Work in Sports
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- If there was any doubt, Drew Brees proved that Chris Daniels is his favorite receiver and did so at the expense of Michigan State's perfect season.
Brees completed a Big Ten Conference-record 21 passes to Daniels, including three for touchdowns, as 21st-ranked Purdue outgunned No. 7 Michigan State, 52-28, handing the Spartans their first loss of the season.
Brees became the first player in Big Ten history to top 500 passing yards in two different games, completing 40-of-57 throws for 509 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.
Daniels, who caught scoring passes of 41, 10 and four yards, had a league-record 301 yards receiving, erasing teammate Randall Lane from the Big Ten record book. Lane had 18 catches in a game last season. Daniels' yardage total surpassed that of Indiana's Thomas Lewis, who had 285 in a 1993 game.
"It's a great feeling, not only the catches, but the win," Daniels said. "If we didn't win the game, the records wouldn't have meant anything. That's what made it special."
Bill Burke had a rough game for Michigan State (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten). He was 21-of-33 for 234 yards and one touchdown, but was intercepted four times and fumbled a ball that was picked up by defensive tackle David Nugent and returned 12 yards for the final touchdown of the game.
"This is the best game I have seen in Ross-Ade Stadium against a great football team," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "We played very well, our best game of the year. We couldn't have played much better. The defense played well, and it was fitting that the last touchdown was scored by them. This is a great team win, a great win for Purdue."
The Boilermakers (5-2, 2-2) earned their first win of a brutal stretch against Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. When Penn State visits next weekend, it will be trying to maintain a perfect record.
"This is probably the biggest win of my career because people were saying we would lose four straight after losing at Michigan and Ohio State," Brees said. "We were fortunate to get some good weather, and the offense came to play today. The last two weeks we didn't take advantage of our chances. We did a lot better job of that today."
"Drew played well, and we caught the ball today," said Tiller, whose team was plagued by drops the previous two games. "Our receivers made some great catches. Of the four interceptions, really only two of them were forced throws."
Purdue beat Michigan State for the third consecutive time and closed within 23-28-3 in the all-time series.
"Brees and Daniels played very well and they just beat us," said Michigan State coach Nick Saban. "This was a very humbling game and we've realized vanity can be dangerous. This game can slam you in a hurry and it did to us today."
The Spartans jumped to a 6-0 lead 4:20 into the game when Burke threw an 18-yard scoring pass to Plaxico Burress, but Brees threw four straight touchdown passes as Purdue grabbed a 22-point lead. Brees threw a 51-yarder to Daniels, a 27-yarder to Vinny Sutherland, a 10-yarder to Daniels and a seven-yarder to Lane.
Brees was attempting to push Purdue into the end zone with 9:03 left in the second quarter when linebacker T.J. Turner picked him off and brought it back 88 yards for a touchdown to slice the deficit to 28-14.
But Brees responded with a four-yard scoring pass to Daniels 1:46 before the half to give Purdue a 35-14 cushion.
Michigan State battled back. T.J. Duckett bulled in from a yard with 9:53 left in the third quarter and Aric Morris had a spectacular, weaving runback of 76 yards for another score off an interception of Brees to make it 35-28 with 4:14 left. Morris also had 13 tackles.
But Brees got the lead to 14 points by running a yard for a score 88 seconds before the end of the third period. Travis Dorsch tacked on a 23-yard field goal and Nugent scored on Burke's fumble in the fourth quarter as the Boilermakers put the game out of reach.
"They threw us a challenge," said defensive end Akin Ayodele, who registered three of Purdue's five sacks. "We tried to take advantage of some of their tendencies, and I blitzed from the right side."
Michigan State was penalized 12 times for a season-high 102 yards.
"I was surprised by all the stupid penalties," Burke said. "You cannot do those things. It was a definite lack of concentration and focus on our part. We had a lot of penalties and turned the ball over. You cannot do that against a dangerous team like Purdue."
Tim Stratton added 103 yards on seven catches for Purdue, which put up 568 yards of total offense and allowed 278.
Burress, who had a school-record 255 yards last week against Michigan, was limited to 50 on three receptions and fellow wideout Gari Scott was injured and had only 10 yards on a pair of catches.
Tight end Chris Baker totaled 72 yards on seven catches and Lloyd Clemons led the way on the ground with 77 yards on 12 carries for Michigan State.
"I was pleased with the way we battled back in the second half, but we need to do a lot better with the focus and competing," Saban said. "We'll see how they respond to this and that will say a lot about their maturity."