Spartan's Time to Show Change is Now

Last year, the Purdue game was one that got away from MSU. In a season that fell apart as it went on, the game was a perfect microcosm. The Spartans took a one-point lead early in the fourth-quarter, but missed a two-point conversion pass after the touchdown to put then up by three. That failure left the door open for the Boilermakers.

EAST LANSING – Michigan State will have yet another chance to prove they have changed their stripes against Purdue this weekend.

Last year, the Purdue game was one that got away from MSU. In a season that fell apart as it went on, the game was a perfect microcosm. The Spartans took a one-point lead early in the fourth-quarter, but missed a two-point conversion pass after the touchdown to put them up by three. That failure left the door open for the Boilermakers.

Purdue took advantage with a late field goal and instead of the Spartans gaining their fifth win and swinging the momentum of the season, MSU fell again, never to recover.

But this season is different, or so says the mantra emanating from East Lansing. While it might appear to be the same-old-Spartans in the most important category (Ws and Ls), there is plenty of reason to think the Purdue game could be a different story.

First, the Spartans are clearly different, at least according to Boilermaker coach Joe Tiller.

"They're a different style of offense, dramatically different than a year ago," Tiller says. "They're more of a power football team … Their chosen mode of transportation has changed dramatically," he said, pointing to their increased emphasis on the run.

Tiller pointed to the offensive line as a key component in the Spartan's running attack. "Very, very physical offensive line," he says.

Tiller is concerned with the dual threat of Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer. He watched the MSU game against Michigan and knows his defense will have their hands full. "They ran the ball extremely well (against Michigan)," he said.

Although the Spartans will be entering a lion's den as Boilermaker fans cheer on their departing seniors in Purdue's final home game, MSU can take solace in knowing that what they do best on offense should give their opponents trouble.

The Boilermakers have had difficulty with teams that have a similar makeup to MSU—talented skill position players and physical, relentless offensive lines. Purdue was blown out by both Ohio State and UM earlier in the season, giving the Green and White hope as they struggle to climb over the hump of bowl eligibility.

After so many bitter disappointments since the failure to finish last season at home against PU, it might be the right time for the Spartans to prove that a leopard's spots can change. Otherwise, all of the roaring proclamations of change, discipline and new attitudes will begin to sound like timid meows.


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