MSU 24, Purdue 21: The good, the bad and the conference win
EAST LANSING, Mich. — With a 21-0 halftime lead over Purdue, No. 2 Michigan State looked like a team in control at Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. You could even say that for the first 30 minutes, the Spartans looked unbreakable.
They racked up more than double the yards (250-114) as the Boilermakers and appeared to be cruising to an easy victory in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Despite the final score being closer than desirable for Michigan State, 24-21, it still came away with a victory and remains undefeated, which is what any good Spartans fan will focus on.
For others, the light might be shinning on what was done wrong against Purdue, but there were also many positive things for the Spartans.
Record breaking: Connor Cook (13-of-19 for 139 yards and a touchdown) set the record for most victories by a Michigan State quarterback. With a starting record of 28-3, Cook surpassed Kirk Cousins, who had 27 wins in his career.
Undefeated: The Spartans walked onto the field at 4-0 — all against non-conference teams — and then continued their early season winning streak against a Big Ten opponent. It’s only one conference game, but it’s also one game closer to a Big Ten title.
Home again: The homecoming attendance reached 74,418, including the alumni band, dance team and cheerleaders. Despite the gloomy weather, Michigan State alums appeared glad to back.
Defense: The Spartans’ "no fly zone" seemed to be in full affect before halftime, allowing only 43 passing yards and forcing an interception.
Freshman talent: True freshman tailback LJ Scott ran for two touchdowns in the first half and gained 146 yards in the game.
In the end, the game reminded the Spartans just how tough the Big Ten can be. Was it the weather or that Michigan State simply dismissed its opponent after the first half?
Cutting it a little too close in the second half, the Spartans have some kinks to work out if they’re going to beat Michigan in two weeks and keep Paul Bunyan in East Lansing.
A win is a win though, right?
"The bottom line is just win," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "You’re the No. 2 team in the nation. You’re going to get everybody’s best shot."
Injury report: Jack Conklin is still out with a knee injury until further notice. Sophomore left tackle Dennis Finley is out for the season with a broken leg. He went into surgery straight from the game.