EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Kyle Orton came off the bench for one play and made the most of it, throwing a 40-yard touchdown to John Standeford late in the fourth quarter to lift Purdue to a wild 45-42 triumph over Michigan State.
After Brandon Kirsch was knocked out of the game on a big hit by Mike Labinjo, Orton came on for a 4th-and-8 play at the Spartans 40.
But Orton tossed a strike to Standeford down the left sideline with 3:18 remaining to put the Boilermakers ahead, 43-42, and then threw to Taylor Stubblefield on the ensuing two-point conversion to complete the scoring.
The Spartans (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten) drove to midfield on their next possession but turned the ball over on downs with 1:13 to play, and the Boilermakers (5-6, 3-4) ran out the clock.
Kirsch threw four interceptions but passed for 208 yards and two TDs and ran for 125 yards and another score.
Joey Harris rushed for 89 yards and one touchdown and Brandon Jones 88 yards as the Boilermakers outgained the Spartans on the ground, 307-67.
Standeford caught five passes for 136 yards and two scores as Purdue remained in the running for a sixth straight bowl berth. The Boilermakers need to defeat Indiana at home next week to become bowl eligible.
Damon Dowdell was 18-of-32 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Spartans, who lost to the Boilermakers for the fifth time in six meetings and had their bowl game aspirations end.
Both of Dowdell's TD tosses were to Charles Rodgers, who had eight catches for 161 yards.
In a back-and-forth contest, which featured six lead changes, the Spartans took a 36-31 lead on a 57-yard interception return by Thomas Wright 12 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Anthony Chambers caught a 33-yard TD pass from Kirsch with 11:11 to play to put Purdue back on top, but Berin Lacevic's extra-point attempt failed.
Michigan State took its last lead, 42-37, on a 10-yard run by Richard with 7:43 to go, but Dowdell's two-point rush was stopped short of the end zone.
The Spartans fell to 1-1 under interim coach Morris Watts, who took over after Bobby Williams was fired on November 4.