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Gary Putnik | | November 6, 2021

Purdue upsets No. 3 Michigan State, hands Spartans first loss

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For the second time this season, an unranked Purdue has upset a top-3 opponent. This time undefeated No. 3 Michigan State fell 40-29 in West Lafayette. 

This win for the Boilermakers comes three weeks after their 24-7 win at No. 2 Iowa. That was their ninth win as an unranked team beating a No. 2-ranked team in program history. 

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Just like the win at Iowa, Purdue dominated from start to finish. The Boilermakers never trailed the Spartans in victory. 

Purdue’s passing attack was a huge factor in the win. QB Aidan O’Connell threw for 536 yards and three touchdowns. Three different receivers scored too. WR David Bell led the way with 217 yards and one touchdown on 11 catches. 

Another deciding factor in this game was the Boilermakers’ ability to limit MSU’s RB Kenneth Walker III. Walker had 197 yards and five touchdowns on the ground the previous week against Michigan. Saturday, he was held to 136 yards and one touchdown. In the third quarter, Walker had four carries for nine yards.

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The play of the game for Purdue came in the fourth, up 34-21, with nine minutes left. The Spartans elected to go for it on fourth and four on the Purdue nine and QB Payton Thorne was intercepted by Jayden Reed. 

With this win, Purdue is tied with Minnesota for first in the Big Ten west division. Minnesota owns the tiebreaker as it won 20-13 early in October. 

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The Boilermakers will have the chance to upset another top-10 team next week when they travel to No. 5 Ohio State on Nov. 13. For the Spartans, they will go back home to face Maryland on Nov. 13. 

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