Five Takeaways: Purdue edition

The Spartans managed to beat Purdue, but what was there to be learned about MSU? Looking at the offense and the keys to getting better. What are the keys in the passing game and how big is it for MSU right now?

1. Not there yet

After two very solid offensive performances, Michigan State fans were rightfully excited about what this team could do. The defense is top notch and the offense was improving – rapidly.

Well, Saturday showed that MSU still has some work to do to get there. It was an anemic offensive showing that was reminiscent of last season and the first two games of 2013.

Michigan State could squeak by with these performances against teams like Western Michigan and South Florida – and in this case, Purdue – but that won't fly once it hits a tough November stretch.

2. Connor Cook is the key for success

As Cook has gone, so have the Spartans. In his two best games, MSU has looked like the best team in the Legends Division. When he is bad, though, the team is very bad.

Cook was very bad Saturday, which led to a very bad performance for the offense as a whole. He has to make throws that are simple and hit the open receivers. If he could have hit a few wide-open receivers against Purdue, it never would have been a game.

3. Tony Lippett is a savior for Cook

For the third straight game, Lippett had a catch that saved what could have been an interception. This time, he went up in double coverage and grabbed the ball over the defenders and gained 16 with some running after the catch.

He also recorded the Spartans touchdown in the fourth quarter to give MSU a two-touchdown lead.

4. Tight ends can factor in

I expected MSU to look to its tight ends more against Purdue than they did – a lot more. They did look to Josiah Price a couple times by design, one of which was a great throwback screen that netted 26 yards and put MSU in the red zone for the first time in the fourth quarter.

The lone touchdown of the game went to Andrew Gleichert, the first of his career and the first tight end touchdown for MSU this season.

5. Kill the wildcat

MSU has a nasty habit of going to the wildcat at the worst times this year – as in they go to it. It hasn't proven successful thus far and doesn't look like it will.

This time, MSU went to it on a short third-down attempt and it was ruled a first down before being overturned. Langford isn't a thread to throw the ball and with no one in motion most of the time, it has only one design: Langford run.

It has killed drives this year and isn't helping. MSU can move it with the traditional run game, so sticking with it a wise move.

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