EAST LANSING, Mich. — A blocked field goal attempt and a late touchdown as time wound down allowed Michigan State to top Purdue 23-13 in their battle of 4-3 Big Ten Conference college football rivals at Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
MSU entered the game as a 1 1/2-point favorite, even though Purdue was coming off a 49-20 thrashing of No. 2-ranked Ohio State last weekend.
Purdue received the opening kickoff but after an interception it was the Spartans that quickly got on the scoreboard on a 43-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin for a 3-0 lead with 11:07 to go in the opener.
Following a muffed punt by Michigan State, the Boilermakers knotted the score at 3-all on Spencer Evans’ 28-yard field at the 8:11 juncture.
The Spartans retaliated by going ahead 6-3 on a 48-yard field goal by Coghlin with 3:23 left in the first frame — a count that stood until the initial break.
Purdue once again fought to a deadlock on a 36-yard field goal by Evans with 6:33 remaining in the half.
Michigan State captured a 13-6 advantage at intermission on quarterback Rocky Lombardi’s first career scoring pass in his first start ever, an 11-yarder to Darrell Stewart with 56 seconds to go.
The Boilers came out of the locker room and promptly blocked a Coghlin field goal attempt. The two then traded possessions until Coghlin connected on a 34-yard field goal for a 16-6 margin with 3:08 left in the third.
Purdue then scored on Terry Wright’s 1-yard run to close to within 16-13 with 35 seconds showing on the clock, a gap that remained at the final stop.
With 3:42 to play, Mike Panasiuk blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt by Evans, allowing Michigan State to stay in control.
Then with 1:58 remaining, Lombardi hit Spartan teammate Jalen Nailor with a 48-yard TD pass for the final 23-13 bulge.
Next up for Michigan State will be a visit to College Park, Md., for a road date against Big Ten rival Maryland with kickoff scheduled for noon next Saturday.
Purdue’s next outing will be a homefield encounter at Ross-Ade Stadium against 18th-rated Iowa next Saturday afternoon.