Michigan State needed to rebound after a loss to Michigan, and it did exactly that by defeating Purdue, 23-13. The Spartans’ defense was outstanding once again and will look to carry that momentum into a game against Maryland.
What went wrong
For the first time this season, I don’t have a definitive topic to put in this section. The MSU defense was pretty dominant against the Boilermakers. They limited the explosiveness of Rondale Moore, forced three turnovers and blocked a field goal that would’ve tied the game late in the fourth quarter.
The MSU defense had one poor drive, where it allowed Purdue to go down the field and score a touchdown, but that was about it. Even with the struggles the Spartans have had on offense all season, the defense will keep them in every game the rest of the year.
The highest-graded players on Michigan State's defense this weekend pic.twitter.com/TnBzWgmnHR— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 30, 2018
3rd down defense
To say Purdue struggled on third down would be an understatement. The Boilermakers were 3-for-13 and couldn’t find much of a rhythm on offense throughout the game. On the season, MSU is allowing opponents to convert just 33 percent of the time, which is top 30 in the nation. The Spartans’ defense has been great this season, and with the return of Josiah Scott on the horizon, it should only get better.
As my colleague Matt Sheehan mentioned in his The Good, The Bad, The Random article, Layne might have been the MVP of this game. He was incredible against the Boilermakers, finishing the game with seven tackles and four pass deflections. He played both ways for the Spartans and looked really good doing it. Layne has been very good for the Spartans all season and should get more opportunities to help the offense going forward.
It’s hard to believe he was a walk-on, but MSU is known for developing its players, and this is just another example. Against the Boilermakers, Willekes was disruptive, finishing with four tackles and four quarterback hurries. It seemed like every time David Blough dropped back to pass, Willekes was right there in his face. He’s one of the best defensive linemen in the Big Ten and should continue his dominant season when the Spartans play Maryland on Saturday.