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TOC Staff Picks: Michigan State vs. Purdue

After a big win against Michigan, what do the Spartans have in store next?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sitting at No. 3 in the first edition of the College Football Playoff poll, Michigan State has an opportunity to make some noise down the stretch of the season.

The Spartans sit at around a three-point favorite against the Purdue Boilermakers. However, with a history of upsetting top tier teams, MSU should be locked in for this contest.

Purdue recently upset then No. 2 Iowa and has kept games against strong MSU teams close in the past. See what our writers have to say about Saturday’s game against the Boilermakers.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 27, Purdue 20

This game scares me. Michigan State is coming off of an emotional win against Michigan and now has to go on the road to play Purdue. If MSU isn’t focused, this is a stereotypical trap game for the Spartans. Purdue has a terrific defense, ranking No. 17 in the country in total defense (314 total yards per game), No. 10 in passing defense (174 yards allowed per game) and No. 54 in rushing defense (140 yards allowed per game). The Boilermakers also have a dynamic receiver in David Bell who will likely take advantage of MSU’s “bend-don’t-break” style of defense. However, Purdue struggles to finish drives and I expect Mel Tucker to have his team ready. The Spartans once again show the ability to win in tight games. Purdue is going to make it challenging, though, and it’s going to be a little too close for comfort.

Kevin Knight

Michigan State 35, Purdue 17

This game can go two ways: Hangover from the Michigan win causes the team to come out flat-footed and Purdue handles Michigan State the same way the Boilermakers just handled the Nebraska Cornhuskers a week ago/upset the Spartans just like Iowa a few weeks ago.

The other alternative is the Spartans sleepwalk through the first quarter and then take a lead in the second before exploding in the second half for a double-digit win. Either way, I will be frantically checking the score on my phone while playing tourist in our former overlord’s capital city, unable to watch it in London.

Colin Jankowski

Michigan State 27, Purdue 13

Purdue is obviously a very solid team looking to make another big upset this weekend. MSU is coming off a big win and many think the Spartans could be looking past the Boilermakers this week. After listening to Mel Tucker this week and thinking about the matchup a bit more, I don’t think the Spartans will do that. They’ll come out, handle business, and walk out of West Lafayette 9-0.

Zach Manning

Michigan State 31, Purdue 21

Michigan State will come out sluggish after a hard-fought win over Michigan. In the end, however, the Spartans are able to turn things up a notch and put up enough points to outlast the Boilermakers on the road. Kenneth Walker III continues to roll, adding three more touchdowns.

Paul Fanson

Michigan State 24, Purdue 23

This game is terrifying. At the beginning of the season, anything over six wins seemed like a major accomplishment, but with the Spartans undefeated and ranking at No. 3, the stakes are all of a sudden much, much higher. This is totally a game that the Same Old Spartans would lose. Just ask Nick Saban, circa 1997.

But, the Mel Tucker version of the Spartans are resilient and relentless. While the thought of Purdue’s passing attack versus the MSU secondary is likely to keep me up all night on Friday, I (and my computer) both think that the Green and White will find a way to pull this one out.

Matt Sheehan

Either Michigan State 8, Purdue 5 or Michigan State 47, Purdue 46

I’m confident in two things — Michigan State winning despite it being a vintage spot for a letdown game and the fact that it will just be a weird game. No one goes into Ross-Aide Stadium as a highly-ranked team and just has a typical game of football. Purdue’s run game is so brutal that I wouldn’t even try a single rush attempt if I was them. MSU has been accustomed to playing in games where it sees one receiver go off (David Bell in this instance) but doing enough everywhere else where it’s a winning formula. Also, Tre Mosley gets two touchdowns and Montorie Foster has 85 yards receiving.

Matt Hoeppner

Michigan State 30, Purdue 20

This game will be similar to the Indiana and Rutgers games where it is a bit of a slog early and MSU eventually pulls away. Purdue will rack up meaningless pass yards between the 20-yard-lines, but will not be able to finish enough drives. Meanwhile MSU will wear down the Boilermaker defense and Kenneth Walker III will have his way with them as the game goes on. Spartans avoid the letdown and move to 9-0.


Michigan State 27, Purdue 20

Purdue presents problems, one being wide receiver David Bell, who is averaging 112 yards receiving per game. The Boilermakers also have the 10th-ranked scoring defense, only allowing 17.12 points per game.

That being said, Jayden Reed and Kenneth Walker III are a playmaking tandem Purdue hasn’t faced this season. If Payton Thorne can limit mistakes (he has five interceptions in his last 59 passing attempts), MSU should be able to find success against the Boilermaker defense. For the Spartans defense, the focus will be on making Purdue inefficient in the passing game (the Boilermakers run the ball poorly) and eliminating big plays.

A bit of an ugly game, but MSU leaves West Lafayette with a win.

Austen Flores

Michigan State 31, Purdue 27

While last week’s victory over Michigan was the Spartans’ biggest test to date, the upcoming matchup in West Lafayette will say a lot about this team’s desire to win. I can see Purdue coming out strong early, but the boilermakers won’t be able to stop the Spartans’ offense by the end, as the unit is still riding a high.

David Harns

Michigan State 31, Purdue 24

Throughout the year, several members of TOC will participate in Big Ten picks using Tallysight. You can keep up with those picks here: