Michigan State received two first quarter touchdown runs by standout freshman L.J. Scott to jump out to an early 14-0 lead over Purdue but had to watch as their defense looked to make one last play to survive and advance with their 5th win over the season 24-21 over the Boilermakers..
Scott would finish with 146 yards on the day and is now pushing fellow back Madre London for the starting spot as the team continues Big Ten play.
The Spartans would get an early second quarter 23-yard touchdown as Connor Cook hit R.J. Shelton giving the Spartans the 21-0 advantage on a Homecoming day that saw the Spartans celebrate the 1965-66 National Championship team on their 50th anniversary.
However, the half didn’t come soon enough as Dennis Finley, who got his first career start with the injury to Jack Conklin a week ago, went down with a serious leg injury that saw him quickly removed from the field on a cart and taken to the hospital for surgery. The injury forced the Spartans to move Jack Allen out to tackle for the rest of the game leaving questions about the future at the position until the return of Conklin.
The weather didn’t improve following the half and the Spartans got off to another slow second half start giving up the ball deep in their own territory on a botched punt snap they recovered but turn over on downs. Purdue would go six plays for 21 yards and score on a two-yard pass from David Blough to Gregory Phillips to cut the Spartans lead back to two touchdowns difference.
Special teams continued to struggle after the Spartans drove nine plays for 57-yards to set up a fourth down that saw Mark Dantonio turn to kicker Michael Geiger miss on a 35-yard field goal and the Spartans continued their struggles in the second half of games.
Purdue looked to make it a game and got a spark when Markell Jones broke a couple of tackles to score on a 68-yard run making it 21-14 with 14:10 left in the game.
The Spartans countered with an 8-play drive that ended in a 30-yard Geiger field goal giving the Spartans a little cushion but Purdue refused to go away driving down the field on a 79 yard drive on seven plays that ended in a Markell Jones three-yard touchdown run with 6:44 left in the game as Mark Dantonio watched his teams lead fall to three points.
The game wasn’t decided until the final offensive series for the Boilermakers and it looked like the Spartans could be ready to suffer their first defeat of the season. However, fifth-year senior corner Arjen Colquhoun looked like he’d saved the day only to be called for a holding penalty giving the Boilermakers another chance to steal a win.
The Boilermakers looked again at Colquhoun and this time the Canadian made the play of the game knocking down a fourth-down pass and allowing Connor Cook to come in for the victory formation giving the senior signal caller the school record for career wins as a starting quarterback.
Mark Dantonio gave his team praise following the win for withstanding Purdue's best effort and for Cook's record setting win.
"An exciting football game, obviously," said Dantonio. "I credit our football team's toughness and our attitude and our energy with this one. I thought that we played through the smoke, or however you want to say it. We played through adversity. We got up 21-0 and things were going pretty much our way. Obviously the turnovers had a big deal with this game, but we were able to run the football very effectively. I want to congratulate Connor Cook for winning his 28th game as a Michigan State quarterback, which is an all-time record in the history of this program. Quarterbacks are here to win. They're not here for statistics. They're here to win. He's done an outstanding job. He ran the ball very effectively today and he made some big throws."
|Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan State Spartans|
|Oct 3, 2015||1ST||2ND||3RD||4TH||SCORE|
|Purdue Boilermakers (1-4)||0||0||7||14||21|
|#2 Michigan State Spartans (4-0)||14||7||0||3||24|
|Team Stats Comparison|
|Punt Return Yards||0||0|
|Kick Return Yards||4-76||3-56|
|3rd Down Converstion||5-13||5-14|
|4th Down Conversion||1-3||0-1|
|Red Zone Touchdowns/Field Goals||2-0||2-1|
|FIRST QUARTER SCORING||PUR||MSU|
|7:11||(MSU) LJ Scott 18 yd Run - Michael Geiger PAT Good||0||7|
|00:28||(MSU) LJ Scott 1 yd Run - Geiger PAT Good||0||14|
|SECOND QUARTER SCORING||PUR||MSU|
|11:39||(MSU) RJ Shelton 23 yd pass from Connor Coook - Geiger PAT Good||0||21|
|THIRD QUARTER SCORING||PUR||MSU|
|5:30||(PUR) Gregory Phillips 2 yd pass from David Blough - Paul Griggs PAT Good||7||21|
|FOURTH QUARTER SCORING||PUR||MSU|
|14:10||(PUR) Markell Jones 68 yd run - Griggs PAT Good||14||21|
|9:54||(MSU) Geiger 30 yd FG||14||24|
|6:44||(PUR) Markell Jones 3 yd run - Griggs PAT Good||21||24|