What a game! There is something magical in the air in West Lafayette this fall as the Spoilermakers strike again! Purdue topped No. 3 Michigan State in shocking fashion by a score of 40-29.
This game showed that Purdue can hang with the upper echelon of not only the Big Ten but the entire country... and win. It is also the first time Purdue has won back-to-back games since weeks 1 & 2 in which they beat Oregon State and UConn.
Jeff Brohm’s team had not played a complete 60-minute football game aside from the UConn win in week two. Tonight was just that, even with a fairly close game and a few bumps along the way, Purdue was in control of this game from start to finish.
Tonight’s upset win can be encapsulated by just one play. The double-triple reverse, jet sweep trick play 39-yard touchdown for Jackson Anthrop, coming from the call sheet of Jeff Brohm.
Purdue no doubt has the magic in them for whatever reason, so tonight does not come as big of a surprise to Boilermaker fans across the world.
It goes without saying, but this was easily Aidan O’Connell and the offense’s best performance of the season all things considered. The former walk-on quarterback finished the night going 40-54 for 536 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no turnovers. Things are a little easier when you have the best wide receiver in college football, David Bell, who puts up 217 yards over 11 catches and a touchdown. The craziest part of that was tonight wasn’t even the best game for Bell THIS SEASON...
George Karlaftis and the defense ended up surrendering 458 total yards to the Spartans, but exuded a “bend but don’t break” performance tonight. Kenneth Walker III rushed for 146 yards on 23 attempts but the bulk of that came on only a handful of runs, the defensive front seven did a great job of not allowing the Heisman hopeful to be a game-wrecker.
They also had two takeaways, perhaps none bigger than the interception by Dedrick Mackey when Michigan State went for it on fourth down inside the 10-yard line of the Boilermakers.
The key to victory tonight for the Boilermakers was the red zone efficiency differential between the two squads. In the first half, Michigan State was driving down 14-7 and was stunted by an illegal chop block penalty that pushed them out of the red zone. The Spartans ended up having to settle for a 43-yard field goal attempt which was missed.
There were a few moments when things got shaky, but credit to the players, coaches, and staff for not panicking and responding more impressively than the Spartans initial punch. Things really turned a corner when Zander Horvath fumbled in the first drive of the second half, giving the Spartans great field position. Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne ended up capitalizing with a lengthy touchdown scamper to tie the game up at 21-21.
Directly following that, the Boilermakers drove right down the field for 70 yards over 7 plays to take the lead back and did not trail again.
We knew that Michigan State had the worst pass defense in the Big Ten, but it was a concern to how the Boilermakers were going to stop an offense that put up 37 points in a massive win over their in-state rival, Michigan.
There are always things to work on, but you cannot find many flaws in the performance that the Purdue Spoilermakers put on this evening in West Lafayette. Purdue will now turn their attention to yet another top 5 team in the country in the Ohio State Buckeyes.