Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Five takeaways from MSU's 24-21 victory over Purdue

October 3, 2015

The No. 2 MSU football team improved to 5-0 Saturday after escaping with a 24-21 victory over Purdue. Here are the top five takeaways from the game.

Cook breaks record

With today's win over Purdue, senior quarterback Connor Cook became the winningest quarterback in MSU history—breaking his 27-win tie with Kirk Cousins and taking sole possession of the record with 28 wins. 

"That's big time man. Especially for somebody like Connor, a guy that I came in with," senior linebacker Darien Harris said. "It's crazy thinking back to when he first got here.

"I'll never forget Darqueze Dennard saying that (Cook) was going to bring us a national title. (Dennard) obviously has a fantastic football mind and he just saw something in Connor that maybe a lot of people didn't see."

Injury situation getting worse and worse

The Spartans lost yet another player to injury. Playing for the injured Jack Conklin— Dennis Finley broke his tibia and fibula, ending his season.

With Ed Davis, Vayante Copeland and Finley out, the Spartans now have three season-ending injuries. 

Conklin, Finley and Kodi Kieler makes for missing three tackles, arguably the most important position on the offensive line.

Senior safety RJ Williamson and junior tight end Josiah Price are also hobbled. 

"We've got depth. If we lose somebody there is no excuse," head coach Mark Dantonio said. "I don't care if we lose our quarterback, there is no excuse—we keep marching. We're fine."

Dantonio has a lot of optimism, but his team can't keep taking these blows. The injuries are piling up and if the Spartans can stay healthy it will eventually cost them.

Still failing to put teams away

Yet again the Spartans built a big lead in the first half, but they fell flat in the second half. 

Purdue outscored MSU 21-3 in the second half. If the Spartans had been playing one of the premiere teams in the Big Ten, one has to wonder if they would have made it out of this game with a win. 

The Spartans need to learn how to close teams out or it could come back to bite them.

Takeaways saving the season 

Teams have been moving the ball well against MSU all season. In the first half the Boilermakers had several promising drives cut short with turnovers.

The Spartans have forced 11 turnovers this season and at least two in every game except the matchup with Central Michigan. 

Offensive struggles/30-pt steak ends

MSU's 12-game streak of scoring 30+ points ended with today's 24 point performance against Purdue. 

Cook finished the game with just 139 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-19 passing. The Spartans have been very conservative with their play calling. 

MSU could stand to mix it up a little bit and let Cook air it out with a two-minute offense.

Final point: Kicker Michael Geiger went 1-for-2 today, missing one from 35 and making one from 30. The kicking game is suspect and if the Spartans let a game come down to a field goal, that could be a recipe for disaster.

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