drive that lasted just 1:28.
“Shelton, he’s another freshman,” Williams said. “I just felt happy — at least one of us scored. Out there, right now on our team, we’re not really individuals.
“We focus on getting that (victory), and everybody doing to make the team better. So, when I got pulled out and all that, it probably looked like I was a little mad. But, when I got to the sideline and we scored the touchdown it was all that mattered.”
The touchdown was the first of Shelton’s career and it came in the same game in which he had his first reception.
Williams had a career-high 92 yards on 12 carries in his second career game.
Both freshmen played a crucial part in the Spartans’ victory as Williams had 12 carries for 92 yards and Shelton rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown.
“That’s the life-blood of our offense,” offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. “Anytime you can run, you’re able to mix in play-action pass, throw the ball down field and create big plays.
“That was pretty evident today. That’s been our deal since we’ve been here. We’ve got to be able to run the football.”
The coaching staff showed their confidence in Williams after he fumbled the ball — on his fourth carry — early in the second quarter by giving him eight carriers.
“I have confidence in our players,” Dantonio said. “The worst thing you can do to a player when he has a problem is take him out and yank him.
“If he does it over a period of time you’re going to have to change, but I think you have to stay with him. You have to have confidence in your players because it’s so important for them to have confidence.”
Williams said extra wristbands might have caused the fumble, which MSU recovered, and took them off following the play – something Dantonio also said.
“There was just a lot of stuff on my arm,” Williams said. “He really didn’t pull the ball. He was pulling my arms and the ball just slipped out.”
After his second game, Williams said he is just continuing to work and is happy to contribute.
“Coach (Dantonio) is always telling us the green jersey is never given; always earned,” Williams said. “I earned it, being sixth man on the depth chart to working myself up to number three or number two.
“You never know where I could be, but it just feels good to be able to contribute to the team and help my team win.”