FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (75,005) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 1-3, MSU 4-0. Away Record: Purdue 0-2, MSU 1-1. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-0, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: Purdue 0-2, MSU 2-0. Series: Michigan State leads, 32-28-3.
GAME NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers pay a visit to Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on the Michigan State Spartans in Big Ten Conference play.
Purdue's lone win of the season came against FCS school Indiana State back on Sept. 7. Since then, the Boilermakers have lost four in a row, including last Saturday's 44-7 rout at the hands of Nebraska. This weekend's contest is their fifth in a row against a team that has been ranked or received votes this season.
Meanwhile, Michigan State is 5-1 overall and in search of its third straight victory. Most recently, the Spartans took down Indiana over the weekend, 42-28. They are unbeaten at home in four tries this season.
MSU has won the last four head-to-head meetings with Purdue to take a 32-28-3 lead in the all-time series.
Boilermakers head coach Darrell Hazell started underclassmen at all six skill positions against Nebraska, and that inexperience was evident. A week earlier, five freshmen started at the offensive skill positions. True freshman quarterback Danny Etling made his first career start against the Cornhuskers, and he completed 14-of-35 passes for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That touchdown did not come until the final minute of regulation with the game well in hand, and it spoiled what would have been Nebraska's first shutout since 2009. Etling did not have all that much time to operate in the pocket, as he took five sacks on the day. DeAngelo Yancey, another true freshman, caught five passes for 146 yards and a score in the loss. He has had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games, the first Boilermaker to do so since Keith Smith in 2009.
The Boilermakers picked off a season high three passes against Nebraska, and each of those picks was by an underclassman. Purdue was fortunate not to have to face Cornhuskers starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, who sat out with an injury. His replacement, Tommy Armstrong, Jr., appeared overwhelmed by the big stage as he completed only 6-of-18 passes for 43 yards in addition to the aforementioned interceptions. Still, while the Boilermakers were able to generate a few takeaways, ultimately they were no match for Nebraska's ground game, which churned out 251 yards and five touchdowns. Through six games, Purdue ranks 114th in the nation in scoring defense (37.8 ppg).
MSU junior running back Jeremy Langford is the current Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his role in the win over Indiana. Langford carried 23 times for 109 yards and scored four touchdowns. He is averaging 70.0 rushing yards per tilt and currently tops the Big Ten with eight total touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving). Quarterback Connor Cook was efficient against IU, completing 22-of-31 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. On the season, he has completed 57.7 percent of his passes and has thrown nine touchdowns against only two interceptions.
The Spartans boast the nation's top-ranked rush defense (58.0) and total defense (228.3). Indiana brought its potent offense into East Lansing, but the Hoosiers were unable to find many holes to move the chains. Granted, Indiana's Tevin Coleman scored on a 64-yard run just one minute into the game. However, MSU was able to settle down defensively and held the Hoosiers largely in check. IU starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who had averaged nearly 300 passing yards and three touchdowns over his previous five games, was held to 137 yards on 14-of-30 passing with no TDs. Linebacker Denicos Allen headlined the Spartans defense with eight tackles (2.0 TFL) and a pair of quarterback hurries.
The Boilermakers offensively are no match for the Spartans' mighty defense. Look for Michigan State to win big at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan State 32, Purdue 6
Saturday, October 19, 12 p.m. (et)