WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (NWN) – Aidan O’Connell threw a career-best 536 yards, matched his career-high with three touchdown passes and led Purdue to No. 5 Michigan State 40-29 on Saturday, the Big Ten Any unbeaten team without leaving
Purdue’s second major upset in four weeks could keep the conference out of the college football playoffs for the third time in five years. The Boilermakers (6-3, 4-2), who won at that time-no. 2 Iowa qualified for the bowl last month, for the first time in three years. They tied for the West Division lead and increased their FBS record for wins over the top-five teams when it reached 17.
“We have a bunch of people who are really hungry. We have had some adversity along the way, but that is football and that is what trains you to be great,” said coach Jeff Brom. A really great win for our program.”
The Spartans (8-1, 5-1) lost to Purdue for the first time since 2006 and formerly trailed Ohio State by one game.
O’Connell went 40 off 54, including 39-yard TD Jackson Anthrop on a beautifully executed trick play Which put Purdue 21-7 in the second quarter. Anthrop started the play in motion, took a handoff and delivered the ball on reverse to a wide receiver, who pitched the ball back to O’Connell. The QB threw an easy screen pass back to Anthrop, who chased a convoy of blockers into the end zone.
David Bell ran in 11 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown. He posted his 15th career 100-yard receiving game, breaking John Standford’s Purdue record.
Another strong performance by Kenneth Walker III – has 146 yards and a score in 23 – could not keep the Spartans on track. Michigan State (8-1, 5-1, No. 3 CFP) spent most of the day playing catch-up.
“We weren’t able to move and change the chains when we needed to,” Spartans coach Mel Tucker said.
The Spartans scored within 21–14 at halftime and leveled the score in their third game of the second half when quarterback Peyton Thorne hit 39 yards for a touchdown.
King Doeru broke the tie in the ensuing series with a 1-yard TD run and the Boilermakers extended the margin to 37-21 with three field goals. The Spartans closed 37-29 on Thorne’s second TD pass to Trey Mosley and a 2-point conversion pass from Thorne to Malik Carr.
Purdue sealed it with a 22-yard field goal, with 41 seconds to spare.
Michigan State: The Spartans haven’t been 9-0 since 1966 and again failed to follow up a big, emotional victory — over Michigan last week — with another win. Michigan State must win to have a chance to play for its first Big Ten crown since 2015.
Purdue: Coach Jeff Brom achieved a rare feat by beating two top-five teams in the same season for the first time since 1960. Fans raced to the field to celebrate.
Michigan State: Spartans will trail Ohio State in NWN Top 25. How far they fall in the CFP standings will indicate whether Michigan State still has a chance of making the four-team playoffs.
Purdue: Boilermakers are expected to return to the top 25 for the second time this season.
Michigan State: hosts Maryland next Saturday.
Purdue: Next Saturday, No. 6 visits Ohio State to face its second straight top-10 foe.
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