Michigan State Spartans football team tripped up by Purdue, 40-29
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue coach Jeff Brohm already had a reputation for running trick plays — and for leading his unranked team to upsets of top-5 opponents.
His Boilermakers added to that legacy on Saturday.
Aidan O’Connell matched his career high by throwing three touchdown passes — including one on a reverse, flea-flicker screen pass to Jackson Anthrop — and Purdue toppled a Big Ten giant for the second time this season, beating No. 5 Michigan State 40-29 and leaving the conference without an unbeaten team.
“We run a multitude of trick plays, you guys have seen that,” Brohm said. “This is one we do, kind of double reverse stuff, you know, throw it behind the line of scrimmage. To be honest with you, I stole it from a YouTube video of a high school team years ago and the first time we ran it, it went for a touchdown.”
This time, the beautifully executed gimmick — O’Connell handed off to Anthrop on an end-around, who gave it to receiver Milton Wright on a reverse, who pitched it back to O’Connell, who tossed a screen to Anthrop — resulted in a 39-yard touchdown that set the stage for something bigger.
The score put the Boilermakers ahead 21-7, and Purdue went on to control most of the game against the previously unbeaten Spartans (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP).
The Spartans’ first loss to Purdue since 2006 could have implications across college football. They fell one game behind No. 6 Ohio State in the Big Ten East Division. No. 2 Cincinnati could be a beneficiary, ascending in the esteem of the College Football Playoff selection committee. And the Big Ten could miss the playoff entirely for the third time in five years.
Michigan State stumbled despite another strong showing by Kenneth Walker III — 23 carries for 146 yards and one score. And the Spartans had plenty of problems defending O’Connell, trickery aside.
O’Connell was 40 of 54 for a career-high 536 yards while matching his career best in TD passes. David Bell caught 11 passes for 217 yards and one TD, his 15th career 100-yard receiving game — the most of any Purdue player.