Not a lot to hang your hat on in terms of the MSU offense today. Javon Ringer was contained for most of the day. Brian Hoyer was erratic. Brett Swenson was a nonfactor due to the weather. And we managed to turn the ball over four times.
But the defense was magnificent. They took an opposing offense that came into the game hoping to build on a 48-point performance with a new quarterback at the helm in their last outing and absolutely shut them down.
Justin Siller attempted to pass or run the ball 43 times this afternoon. Those 43 plays resulted in a net total of 89 yards. That’s 2.1 yards per play. And you’ll note that 52 of those yards came on the Purdue’s final drive, when the game was well out of reach. Prior to that drive, MSU had stopped Purdue from converting a single third down attempt.
The MSU front seven found a way to put pressure on Siller all day, sacking him four times, while still containing his running ability. It seemed like there were always two or three defenders in his vicinity when he tried to scramble out of the pocket.
And when he did get out of the pocket, Greg Jones found him. The BTN player of the game had 12 tackes–a whopping 7 of them of the solo variety.
If there was a key moment in the game, it came at the end of the first half. Because of turnovers and a failed 4th down converstion, MSU was only up 7-0 when Purdue got the ball with 53 seconds left in the half. Inexplicably, the Purdue coaching staff started calling passing plays, rather than running the ball a couple times, being glad they were only down 7, and going into halftime to regroup.
When Trevor Anderson got called for an offsides penalty on third down to extend the series, I actually thought to myself, “Good. Maybe Purdue will try to throw the ball again and we’ll have a shot at a pick.” Sure enough, Johnny Adams intercepted the ensuing pass and returned it for a touchdown. And that was about the end of it.
The team gets a well-deserved bye week now. Javon Ringer, in particular, will be happy to have some time to recuperate, I’d think.
Then its a trip to Happy Valley with at least a share of the Big Ten title on the line. Raise your hand if you thought you’d see that sentence when the season began.