Monday huddle: Was MSU’s loss an aberration, or the start of a late-season slide?

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III (9) is tackled by Purdue cornerback Jamari Brown (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

Season-long issues finally catch up with MSU in loss at Purdue.

The worst nightmare for Michigan State fans was certainly realized on Saturday in a 40-29 loss at Purdue.

Following the emotional win over Michigan, the Spartans figured to have a challenge playing at a Purdue team that has an extensive history of beating top-five teams and posed matchup problems against MSU’s poor pass defense -- and sure enough, that was the case.

MSU talked about having its goals still in front of the team after the game, and that’s technically the case, given the Spartans would still likely get a College Football Playoff berth if they won out.

But that would require a win at Ohio State in a couple of weeks, and given the state of MSU’s pass defense, a late-season slide is not out of the question, either.

MSU gave up 536 passing yards to Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell, the second-most passing yards allowed by the Spartans to an opposing quarterback in school history.

Of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, Michigan State is dead last in pass defense at 326.7 yards allowed per game.

That’s not a good stat to have going forward, given MSU’s next three opponents, Maryland, Ohio State, and Penn State, are three of the top four passing teams in the Big Ten.

It’s been a season full of exceeding expectations for MSU, but unless the Spartans can fix their pass defense, it will end with feelings of disappointment.

Are injuries a concern for U-M?

Michigan took care of business at home against Indiana on Saturday with a 29-7 win, and it still is very much in the race for a Big Ten title and playoff berth going into games at Penn State and Maryland, and then at home vs. Ohio State, in the next three weeks.

But there were some troubling sights for U-M fans on Saturday, mainly in the form of players visiting the injury tent on the sideline throughout the game.

Running back Blake Corum, cornerback Gemon Green, and receivers Andrel Anthony and A.J. Henning all left the game with injuries, with Corum returning to the sideline later in a walking boot over his right leg.

With third-string running back Donovan Edwards and tight end Erick All already missing the game, the Wolverines will need to heal up quickly entering a must-win game in Happy Valley on Saturday.

Prep football playoffs head into the regional final round.

The first two rounds of the state football playoffs have featured terrific performances, nail-biting games and surprising upsets, and this week’s regional round (the de facto quarterfinals) shouldn’t be any different.

Here are the notable regional final matchups in the area:

  • West Bloomfield (10-1) at Rochester Adams (11-0). These teams met in the season opener, with Adams winning 35-17 at West Bloomfield.
  • Macomb Dakota (8-3) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (9-2). This is a rematch of a Week 5 game, won 31-16 by Stevenson.
  • Dearborn Fordson (9-2) at Belleville (10-1). There’s not much love lost between these rivals that play in the KLAA. Belleville won the first meeting of the year, 21-19.
  • Allen Park (9-2) at Detroit Martin Luther King (10-1). Can Martin Luther King stay sharp after an emotional win over River Rouge last week?
  • Birmingham Detroit Country Day (7-3) at Chelsea (11-0). It’s a matchup between the defending state champions in Division 4, Country Day, and the state-title favorite this year, Chelsea.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.