Michigan State 14, Purdue 0: Kneejerk Reactions

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Quick thoughts after a too-close-for-too-long win.

1) Not a banner day for Connor Cook.

13 for 25 throwing, for just 107 yards. Several times, receivers got open but the throw was off target (usually high). Hopefully this is just a blip after the two solid games against Iowa and Indiana. Notably, the fourth quarter went much better than the first three, completing 4 of 6 for 74 yards.

2) Running game was fairly effective, given how little air support it got.

Jeremy Langford picked up 131 yards on 24 carries as the featured back. Cook added 27 yards, R.J. Shelton 24, and Delton Williams 8. So despite the ugliness, the offense did break 300 total yards before the kneeldowns at the end brought the total back down to 294.

3) Just another day for this defense.

Purdue moved the ball better than expected - no three-and-outs until the second half - but the defense came up with the stop when they needed it. Some curious clock management forced a long field goal attempt for Purdue before halftime, which came up short; a second one came up short in the third quarter after a 3rd-and-1 stop. An earlier drive approaching field goal range ended with a toe-dragging interception by Isaiah Lewis at the back of the end zone, and Max Bullough set up the first score of the game with a sack and forced fumble, which Denicos Allen took to the house.

All told: 226 yards allowed on 91 59 plays (EDIT: read the wrong line in the box score), no points allowed, 7 points scored. And they've set the bar so high that, against Purdue, that almost feels disappointing.

4) It may have been ugly, but it's still a win.

For whatever reason, Purdue seems to play us close even when they're bad (something I wish I had remembered before making my prediction this week). Hopefully it's that, not a sign that the Iowa and Indiana performances from the offense were flukes.

In any case, we're bowl-eligible, 3-0 in conference and atop the division. Next up: Illinois. Then the division gauntlet begins.

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