Purdue's upset bid falls short, 24-21 against No. 2 Spartans

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- As a heavy underdog playing against a national title contender, Purdue could hardly ask for more than a chance to win on its final offensive drive.
 
   Boilermakers quarterback David Blough, however, is tired of falling short.
 
   Blough threw incomplete near midfield with about a minute remaining, and Purdue lost 24-21 at No. 2 Michigan State on Saturday. It was another close loss for the Boilermakers, who fell 35-28 to Bowling Green last weekend.
 
   "It's two weeks in a row, I've had the chance to lead the troops down to win the game and I wasn't able to do it. It stinks," Blough said. "We battled all the way back from 21-0 to 24-21 with a chance."
 
   The Spartans (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) led 21-0 at halftime, but Purdue had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead at the end. The Boilermakers (1-4, 0-1) had rallied after turning the ball over three times in the first half.
 
   "Anytime you can't move the ball or stop people, somewhere there's a breakdown, whether it's a lack of execution or a missed tackle or whether it's a missed block," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said. "I thought they corrected some of those issues that we had in the first half, and that's why we were able to get into a little bit of a cycle, a little bit of a roll."
 
   Michigan State's Connor Cook went 13 of 19 for 139 yards and a touchdown, and he became the school's career leader with his 28th victory as the starting quarterback. Kirk Cousins won 27 games.
 
   Cook improved to 28-3 as the starter.
 
   "It's a great accomplishment and it means a lot," Cook said. "It's a credit to all the guys that have been around the team. Football's a team sport."
 
   Michigan State was without injured tackle Jack Conklin, and his replacement, Dennis Finley, was carted off near the end of the first half with a broken leg.
 
   LJ Scott opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run, breaking free when Purdue safety Leroy Clark tried to grab his leg. Later in the first quarter, Michigan State drove 94 yards in eight plays to make it 14-0 on Scott's 1-yard run.
 
   R.J. Shelton added a 23-yard touchdown in the second quarter on what looked like an end-around, but Cook had apparently flipped the ball forward as the receiver came across to take it, and the play was credited as a touchdown pass.
 
   This was the 100th Homecoming game for Michigan State, and the weather didn't cooperate. Attendance was announced at 74,418, and Spartan Stadium was pretty much full in the first half, but the crowd emptied out considerably at halftime.
 
   Michigan State, which has been underwhelming since beating Oregon last month, nearly let this game slip away. Purdue's Markell Jones scored on a 68-yard run to make it 21-14 with 14:10 remaining.
 
   "I think we knew what we were capable of doing, like breaking out for a long touchdown," Jones said. "Early in the game we did a lot of read option and things like that. We kept chipping away and I kept telling the guys that one's going to break eventually, one's going to break."
 
   The Spartans, keeping the ball mostly on the ground, drove 65 yards to set up Michael Geiger's 30-yard field goal, but Purdue answered with an impressive drive of its own, and Jones' 3-yard touchdown run with 6:44 to play made it a three-point game.
 
   Jones finished with 157 yards on 22 carries.
 
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