The Michigan State Spartans are lucky to be 4-1 on the season after a fourth quarter collapse against Nebraska in week six. The Spartans were up 27-3 heading into the fourth quarter, but allowed the No. 19 team in the nation come back and make it interesting before putting the game away for good, 27-22. Michigan State will look to step on the gas this week and not let up again.
If you’re the Purdue Boilermakers, you are just hoping to make this game against Michigan State close and hope that it doesn’t get too ugly in front of the home fans. Purdue has a decent chance to make this game interesting, but it will take the best effort of the season for this 3-3 squad.
Michigan State’s offense was rather lethargic against Nebraska in week six and that was due in large part to the struggle of quarterback Connor Cook. The junior QB and second-year starter was anything but solid against the Cornhuskers, completing 11 of 29 passes for 234 yards, one touchdown and one pick. On the year, however, Cook has been impressive, passing for 1,071 yards and 10 touchdowns with just three interceptions while completing just 60 percent of his passes. Tony Lippett has been Cook’s favorite target by a wide margin, catching 25 passes for 525 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with a 32-yard touchdown scamper in week six. Tight end Josiah Price is the next closest target, accounting for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches. The rushing offense ranks 23rd in the nation behind the improving play of senior Jeremy Langford who has 451 yards and four touchdowns while his backup, Nick Hill, has 215 yards and three scores.
Purdue has experienced much lethargy on offense this year, ranking 105th nationally in passing yards per game as well as 84th in points per contest. While Danny Etling started the season at quarterback for the Boilermakers, sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby started last week’s game, racking up 202 yards and a touchdown with a 75 percent completion rate in a win. Appleby also has 105 yards and three rushing TDs on the year. It looks like the young QB will get more opportunities to show his worth, the first one coming against a stellar Michigan State defense this week. Junior wide receiver Danny Anthrop could be a major factor in the pass game as he leads all wide outs for Purdue with 336 yards and three touchdowns on 21 catches. Justin Sinz is the next closest wide out with 156 yards and a touchdown on 18 catches. Running back Akeem Hunt has been stellar in the receiver and run games, catching 22 passes for 125 yards while leading all rushers with 446 yards and two rushing scores.
Defensively, the Boilermakers have not been very impressive this season, ranking in the lower half of the Big Ten in a few major categories. Purdue ranks just 80th in the nation in points allowed per game while ranking toward the bottom of the country in yards allowed per contest with just over 408. Michigan State is the proud owner of one of the best defenses in the nation, ranking 32nd in points allowed per game as well as 11th in total yards allowed per contest with just under 300 — really excelling against the run. The crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium will be raucous for this conference bout.
Michigan State will travel to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 11. The game will be broadcasted on ABC.
PREDICTION: Michigan State 34, Purdue 14
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Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.