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Previewing MSU vs. Purdue

Notice what Dennard's sleeve says?
Notice what Dennard's sleeve says?
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Game time: Noon ET
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich
Radio: Spartan Sports Network
Online Streaming: BTN2Go

Game Week Q&A: Here
Forecast: 52 degrees, afternoon showers, 30 percent chance of rain
Line: MSU -28
TOC Tailgate Info:

MSU takes on the other half third of the state of Indiana as the Purdue Boilermakers come to down.

Purdue is 1-5. The lone win was a narrow one over FCS Indiana State. They allowed the most points in Ross-Ade Stadium history in a 55-24 loss to Northern Illinois and scored a late TD to avoid a shutout in a 44-7 loss to Nebraska last week. Some are debating if this Purdue team could be the worst Big Ten team in decades. So, you know, time to worry about overlooking the opponent. Purdue's offensive numbers look like MSU's early in the year.

It's Purdue, so they like to throw the ball around, even with a new staff (No. 29 nationally with 227 pass attempts, No. 120 with 165 rushes).

MSU and Nebraska are the lone 2-0 teams in the Legends Division. With a tough November ahead, moving to 3-0 is advised.

By the numbers

15.3 - points per game for Purdue, No. 120 nationally out of 125

15.8 - points per game allowed by MSU, No. 8 nationally

2.8 - yards per carry for Purdue, No. 118 nationally

2.2 - yards per carry allowed by MSU, No. 2 nationally

5.5 - yards per attempt for Purdue, No. 117 nationally

4.5 - yards per attempt allowed by MSU, No. 1 nationally

37.8 - points per game allowed by Purdue, No. 116 nationally

30.5 - points per game for MSU, No. 57 nationally

4.7 - yards per carry allowed by Purdue, No. 97 nationally

4.5 -  yards per carry for MSU, No. 56 nationally

Three keys for MSU

Run the ball - The 4.5 yards per carry would be the best in the Mark Dantonio era. With a mix of Jeremy Langford, Delton Williams and a strong offense line, MSU has been controlling the line of scrimmage. Purdue's defense has weaknesses everywhere, but controlling the clock will give Purdue's slow offense fewer chances to make this game crazy.

Avoid big plays - MSU's defense is always prone to some big plays. Two of Indiana's touchdowns came from or after a play of at least 50 yards. Make a team dink and dunk down the field.

Avoid turnovers - Indiana's other two touchdowns came after MSU turnovers: another fumbled punt return and a fluky interception. I put this here every week. Turnovers are always a key to an upset.

Three keys for Purdue

Get to the quarterback -  The Boilermakers are averaging 1.6 sacks per game, while MSU is averaging just 0.6 allowed. MSU has been able to keep Connor Cook clean. Putting pressure on him could cause the offense to sputter and lead to some important turnovers.

Bend, but don't break - The yardage numbers are up there. MSU's offense has struggled in the red zone before last week. Holding MSU to field goals instead of touchdowns keeps them in it.

Stick around - The longer this game stays close, the more confidence Purdue will get. If they're winning or within two scored at halftime, they're in it.

Prediction: MSU 31-7

I knew Purdue was having a rough season. I didn't realize how bad until I looked at those stats. They somehow played Notre Dame close, but outside of that game and their win, their closest defeat was a pair of 31-point losses. They've gone to true freshman quarterback Danny Etling with nothing to lose, and Pat Narduzzi is licking his lips watching the film.

I still want to see more from MSU's offense to know they can regularly put up big points on a bad team. I think Purdue gets a TD off a big play or a turnover. MSU should be able to take care of business. If not, start being uncomfortable again.