Purdue Boilermakers (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (4-0 SU, 0-4 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 12:00PM EST
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
TV: ESPN 2
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PUR +21.5/MSU -21.5
Over/Under Total: 56.5
The Purdue Boilermakers come out to East Lansing to face the 2nd-ranked Michigan State Wolverines on Saturday in Big Ten action. Michigan State is 4-0 this season, but strangely hasnt covered the spread yet. This is their 4th straight home game, as they are really dug in at home. On Sunday, they beat Central Michigan, 30-10. They start their conference play on Saturday against Purdue, who is coming off a 35-28 home loss to Bowling Green on Saturday. They are 1-3 season on the season and better than three touchdown underdogs to the Spartans on Saturday
If being frank about Purdue, its probably fair to call them a Big Ten doormat at this point. It wasnt always like that and it wont always be, either, but right now, thats what they are. They won a single game in 2013 and just three last season. Since the end of 2012, theyve beaten a total of two FBS teams. But even during that time, they have been semi-respectable in their meetings with Michigan State, losing by 14 in both 2013 and 2014.
Purdue lost their season opener by ten at Marshall, before coming home for a 3-game stretch that wasnt very inspiring, They beat their Washington Generals in a win over Indiana State, before a 27-point loss to Virginia Tech and the 7-point loss to Bowling Green on Saturday. They were back with Austin Appleby at quarterback, though he didnt play against Bowling Green. After a 1-2 start, the Boilermakers decided to go with redshirt freshman David Blough with Appleby providing decent energy but causing too many turnovers. The results were promising, as he put the Boilermakers in a position to win, before a late Bowling Green touchdown gave them the lead. Blough was 29-for-39 for 340 yards and two touchdowns.
Blough may be able to get some things done for Purdue, as he was moving the ball well. The run game is a bit stagnant for the Boilermakers, with DJ Knox off to a slow start and Markell Jones actually doing better and in a position to demand more touches. WR Deangelo Yancey is a nice deep threat and he had a nice game along with WR Gregory Phillips, who sprung to life on Saturday with 92 yards and a touchdown. They will most certainly have their work cut out for them on Saturday. Blough was decent against the likes of Bowling Green. A road game against the number-two team in the country is a little different.
Michigan St. is ranked second, unbeaten, and poised for big things this season. But if a devils advocate were to look at their results this season, there are some things to poke at. Their only truly worthwhile opponent was Oregon and a 31-28 win over the Ducks was a big win for this program. But after seeing Oregon get shellacked by Utah at home this past Saturday, it doesnt look like quite as big of a win all of a sudden. And in their other three wins, they beat Western Michigan, Air Force, and Central Michigan. And theyre not doing it with much flair, having lost against-the-spread each time this season thus far.
The Spartans offense is led by quarterback Connor Cook, with the senior having 9 touchdowns against 1 pick in what has been an efficient season through 4 games. The third-year starter relies on a robust run game led by LJ Scott, Madre London, and Gerald Holmes, all of whom have made big contributions on the ground this season. Through the air, Cook goes to Aaron Burbridge, who is at 405 yards already, Macgarrett Kings, Jr., and a great red zone threat in tight end Josiah Price
The Spartans know if theyre going to go far this season, its going to be their defense that plays a big role in that. They were key on Sunday, with Shilique Calhoun against dominant off the defensive line with 2.5 sacks and a blocked field goal. Its still a unit that has been beset with injuries, with the losses of linebacker Ed Davis and corner Vayonte Copeland. On Saturday, offensive tackle Jack Conklin went down and theres no word as of press time on his status for this week. It might not resonate against Purdue, but the loss of key guys could hurt when it matters later.
So far in 2015, Michigan State has taken care of business. Three of their first 4 games havent been demanding and probably didnt elicit the Spartans full level of respect and urgency. And that could be a reason why they havent covered as spread yet this season. At the same time, the offense looks a bit flat. A lot of drives stall and thats against the likes of Central and Western Michigan. One could expect to Michigan State to amplify their efforts as they ease into Big Ten Conference play. They will need to heat up with some demanding games close on the horizon.
One could easily envision Purdue hanging in there and covering the spread against Michigan State this Saturday. The Spartans know they dont need to be fired out of a cannon and they could still come out on top over a not ready for prime-time Boilermakers. But they are comfortable after being in East Lansing for a month and want to leave a good impression before embarking on some road work over the next month. The Spartans could start rounding into form for this week after phoning it in a bit the last few weeks. I like the Spartans to get their first cover of the season this week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Michigan State Spartans minus 21.5 points.
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