Purdue Football 2021: Week 10 – #5 Michigan State

3:30 PM ET


Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana (Cap. 57,236)


Forecast: 54°F, 0% chance of rain, Winds 8mph SW

2021 Record

Purdue (5-3) 

Michigan State (8-0)

S&P+ Rankings

Purdue – 46

Michigan State – 14

All-Time Series Wins

Purdue – 28

Michigan State – 36

Tie – 3

Last Win In Series

November 4th, 2006 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan (17-15)

October 27th, 2018 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan (23-13)

Projected Starting Lineups


QB: Aidan O’Connell

RB: Zander Horvath

LT: Greg Long

LG: Spencer Holstege

C: Gus Hartwing

RG: Tyler Witt

RT: Cam Craig

TE: Paul Piferi

WR: David Bell

WR: Jackson Anthrop

WR: Milton Wright

NT: Lawrence Johnson

DT: Branson Deen

DE: George Karlaftis

DE: DaMarcus Mitchell

OLB: Jaylan Alexander

MLB: Kieren Douglas

OLB: Jalen Graham

CB: Jamari Brown

FS: Cam Allen

SS: Marvin Grant

CB: Dedrick Mackey

K: Mitchell Fineran

P: Jack Ansell

LS: Nick Zecchino

KR: TJ Sheffield

PR: Jackson Anthrop

Michigan State

2021 Stat Comparison

PurdueMichigan State
Offensive Points per game22.934.6
Offensive Rushing Yards Per Game80.5201.8
Offensive Passing Yards Per Game307.1244.4
Total Offensive Yards Per Game387.6446.1
Defensive Points per game17.120.5
Defensive Rushing Yards Per Game141.6123.4
Defensive Passing Yards Per Game174301
Total Defensive Yards Per Game315.6424.4

What to Watch For

Opportunity knocks once again for the Purdue Boilermakers as the #5 Michigan State Spartans roll into West Lafayette fresh off a massive come from behind victory against rival, and previously undefeated Michigan. In tote the Spartans bring Heisman candidate and potential front runner, Running Back Kenneth Walker III. On surface level this contest seems to be a Sisyphean task, but this contest is likely going to be much closer and primed for maximum Spoilermaker chaos. Let’s dig in.

On the offensive side of the ball Purdue has faced some continued attrition and adversity, this time hitting the tight end room. Payne Durham is expected to be unavailable after he suffered and injury last week at Nebraska and Garrett Miller is expected to be limited on a snap count as he is working through injury as well. This leaves a majority of the snaps at the tight end position for former QB Paul Piferi and Kyle Bilodeau. Piferi has seen some limited action but has caught all four of his targeted passes, while Bilodeau has had one drop and an interception credited to him. Michigan State will show and play a lot of press-man coverage with a single deep safety but will also drop deep into Cover 3, while playing a tradition 4-3 front. Mel Tucker also likes to call a lot of slot corner blitzes as well traditional linebacker cross dog blitzes and various line stunts. Aidan O’Connell, David Bell and Co. will need to lead a strong effort in the passing game against a Michigan State defense that gives up over 300 passing yards per game, that’s the 4th worst passing defense in the country. Purdue and Jeff Brohm must capitalize in the passing game regardless if the rushing game is there or not. Depending on how drop heavy Michigan State lays to open the game, this may very well be a case of the passing game opening up the rushing attack, allowing the Purdue offense that has struggled this season to surge. Horvath, Doerue, and Anthrop proved to be an effective combination out of the backfield last week against Nebraska, but the question remains will the momentum continue and will Purdue be able to mount an effective rushing attack?

On the defensive side, the Boilers will be facing one of the better offenses in the Big Ten conference this week, featuring the aforementioned Heisman candidate, Kenneth Walker. In 8 games, Walker has a staggering 1,194 yards on 175 carries, for 14 touchdowns. All eyes will be fixated on keeping Walker contained on defense, fortunately for Purdue they have one of the best defensive ends in the country defending one of it’s exposed edges, in George Karlaftis. On the opposite side, the LEO position is a bit of a question mark heading into today’s matchup. DaMarcus Mitchell has been battling injuries and is expected to play this week, but Kydran Jenkins who has been taking the primary bulk of snaps at the position, is not expected to play today. Regardless, Purdue will need to be able to provide additional support on that edge. Sophomore Payton Thorne will be running the offense for the Spartans and enters today’s matchup completing 61.5% of his passes for 1,897 yards, and 15 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor are Thrones two most targeted receivers and account for 11 of Thorne’s 15 TD passes. Both Jamari Brown and Dedrick Mackey will face battles all game long against these two, but will need to keep in mind their outside leverage for the run game as well. From watching the Spartans’ game last week, it seemed like a large portion of their extremely explosive pass plays came from Reed and Nailor playing in the slot against Nickels and safeties, so those will be key matchups when you see either of those two receivers on the inside.

The plan for Purdue will be simple, continue to take care of the ball like last week, move the ball, keep time of possession and stop the run on defense. If the Purdue offense and defense can do those few things, the Boilers will have a shot to topple another Top 5 ranked opponent on national television this year. This year marks the earliest in a season Purdue has reached 5 wins since the 2007 season when the Boilers started the year 5-0. A bowl birth and a second season defining win are on the line for Jeff Brohm and Co. Can lightning strike twice? Let’s find out.


Radio: Purdue Radio Network


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.