Photo courtesy of Purdue athletics
Purdue’s athletic teams have long been called the Boilermakers.
On the gridiron this season, perhaps the nickname “Giantkillers” would be more appropriate. Purdue pulled off its second stunning upset in four weeks on Saturday.
After knocking off No. 2 Iowa in Iowa City on Oct. 16, the Boilermakers took down No. 3 Michigan State on Saturday in West Lafayette, 40-29. Saturday featured a little bit of history repeated for Purdue.
Monday will also.
Purdue becomes this season’s first 2-time winner of the Fifth Quarter/CFBHome Team of the Week.
The Unstoppable Force
Defensively, Purdue forced a pair of turnovers on Saturday. The biggest reason for the upset however, was what it did on offense.
The Boilermakers put up nearly 600 yards of offense in the win. Almost all of that came through the air.
Aidan O’Connell passed for 536 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
For the second time in as many games against top-5 opponents, wide receiver David Bell eclipsed the 200-yard mark receiving. Bell finished with 11 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Jackson Anthrop and Broc Thompson also caught touchdowns in the victory. King Doerue scored Purdue’s lone rushing touchdown of the day.
The Boilermakers never trailed in the contest, but the Spartans managed to tie the game 21-21 early in the third quarter. Purdue responded with 16 straight points. Michigan State would crawl to within eight, but Mitchell Fineran’s fourth field goal of the day put the contest away in the final minute.
Payton Thorne and Kenneth Walker III had big days for the Michigan State offense, but Purdue was opportunistic. George Karlaftis had a fumble recovery and Dedrick Mackey recorded the game’s only interception in the win.
Purdue Makes History
With Saturday’s win, Purdue became the first unranked team ever to knock off a pair of top-5 opponents in one season. The upset over No. 3 Michigan State came on the 45th anniversary of a memorable upset of No. 1 Michigan.
For Bell, the monster day also marked the 15th time that he broke the 100-yard mark receiving. That breaks the school record previously held by John Standeford.
With the win, Purdue improved to 6-3 but did not return to the traditional polls. The Boilermakers remained unranked in both the AP and AFCA Coaches Poll.
Michigan State fell three spots in each of those polls. The Spartans are now eighth in the AP Poll and No. 9 in the Coaches. Up next for Michigan State is a home date with Maryland.
At 4-2 in conference, Purdue is tied atop the Big Ten West with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, they lost to both of those teams.
Purdue will look to keep its “giantkiller” reputation intact on Saturday as it travels to face No. 5 Ohio State. The contest begins at 3:30 p.m. ET and airs on ABC.