Well, they had a chance. You had to feel good about Purdue's shot to pull off the upset going into halftime, and that's all you can really ask for.
Purdue's second half woes seemed to return this week, with the Spartans scoring 14 unanswered and pulling ahead for a 38-17 lead late in the third. Then it all changed. Frankie Williams picked off a Connor Cook pass, setting up an Akeem Hunt 52 yard touchdown run, bringing the game back within 14.
Could the Boilers really do it? A bizarre fake punt on Michigan State's own 30 gave the Boilers the ball back and the chance they needed to bring it within one score. After a Spartan pass interference, Hunt again punched it in, and all of a sudden here it was. One more stop and they had a shot.
Michigan State's next drive stalled and Purdue had their chance, starting from their own 5-yard line with three minutes left. Austin Appleby completed an 11 yard pass to Deangelo Yancey on 4th and 6, giving the Boilers a fresh set of downs. The Cinderella story wasn't meant to be though, as Appleby threw a pick six two plays later in the face of heavy pressure. Michigan State 45, Purdue 31.
You could see the improvement . It was tough not to. Depth was clearly an issue for Purdue in the second half, the bare cupboard leftover from the Danny Hope Era coming back to bite the Boilers, the defense with their hands on their knees begging for a stop and a chance to get off the field. In the end, Purdue just didn't have enough in the tank to hold on.
The signs are there though. This is a much improved Boilermakers team. The next step for this team is beating the Gophers next week in Minneapolis. Good things are coming.