2010 Purdue Boilermakers Football

 
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Purdue Boilermakers @ Michigan State Spartans Football Recap

 

 

The Purdue Boilermakers knew the odds were against their reaching a bowl game, as they entered Saturday’s game against the 12th-ranked Michigan State Spartans needing an improbable win to keep their postseason hopes alive.

For three quarters, the Boilers were the better team.  Purdue led 28-13 entering the fourth quarter, but then collapsed, gift-wrapping two of Michigan State’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns to lose 35-31 and ensure that for the third straight year, their season will end in November.

Purdue’s offense finally seemed to click on Saturday, after weeks of growing pains.  Injuries to numerous key offensive players meant Purdue had to use freshmen in many key spots, and – especially on the road – it often seemed like the young offense was incapable of moving the ball against a Big Ten defense.

But redshirt freshman quarterback Rob Henry, finally near 100 percent after being limited for weeks with a finger injury, led a balanced attack that would end up with 378 total yards – 189 rushing, 189 passing.

 



After Michigan State took an early 7-0 lead, the Boilers stormed back when running back Keith Carlos tore off an 80-yard touchdown run to tie the score.

Purdue took its first lead on the next Michigan State drive.  Freshman phenom Ricardo Allen picked off a Keith Cousins pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown that gave the Boilermakers a 14-7 lead.

Henry ran the two-minute drill to perfection at the end of the first half, engineering an 85-yard drive that ended on his eight-yard touchdown pass to Antavian Edison, which gave Purdue a 21-13 halftime lead.

The offensive breakthrough continued on the first Purdue drive of the second half.  Henry again led Purdue all the way down the field, giving the Boilers a 28-13 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Cortez Smith.  The TD pass capped off an 11-play, 69-yard drive that ate up a nearly six-minute chunk of third-quarter clock.

The young Boilers started to sputter early in the fourth quarter.  After Purdue was pinned inside its five-yard line due to a strange fair catch called by punt returner Josh Johnson, Henry threw a costly interception that gave Michigan State the ball at the Purdue 20.  Four plays later, MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins hit B.J. Cunningham for a five-yard TD that cut the Purdue lead to 28-20.

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A long kickoff return by T.J. Barbarette set up Carson Wiggs’ 52-yard field goal, and Purdue led 31-20 with 8:42 to play.  But Michigan State had an answer, as Cousins led the Spartans down the field in less than two minutes, completing five-of-seven passes, including a nine-yard touchdown to Mark Dell.  After the two-point conversion, the Purdue lead was just three points.

That’s when the wheels came completely off.   After a pair of penalties gave Purdue no real chance to move the ball, disaster struck when Michigan State blocked a punt and recovered it at the Purdue three-yard line.  Two plays later, Cousins plunged into the end zone to give Michigan State its first lead since the first quarter, 35-31 with 4:32 to play.

Henry and the Purdue offense had one last chance, and a personal foul against the Spartans gave Purdue the ball within striking distance, but the drive stalled when Henry was intercepted on fourth down from the Spartans’ 20-yard line.

Purdue’s season will end this Saturday, when the Boilermakers face archrival Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket battle at Ross-Ade Stadium.

 

By: James Lambert
DFN Sports Staff Writer

 

 

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