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October 17, 2013

Matchup Preview: Purdue-Michigan State





GoldandBlack.com breaks down how Purdue and Michigan State might match up Saturday in Spartan Stadium.

When Purdue's running ...

Michigan State's the No. 1 run defense in college football, allowing 58 yards per game. Based on past results, Purdue might be hard-pressed to get to that number. The Boilermakers must match Michigan State's physicality up front, no small task for an offensive front that's struggled.

Advantage: Michigan State (decided)

When Purdue's passing ...

The Spartans are every bit as effective against the pass as the run, the two combining to make for college football's overall leader in total defense. Michigan State will challenge Purdue physically at every position - including its freshman wide receivers at the line of scrimmage - and look to tee off on freshman QB Danny Etling the same way Nebraska did.

Advantage: Michigan State (decided)

When Michigan State is running ...

Behind a veteran offensive line, Michigan State will hang its hats on toughness up front same as it will on defense. Purdue's defense played better than the final score suggested on Nebraska considering it couldn't get off the field, part of that being its doing and part of it the offense's. A turnaround at Michigan State starts against the run.

Advantage: Michigan State (decided)

When Michigan State is passing ...

Connor Cook is playing well at QB for the Spartans and has some speedy weapons to throw to. Purdue has had a difficult time generating pressure and Michigan State's fare well deterring pressure. Purdue's playing a lot of inexperience in the back half of its defense. The Boilermakers are coming off a three-interception game, which was encouraging for its pass D.

Advantage: Michigan State (slight)

Special teams

Michigan State's one of the few teams Purdue doesn't have a clear advantage over in the punting column, where Mike Sadler is top-notch and the Boilermakers' Cody Webster hasn't kicked as well lately as he had earlier in the season.

Advantage: Even

Intangibles

Michigan State's the most penalized team in the Big Ten, by far, with a particular affinity for personal fouls, 11 of them to be exact. … Time of possession is an over-rated stat, but considering how much Purdue's defense was on the field against Nebraska, it's worth noting MSU possesses the ball an average of 34:43 per game, tops in the Big Ten.







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