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‘Felt more like a loss than it did a good tie’: No. 16 Indiana outshoots Michigan State, draws in Big Ten home opener

Bebej scored his first goal this season shortly before halftime, and Michigan State found the equalizer in the 70th minute.

Chances are, when you face Indiana on the road in recent history, you aren't likely to snatch a victory.

Just take a look at the Hoosiers' past 12 consecutive home matches across two seasons — where they boast an undefeated 11-0-1 record.

Did you catch it?

That includes draws. And this season, ties are more likely to happen because of the recent rule change to college soccer, omitting two 10-minute overtime periods from regular season matches.

In an age where professional baseball is shifting toward pitch clocks to speed up the game, perhaps this rule change nestled right alongside that idealogy. Nevertheless, Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley disagrees.

Why? Well, part of it is, Yeagley thought his team would have prevailed in an overtime setting during Friday night's match against Michigan State, which resulted in a 1-1 draw.

"Disappointed obviously, the new rule's tough," Yeagley said postgame. "I said it from the beginning, it's a silly rule. [They] should have never changed it. Pretty confident we would have won in overtime."

Promising chances came and went, only to slip past the opposing goal. Indiana had out-shot Michigan State 10-4 in the second half. And only one of the four Spartan shots was on target — the equalizer. It didn't seem wrong for Yeagley to be convinced No. 16 Indiana would have pulled out the victory.

"We did enough to win the game,” Yeagley said. “Created the chances and controlled the game. I was pleased with a lot of what we did tonight. I thought we were in control from the first kick to the last kick."

In the final 20 minutes of the match, two of Maouloune Goumballe's shots missed the mark. Ryan Wittenbrink's strike landed right in the hands of the Michigan State keeper. Tommy Mihalic just barely lost the footrace on a breakaway. And Herbert Endeley's powerful header with 40 seconds remaining stirred wide of the goal. The Indiana faithful anxiously sighed.

As the match approached the final 10 seconds, the public address announcer counted down out loud. Players started to slow their movements, as a draw seemed inevitable. Yet, Indiana midfielder Patrick McDonald hit the deck — having been roughly fouled toward the sideline with practically no time remaining.

After review, the referee signaled for a red card, and added five more seconds on the clock. Indiana would have one more chance.

The midfield set piece floated into the box. Players on both sides scrambled for the ball, eventually finding Joey Maher standing point-blank in front of Michigan State keeper Owen Finnerty.

Finnerty braced for impact, caught the bounced header, and firmly held up his arm. Maher darted around the referee, pleading his case. Sure, Finnerty backed up to receive the ball, yet did the ball cross the goal line? Certainly, Maher thought so, whose actions served as the entire team's eagerness. Indiana had been so close.

As Maher and four or five Indiana players crowded the review system, Maher started to celebrate as if it had crossed. Yet, after review, it was confirmed. No goal.

Michigan State had survived 90 minutes. And in doing so, emotionally handed Indiana back-to-back losses, despite the 1-1 result. Indiana lost 2-0 Sunday in the conference opener at No. 22 Ohio State.

"The locker room felt more like a loss than it did a good tie," Yeagley said. "And there's plenty of good ties in the conference through the years. Like yeah, go ahead. It's fine. We'll be okay. But by losing points on the road to start the year, [if] you get three points to start, maybe the disappointment is not as heavy as it is now."

Indiana maintained more quality chances than Michigan State, and out-shot the Spartans 6-1 in shots on goal. Yeagley said his common phrase is that the team that possesses more quality throughout the match will win in overtime, more often than not.

Again, that's an uncertain outcome given the new rule. What is for certain is Indiana's attacking prowess was positively present, but must convert to dig itself out of a one-point divot through the first two conference matches.

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