MSU Just Makes Plays To Defeat Purdue 40-37

Colin Neely recorded the only sack of the game, a 13-yard loss on a fourth-and-6 play on the MSU 47-yard line in the final seconds of the game to preserve the win for MSU.

Michigan State's players shook off the effects of poor play, bad breaks and an ineffective secondary and willed themselves to a 40-37 win over Purdue, getting themselves bowl eligible and ending the Boilermakers bowl hopes.

The Spartans got the biggest of plays as Purdue was driving for the game-tying or winning score when defensive end Colin Neely sacked quarterback Joey Elliott on fourth down to put an exclamation point on a game full of big time performances by big time players including:

Brett Swenson, who tied his career high with four field goals, including two 52-yard field goals, which marked his career long…his previous career long was a 50-yarder vs. Wisconsin last season.

Swenson hit the game-winning field goal, a 21-yarder, with 1:51 left in the game to give MSU a 40-37 lead…it marked his third career game-winning kick (2006 vs. Northwestern; 2008 vs. Wisconsin)…Swenson also hit four field goals vs. Indiana and Wisconsin in 2008…both of Swenson's 52-yard field goals arrived in the third quarter; he hit a 28-yarder in the second quarter

Keshawn Martin collected 236 all-purpose yards, the second time this season he has gained more than 200 all-purpose yards (294 vs. Minnesota)…Martin led the team with 70 yards rushing on three carries (23.3 avg.)…he is now third on the team in rushing this season with 217 yards on just 14 carries (19.7 avg.)

Martin also had 166 kickoff return yards, including an 85-yard return to the Purdue 11-yard line with under three minutes remaining in the game that set up Swenson's game-winning field goal…the 166 kick return yards rank as the seventh-highest single-game total in school history

Kirk Cousins recorded his fifth consecutive 200-yard passing game and seventh of the season, going 11-of-25 for 208 yards…Cousins threw three touchdown passes and now has 17 this season, which ranks ninth most in an MSU single-season.

B.J. Cunningham recorded a career-high 93 receiving yards on three catches, including a career-long 73-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter that cut Purdue's lead to 34-30.

Blair White, who entered the game tied for first in the Big Ten in TD catches, recorded his eighth touchdown reception of the season with a 9-yard grab in the fourth quarter that made it 37-34 in favor of MSU…the eight TD catches are tied for fourth most in an MSU season…White finished with three catches, improving his season total to 61, which ranks seventh in MSU single-season history.

Andrew Hawken caught his first touchdown of the season and the third of his career with a 4-yard catch in the second quarter that put MSU up, 14-13.

Trenton Robinson recorded a career-high 14 tackles…he is the first player this season other than Greg Jones or Eric Gordon to lead the team in tackles in a game this season.

• Greg Jones tallied nine tackles, giving him 126 for the season…he also moved up to 11th in school history with 331 career tackles.

• Eric Gordon blocked a Purdue field goal midway through the fourth quarter that kept the game within four points (Purdue, 34-30)…Gordon finished with nine tackles.

• On the first play from scrimmage, Chris L. Rucker scooped up a Purdue fumble and ran it back 11 yards for his first career touchdown…it marked MSU's first fumble return for a touchdown since Travis Key ran back a fumble 20 yards in the win at Purdue in 2007…Rucker was also credited with five tackles, a forced fumble and a pass break-up in the game…Rucker has a team-best seven pass break-ups this season.

• Colin Neely recorded the only sack of the game, a 13-yard loss on a fourth-and-6 play on the MSU 47-yard line in the final seconds of the game…the sack preserved the win for MSU. Neely finished with four tackles, including two for losses (15 yards).

• In his second start of the season, Jon Misch collected a season-high seven tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss.

Jeremy Ware had two pass break-ups and now has five this season.

A.J. Jimmerson recorded a career-long 43-yard kick return to open the second half, setting up Swenson's first 52-yard field goal of the game.

Thanks to MSU Sports Information for these tidbits

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