Purdue upsets unbeaten Michigan State

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Purdue just loves to play the role of spoiler. And this time, it was Michigan State’s turn.

A week after a triumphant come-from-behind victory over Michigan vaulted MSU to No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Spartans went into West Lafayette and were upset by Purdue, 40-29. With the loss, Michigan State fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and took a hit — but not a fatal one — to both its Big Ten and CFP hopes.

The Michigan State defense just had no answers for Purdue’s passing attack. Aidan O’Connell threw for a whopping 536 yards and three touchdowns in the win with David Bell as his favorite target. Bell, one of the best receivers in the country, hauled in 11 passes for 217 yards and a score.

Saturday’s outcome marked the second time this season that the unranked Boilermakers have upset a top three team in the country and the third time during Jeff Brohm’s tenure. 

Just last month, Purdue shocked then-No. 2 Iowa 24-7 in Iowa City behind a similar offensive performance from O’Connell and Bell, who also topped 200 yards in that performance.

Purdue also shocked No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 back in 2018 in a game that ultimately cost the Buckeyes a trip to the College Football Playoff.

Will Michigan State endure the same fate?

Purdue wide receiver David Bell (3) makes a catch for a touchdown against Michigan State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Purdue wide receiver David Bell (3) makes a catch for a touchdown against Michigan State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Purdue took early lead, pulled away in 3rd quarter

O’Connell and the Purdue passing attack were on fire from the start. 

O’Connell completed four of his first five passes and led the Boilermakers to an early 7-0 lead. That lead grew to 21-7 late in the second quarter on one of Brohm’s many creative play calls on the day. 

We’ll call this a reverse flea flicker screen pass, and it went for a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Anthrop. 

Michigan State would battle back and tie the score at 21-21 early in the third quarter, but the defense just could not get the stops it needed. 

Purdue would score on its next four drives — one touchdown and three field goals — to build a 37-21 lead with 6:48 to go. 

Michigan State overcame a two-score deficit last week vs. Michigan, but couldn’t get it done this time. 



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