After the program was seemingly in peril a few short weeks ago, the Michigan State football team (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten), has rebounded with two nice wins and will hope to continue their winning ways at home this Saturday against the Purdue Boilermakers (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten).
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. and will be televised on Big Ten Network.
The game will serve as a chance for the MSU football team to improve to 6-1 and become bowl eligible, a feat that took them until the final game of the regular season last year to do so.
Again, for a Michigan State team that was thought to be down in the dumps a few weeks ago, with seemingly no capabilities on offense whatsoever, it’s been a different story as of late.
After moving the offense well on the road against Iowa, winning 26-14, Michigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook continued to spread it around to several different receivers, who found a way to make plays the next week against Indiana. In that contest, the Spartan offense moved the ball at will, going on six touchdowns drives on the afternoon to come away with the victory, 42-28.
“I think it’s natural when you have an opportunity to play as the starting quarterback, you’re going to start to mature,” MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said of Cook’s improved play as of late. “I think that’s what you’ve seen him do. I think he’s growing with his presence on the field… He’s making good decisions down the field. I just see him taking big steps every single game to get better and better.”
And that next step will be against Purdue on Saturday. Against all the turmoil and despite all the problems this Michigan State football team may have had at some point this season, what they have in front of them now is an opportunity to go 6-1 against a struggling Purdue team.
And this Purdue team has struggled mightily this season.
For starters, in four of their five losses, they’ve been absolutely blown out, with the lone win on the season coming against Indiana State.
And if Michigan State fans thought the Spartans had a bad offense, wait until the get a look at this Purdue offense. Thus far on the season, the Boilermakers have put up just 15.3 points a game. That’s 121st in the country out of 126 teams. In addition, Purdue rushes for just 77.8 yards a game, putting them at 119th in the country in that category.
Put this offense up against one of the top defenses in the nation in Michigan State and it’s no question that the Spartans should be able to shut this Purdue offense down.
As for Purdue defense, it doesn’t get much better, as they’ve given up a whopping 37.8 points a game (117th in the nation).
With Michigan State’s offense seemingly catching fire these past two weeks, if they can put in another strong showing on Saturday, Michigan State should easily come away with a victory.
However, despite being heavily favored in a game for really the first time in a long time, Dantonio is doing his best to have his team focus on what’s directly in front of them and not looking down the road or thinking about the past.
“I want to see our football team come ready to play,” Dantonio said of the game on Saturday. “We need to understand what’s in front of us, not what lies behind us, but what’s in front of us. Learn from our mistakes and grow. We want to constantly be stretched as a football team. We’re getting better. We want to play our best football in November.”
Follow Ryan Squanda on Twitter @squandaryan