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Michigan State-Purdue Preview Capsule

October 9, 2014

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Purdue (3-3, 1-1), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Michigan State by 21 1/2.

Series Record: Michigan State leads 33-28-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

With so many Big Ten teams struggling this season, defending league champion Michigan State looks like the conference’s best hope of making the four-team playoff. A loss to Purdue could doom those chances. Purdue, meanwhile, is attempting to achieve another first in coach Darrell Hazell’s second season -- winning back-to-back games.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State’s ball hawks vs. Purdue QB Austin Appleby. The Spartans have forced a league-leading 16 turnovers and rank No. 1 in turnover margin at plus-10. This week, they’re facing Appleby, who is making his second college start. Michigan State almost certainly will try to confuse Appleby and, yes, add to that turnover mark.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: LB Ed Davis and DE Marcus Rush have combined for 7½ sacks this season and are both ranked in the Big Ten’s top five. Facing a Purdue offensive line with three sophomores and two juniors and Appleby under center, these two could cause havoc for the Boilermakers.

Purdue: RBs Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert. The two speedsters have been the Boilermakers’ top play-makers all season and they’ll have to be again Saturday -- to give Purdue any shot of an upset.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan State has won 11 straight Big Ten games, including last year’s conference championship game. It’s the school’s longest streak since winning 16 consecutive league games from 1965-67. ... Purdue has lost five straight in the series and hasn’t hosted the Spartans since 2009. ... Michigan State lost its only other road game this season, at Oregon on Sept. 6. ... The Boilermakers have rushed for 1,020 yards this season compared with 805 yards all of last season. ... The Spartans’ 228 points are the most through in school history through five games. ... This will be Purdue’s only home game in October. ... Since 2012, Michigan State has limited 12 opponents to 50 or fewer yards rushing in a game.

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