Coming off a dominating 49-20 win over Ohio State, the Purdue Boilermakers have little time to rest on their laurels. While Purdue has won the last four games in a row, the Boilermakers will leave the friendly confines of Ross-Ade Stadium and head to East Lansing where the Michigan State Spartans await in a critical Big Ten contest for both teams.
The win over Ohio State certainly drew the attention of Big Ten fans. Purdue swept the conference awards circuit as David Blough (quarterback), Markus Bailey (defensive player), Joe Schopper (special teams), and Rondale Moore (co-freshman of the week, with Nebraska's Adrian Martinez) were all recognized for their performances.
Michigan State comes into this game 4-3, just like Purdue. Unlike Purdue, Michigan State is coming off a bitter loss to their archrival, the Michigan Wolverines. With a chance at Big Ten East championship looking dimmer, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is trying to regroup offensively, with the Spartans suffering injuries, most notably to senior wide receiver Felton Davis. Davis suffered a torn Achilles and is out for the season. "You can't make excuses in a football game," Dantonio said. "You've got to play with what you've got, you've got to play it on game day."
Purdue at Michigan State
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Michigan State -2
Three Things To Watch
1. Will there be an Ohio State hangover for Purdue?
Sometimes after a big win, it is difficult for a team to focus on the next task at hand. The Purdue coaches, players and fans all enjoyed the win over the then-No. 2 team in the country; now the Boilermakers need to go on the road, and face an angry Michigan State team that is brooding over a tough loss. Will the Boilermakers be focused for this game at Michigan State?
2. Will Michigan State bounce back from the Michigan loss?
Michigan State came into the 2018 season with high expectations, and the Spartans have lost three games out of seven, two of them within the Big Ten. The loss to Michigan did not seem to end at the conclusion of the game, with comments being made back and forth between Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State's Dantonio. Do the Spartans have the proper focus on the Boilermakers?
3. Purdue's passing game vs. Michigan State's pass defense
Purdue is averaging nearly 338 yards per game through the air, while Michigan State's pass defense is allowing about 276 yards per game. Which of these units is going to come out ahead in this contest? In particular, the Spartans will try and slow down Rondale Moore, who is leading the Big Ten in receptions (57), yards (728) and is tied for second with seven touchdown catches. Moore is one of just 13 players in the country averaging more than 100 receiving yards per game. He's also second in the country in all-purpose yards (179.9 ypg). Between his work as a receiver, as a rusher and on special teams, Moore is averaging 14 yards every time he touches the ball.
Purdue is riding a four-game winning streak, basking in the win over Ohio State. This game marks the true test of how well the Boilermakers can handle prosperity. Michigan State's offensive challenges are mounting, and the Spartans may not have enough firepower to keep pace with a Boilermakers team that is growing more confident on a weekly basis.