Michigan State Spartans: Will They Knock Off Purdue On The Road?


We all remember what happened the last time the Michigan State Spartans played somewhere other than East Lansing this season.

Managing to go up 27-18 in the third quarter at a hostile environment in Eugene against the Oregon Ducks, the Spartans saw their nine-point lead dwindle as Heisman trophy candidate Marcus Mariota and company scored 28 unanswered points to remain unbeaten in non-conference play.

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While the Purdue Boilermakers don’t have the same level of talent on both sides of the ball as the Ducks, they have given Michigan State problems in recent history, something that MSU shouldn’t overlook on Saturday.

Led by second-year head coach Darrell Hazell, the Spartans barely walked out of West Lafayette last year with a 14-0 victory after recording just seven points offensively.

The other seven points were scored on a fumble recovery by former linebacker Denicos Allen, who ran it back for a touchdown.

In the last 13 meetings between these two Big Ten programs, 12 games have been decided by 20 points or less. Since the 1997 game at Ross-Ade Stadium when Nick Saban was calling the shots on the sidelines for the green and white, Purdue currently leads the series 7-6.

Purdue comes into their third conference game of the season at 3-3, following a 38-27 win over Illinois at home, which was Hazell’s first Big Ten win of his coaching tenure with the Boilermakers.

According to USA Today, Purdue has failed to win consecutive Big Ten games since November of 2012, when they edged out both Iowa, Illinois and Indiana in back-to-back weeks.

Running back Akeem Hunt has been the work horse for the Boilermakers offensively. Last week, the senior rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries over the Fighting Illini. He also leads all Purdue tailbacks with 446 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

Michigan State will also get a look at sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby, who will get his second start of the season. He took over the huddle last week after replacing Danny Etling, who took snaps under center at the beginning of the year.

As a hybrid quarterback, Appleby is 24-of-43 passing for 291 yards and two touchdowns this season. On his feet, the Canton, Ohio native has rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns on 11 attempts.

“I think Purdue is an improved football team,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said (via isportsweb). “They’re doing a great job in a lot of different areas, their offense is much more productive than it was last year at this time. They played us extremely tough last year.”

Despite Purdue’s vast improved offense, which ranks 84th in the country in points scored per game, this is still the same team that endured plenty of scrutiny due to their performances at the start of the season against lesser competition.

Escaping with a nine-point win over Western Michigan and losing by 19-points at home against Central Michigan makes it obvious as to why Michigan State is a 21.5 point favorite.

Despite the Boilermakers finding a way to put their woes behind them, the Spartans haven’t forgotten how their last game ended, when Nebraska almost pulled off the upset with less than a minute to go in regulation at home.

Michigan State scored 73 points against Eastern Michigan following their loss to the Ducks in week three. I expect the same type of result to occur this weekend.

Prediction: Michigan State 42, Purdue 10