EAST LANSING - Even as the hard feelings linger in the face of Michigan running back Mike Hart's cheap shot comments, it's time for Michigan State to turn their attention toward the Purdue Boilermakers.
Michigan State (5-5) goes on the road to West Lafayette, IN, a place where they haven't had much recent success, to face a Purdue (7-3) team that hasn't lost to anyone it shouldn't have.
The Spartans have lost four straight to the Boilermakers and got their last win over Purdue in 2000. This is yet another of those nasty streaks that has Michigan State sporting one of the worst conference records in the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers gave Penn State all they could handle before falling 26-19 when their last minute drive fell short. The senior-led squad is balanced and dangerous on offense, while solid defensively.
Purdue senior Dorien Bryant (average 6.9 catches per game) continue his outstanding play as a returner with a 98-yard return to give the Black-and-Gold an early 7-0 lead.
Senior quarterback Curtis Painter has the Boilers second in the conference in passing offense and 20th nationally piling up an average of 282 yards per game.
Running back Kory Sheets adds to the Boiler attack rushing for an average of 70.6 yards per game. Defensively Senior linebacker Cliff Avril ranks 9th in the Big Ten with six sacks while senior corner Terrell Vinson - a candidate to play on Sunday's next season - leads the team in tackles with 64 and his 11 passes defensed is among the nation's best.
Michigan State needs better production from junior quarterback Brian Hoyer, who takes care of the ball, but has a propensity for missing throws. Hoyer is streaky and needs to settle down and make plays for the Spartans to have a shot to win this one.
The formula for an MSU upset is for its offensive line to repeat its dominant performance against Indiana and allow Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer to pound it against the smaller Boilers who give up on average 142.4 yards per game rushing and keep the ball away from Painter, Bryant and Sheets.
If MSU's run game is successful, it allows Hoyer to do what he does best, use play action passing to make chunk plays that move the chains.
As tough as it will be, MSU must put Michigan in their rear view mirror, file it away, and use it as motivation in '08. Better yet, the Spartans should channel their emotion and take their hard feelings out on Purdue.
MSU is running out of chances and time to secure a bowl bid and they're on another nasty late season four-game losing streak.
Time for talking is over, it's time to do something about the losses. Win a couple of games.
Spartans Turn Attention To Boilers
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