Warner: "We have not arrived"

Spartans' offense struggles, especially the passing game, but MSU downs Purdue 14-0 on Saturday. Lessons are there to be learned and Dantonio said MSU took a step forward, despite lackluster showing.

Michigan State had made strides offensively in the past two games to remove question marks about its ability to put points on the scoreboard, but those concerns came flooding back Saturday in the Spartans' 14-0 win against Purdue.

The offense didn't get on the scoreboard – or in the red zone – until part way through the fourth quarter and struggled throughout to move the ball.

Offensive coordinator Dave Warner said the Spartans got a lesson from the game – whether they expected it or not.

"Maybe that's the way we need to twist it to understand that we have not arrived," he said. "I'm not saying that our guys did, but you have to go through a game like this maybe to understand that you gotta be up and you gotta play every game like it's your last game.

"Hopefully, we learned the lesson and we escaped with a victory in that lesson."

Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook, who had back-to-back 200-yard passing performances entering Saturday, struggled to a 13 of 25 performance for just 107 yards.

"We just need to throw the ball more effectively, from my point of view," coach Mark Dantonio said. "We ran the ball effectively. We need to throw it better. We need to create opportunities down the field and make the throws and also convert on some third downs and throwing situations. That has not been the case the past couple games when we threw it much better."

The Spartans' offense finally got on the board with 8:55 to go in the game when wide receiver Tony Lippett took a reverse and passed it to tight end Andrew Gleichert for a 5-yard touchdown.

"I was thinking about running it in," said Lippett, who had five catches for 49 yards. "I was going to, but I don't get too many chances to throw it."

The touchdown finished the first drive the Spartans put together that got them inside the Purdue 35-yard line.

Cook was 3 of 4 passing for 69 yards on the 9-play, 73-yard drive and connected with Lippett for 18 yards, MacGarrett Kings for 25 and Josiah Price for 26 to lead the Spartans down the field.

MSU then dialed up a little trickery, with Cook rolling to his left and pitching the ball to Lippett, who ran to his right and found Gleichert open for the touchdown to put MSU up 14-0.

"Maybe I did a better job of calling plays (on that drive)," Warner said. "We converted some third downs. We made some quicker throws and he hit those fine. I don't think it was one thing in particular."

The defense got the scoring started in the second quarter when senior linebacker Max Bullough blitzed and knocked the ball loose from Purdue quarterback Danny Etling.

Senior linebacker Denicos Allen scooped the ball up and ran it back 45 yards for his first career touchdown to put the Spartans up 7-0 at the 10:17 mark of the second.

"It was great," Allen said." That was the first touchdown of my career. I've pretty much experienced every other aspect of the game, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and all that stuff, but I'd never had a touchdown and it was a great feeling."

More importantly, the defense shut out the Boilermakers – the Spartans first shutout in Big Ten play since they did it against Northwestern in 1999.

The Spartans held Purdue to 226 yards of total offense and moved to 6-1, which is what Dantonio said the focus should be on.

"It's a step forward," Dantonio said. "It's not a step back when you win. A step back is when you lose. It's a step forward. There are plenty of people that take a step back and that usually has an ‘L' beside it. We're 6-1."


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