Saturday, October 11, 2014

Five Things To Take Away From Michigan State’s 45-31 Win Over Purdue

                                                              Photo Credit: AJ Mast/AP
Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) escaped with a 45-31 win over Purdue (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Here are five things to take away from the game:
1) Michigan State Overcoming Two Purdue Comebacks In The Second And Fourth Quarters:
For the second straight week, Michigan State had to thwart off of a fourth quarter rally­­­­­­­ as Purdue attempted to play the role of spoiler.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio talked about how Purdue’s failed comeback helped in terms of keeping his team on solid ground.
“[These types of games] helps us because when games are close and on the line, you understand how you have to measure up as a team,” Dantonio said.
2) Special Teams:
Sure, Dantonio’s gambles have paid off in the past, but the oddest of scenarios came about in the fourth quarter with MSU up 14 points and deciding on fourth down to fake a punt attempt in hopes of throwing Purdue off. The play ended up stalling as Purdue got the ball back and scored on the next play on a three-yard TD run from Akeem Hunt.
Spartans running back Nick Hill was even surprised when he saw the fake punt called.
“When I saw [the play], it was hard to believe that [Dantonio] called it, but our defense stepped up and our offense scored one more time,” Hill said.
3) Michigan State’s Running Game:
For the third time in four games, MSU finished with over 200 yards on the ground. The majority of the Spartans’ 294 yards came from Jeremy Langford (110) and Nick Hill (72). Hill would score both touchdowns and talked about playing a part in MSU’s one-two rushing attack.
“It is satisfying because when you are a part of an offense that had the success that we did today, then it is a good feeling,” Hill said. “I look at it as a good game for myself and will do the best that I can to help us win.”
4) Purdue Quarterback Austin Appleby:
In his first career home start, sophomore Austin Appleby went 24-of-37 for 211 yards passing and threw a touchdown.
It sounded like a good game on paper, but Appleby’s interception to MSU’s Darien Harris for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the game highlighted the constant pressure he faced all game long.
“I had a guy pressuring me, I should have just thrown the ball away and live to play the next down,” Appleby said. “That’s something that will get fixed.”
5) Tony Lippett:
MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett continues to be the foundation of the offense as he finished with seven receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Lippett now has four 100-yard plus games on the season, but he deflected the focus to the team, not himself.
“We have to continue to keep our foot on the pedal, and try to not get too laid back,” Lippett said. “We have to continue to execute. We have to finish every time we go out there.”
Looking Ahead:
Both teams are on the road next Saturday as Michigan State travels to Indiana, while Purdue goes to Minnesota.
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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.