Spartans Rally Past Purdue, 35-31
Kirk Cousins scored the game-winning touchdown.
Nov. 20, 2010
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Kirk Cousins lunged into the end zone from 3 yards out with 4:32 remaining, and No. 11 Michigan State kept its Rose Bowl hopes alive with a dramatic 35-31 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
The Spartans trailed 28-13 after three quarters and 31-20 midway through the fourth, but Cousins threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mark Dell with 6:54 remaining, and a 2-point conversion made it 31-28.
Denicos Allen then blocked a punt, giving Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) the ball inside the 5 and setting up Cousins' touchdown.
Purdue (4-7, 2-5) then drove to the Michigan State 20, but Rob Henry was intercepted on fourth down with less than a minute to play.
Michigan State trailed 28-13 when Henry's deep pass was intercepted by Chris L. Rucker at the Purdue 40. Rucker returned it to the 20, and Cousins threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham to bring the Spartans within eight.
After a long kickoff return, Purdue's Carson Wiggs made it 31-20 with a 52-yard field goal, but the Boilermakers couldn't hold off Michigan State.
Cousins missed a series in the first half with an apparent injury to his non-throwing arm, and he appeared hobbled throughout the second half. He still went 28 of 37 for 276 yards and three touchdowns.
His winning touchdown run was upheld by replay after the ball came free, but Michigan State appeared to recover it in the end zone anyway.
Purdue didn't quit. Henry found Kyle Adams for 14 yards on fourth-and-6, and a personal foul call on the Spartans eventually put the ball on the Michigan State 22. That was about as far as the Boilermakers could go, though. All-American linebacker Greg Jones pressured Henry on fourth down, and Chris Norman intercepted his pass to seal the win.
Michigan State took a 7-0 lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Dell, but nothing came easy after that. Purdue needed less than a minute to answer. Keith Carlos ran up the middle, eluded safety Trenton Robinson and then had nothing but open field in front of him for an 80-yard touchdown.
Ricardo Allen then gave the Boilermakers the lead, stepping in front of one of Cousins' passes and returning the interception 35 yards for a touchdown. Cousins would finish the first half 12 of 13 for 105 yards, but his only miss was a costly one.
The Spartans scored early in the second quarter on a 19-yard run by Edwin Baker, who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing on the season Saturday. However, the normally reliable Dan Conroy kicked the extra point off the upright to leave Michigan State still a point behind.
With the second quarter nearing an end, Purdue went on its first sustained drive of the day, going 85 yards in 14 plays. Henry threw an 8-yard touchdown pass on third down to Antavian Edison with 9 seconds left to make it 21-13.
Purdue made it 28-13 on Henry's 12-yard scoring pass to Cortez Smith in the third quarter.