Michigan State came into today’s game looking for a New Year's Day bowl. Purdue was fighting just to be bowl-eligible. As the cold set in to welcome the Boilermakers into East Lansing, a couple storylines developed to make this into an interesting game.
Will the young Justin Siller have a big day coming off a big victory over Michigan? Would the Spartan Seniors be able to celebrate their last home game after what has been a very successful season under second year coach Mark Dantonio?
Unfortunately for Justin Siller, the only big stat for him on the day was dropped passes. The Purdue receivers racked up nine dropped passes in the first half alone.
Michigan State took advantage of the lack of passing and loaded up the box to contain the one-two punch of Kory Sheets and Justin Siller. After running for 70+ yards last week, Siller was held to a paltry nine yards this weekend.
Javon Ringer and Brian Hoyer were steady as usual. Ringer ran 32 times for 121 yards, and more importantly, Hoyer’s 10 for 22 performance was enough to keep the defense off balance.
The passing game was highlighted by a 49-yard bomb to Blair White early in the second half. White, a first year scholarship player, has seen increased playing time after an injury to Mark Dell and breakout performances against Michigan and Wisconsin. The Purdue defense apparently took notice, as this was White's only big catch of the day.
As the first half progressed, it seemed like scoring was going to be sparse, as Michigan State was holding a 7-0 lead with seconds left before halftime. However, Siller completed an ill-fated pass to MSU’s John Adams, who ran it back for a touchdown to give MSU a 14-0 lead at the half.
Purdue was all but bottled up for the second half as well, finally completing a drive in the fourth quarter that would kill the shutout for Michigan State. But it was all too little, too late for the Boilermakers.
Michigan State goes into the bye week contemplating a share of the Big Ten Championship, which they could attain with a win over Penn State in two weeks. The bye can’t come at a better time, with MSU being the only team in the Big Ten to play 10 straight games to start the season.
As the stands emptied and the players left the field, Javon Ringer was seen walking off with a rose in his mouth—all the seniors received roses as part of the Senior Day celebration. The double meaning did not go unnoticed.