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Big Game Breakdown: #5 Michigan State at Purdue

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The Michigan State Spartans are riding high after upsetting their archrival Michigan last Saturday. The Spartans are a perfect 8-0 on the season and will head to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Saturday at 3:30 Eastern Time.

Purdue is 5-3 on the year but they already pulled off one major upset a few weeks ago when they defeated then #2 Iowa 24-7. Can the Boilers be spoilers again against the Spartans this Saturday?

Oddsmakers are expecting a close game, as Michigan State is only favored by three points. Let’s break down each team on both sides of the ball to find out who has the upper hand in this Big 10 showdown.

Michigan State Offense vs. Purdue Defense

MSU QB Payton Thorne did an excellent job of keeping his poise against Michigan, even when things did not go his way. Thorne has thrown for 1,897 yards and 15 TDs this season with only 6 INTs. The Spartans rank 28th in the nation in yards per pass (8.4) (teamrankings.com).

RB Kenneth Walker III is now a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy after scoring five TDs against Michigan last week. Walker is one of the most explosive tailbacks in the country and he has scored 15 total TDs (14 rushing, 1 receiving) this season. The 5-10 junior could have a big day against a Purdue defense that ranks 63rd in yards per rush allowed.

Purdue’s defense may struggle at times against the run, but their overall performance this year has been solid. The Boilers are 9th in points per game allowed (17.1) and 8th in passing yards allowed per game. This unit’s greatest strength is that they do a good job of getting off the field on third down.

Purdue Offense vs. Michigan State Defense

The Purdue offense has struggled for much of the season. This unit ranks 96th in points per game and 126th in yards per rush. QB Aidan O’Connell has shown flashes of playmaking ability by throwing 9 TDs but he’s been turnover prone with 8 INTs. O’Connell’s favorite target is wideout David Bell, who has 786 receiving yards and 4 TDs.

The Michigan State defense has been stout the entire season. Though they’re giving up 21.4 points per game, this unit plays both the run and the pass extremely well. The Spartans rank 20th in yards per rush allowed and 23rd in yards per pass allowed.

Our Pick: Purdue +3

We love this Michigan State team, but this is an awful spot for them coming off their come from behind win victory over Michigan. This looks to be a classic letdown spot so we’ll ride with the home team in Purdue.

We’re in no rush to bet this now, as most of the betting public should be on Michigan State and drive this point spread up to +3.5 or better. Purdue has already beaten a highly ranked conference team earlier this season so they won’t be intimidated in this game. Take the points and root for the upset!

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