Oh, Right, There’s A Game This Week – The Sparty Predicto
(Photo credit: AP, Michael Conroy)
Letdowns are a real thing. They’re not something imagined to be used as an excuse. This is because human beings are (generally) complex creatures and it’s hard to maintain intensity levels across different scenarios. We see it most often in sports but it’s true in everyday life. Have you ever finished an intense project at work or at home and then needed to move on to something else but you just didn’t feel the urgency because it was a less significant project? It feels like that. Or if you feel like you’ve completed some backbreaking yardwork and get that surge of satisfaction, only to turn the corner and realize you forgot an entire bed you need to weed (this happens to Boilerdowd a lot at his waterfront estate – wait, what am I saying? He has servants for that stuff). There’s a letdown in your heart that you sometimes cannot control.
After the excitement and raw emotion of beating OSU on Tyler Trent Night at Ross-Ade, Purdue will now be trying to avoid such a letdown this Saturday against Michigan State. It won’t be easy, either, since there will be nothing similar. MSU is not the formidable, almost mythical foe that OSU has become in the Big Ten. The game is at noon. It’s on the road. Tyler will not be there. In short, this one will be a significant test for the team as well as Jeff Brohm and his staff.
Purdue and Michigan State has been a history of streaks. MSU is currently riding a seven-game streak against Purdue (last win by the Boilers was by Joe Tiller over John L. Smith 12 years ago). From 1997-2006, though, Purdue won seven of eight, including a 3-1-1 record against Nick Saban.
You know what, I’m leading off this week. After predicting a loss for the first time all season, only to see Purdue play their most complete game, I am getting back on the locomotive. There are a lot of signs pointing to this week’s game being a letdown special so it’s time to see if Purdue is really changing. I think MSU is having trouble scoring points while Purdue has had no such trouble this season (except against their MAC foe – huh?). I’ll go with the Boilermakers.
Purdue 31, MSU 21
Michigan State's season is over, ending not with a bang, but a whimper, in a desultory 21-7 loss featuring a single 7-yard scoring drive that required a trick play for points. With the Michigan game behind them, there is little reason to expect the Spartans to be more than a nickel on the tracks the Brohm Train is rolling down - their offense is miserable, their best performance of the season required a gigantic amount of turnover luck, and the one hole in their defense is a big tendency to give up explosive runs, which happens to be the biggest strength the Boilers have (5th in rushing marginal explosiveness). Even weather shouldn't be a factor, since the Boilers put up 49 in last week's gusty winds and have an overall running game that would do just fine in cool, wet weather. Expect the refs to catch Sparty doing Sparty things at least once and watch Knox, Moore and company speed past A-gap blitzes and hapless defenders.
Purdue 41, Michigan State 16
Purdue has a great shot here. MSU isn’t living up to expectations, and while their defense is pretty good, it’s offset by a middling offense AND an inability to clamp down against the run. I’m feeling extra positive after last week and hope that Brohm can keep him young team from too big of an emotional letdown.
Purdue wins, 23-14
Only the third noon game of the year, and Purdue has so far split the opening timeslot (L vs EMU, W vs BC). Though it's hard to find a more dangerous and motivated team in the country (outside of Tuscaloosa), zoom out on Purdue's season and you'll find inconsistencies that remain worrisome. Despite the tremendous smackdown against Ohio State, the ability of the Boilermaker defensive backs to prevent long plays remains a question. DJ Knox's ability to boulder his way through a stout Sparty rushing defense remains a question. And, most importantly, whether Purdue can take Ross Ade's energy on Tyler Night and continue to ride that emotional high on the road in East Lansing remains a question.
Purdue are 1.5 point underdogs on the road, with most advanced analytics projections putting Michigan State and Purdue on fairly equal footing. If Purdue can break 30 points by gaining reliable yardage on the ground to complement the brilliance of David Blough and Rondale Moore, I like the Good Guys. But I think I'm hedging towards a slight emotional letdown, because in all honesty how can you properly follow a game like last week?
Michigan State 30, Purdue 24
MSU's offense is the struggle bus this year. Their defense is kinda monstrous though.
That said, I think they won't be able to bottle Purdue for an entire game. The weather sounds like it will be lousy...I'm confident that this coaching staff learned from the EMU game. That said, everyone might have flashbacks with the dark green and the rain, and everything.
Coach Brohm is well- aware that a letdown is not only possible, but likely, when compared to other teams who beat high ranking squads in the last few seasons. Brohm, Holt, Brohm, Shepherd and Poindexter are aware of the psychological buttons they need to push.
Purdue comes down from the 6.5 TDs/gm pace from the last three games...but gets the important parts right.
Purdue 27, MSU 17