November 14, 1998
By HARRY ATKINS
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes in the final 5:07 as Purdue became bowl eligible with a 25-24 comeback victory over Michigan State on Saturday.
The rally was almost a carbon copy of last year when the Boilermakers (7-4, 5-2 Big Ten) overcame an 11-point deficit with 2:13 remaining for a 22-21 win over Michigan State.
The Spartans (5-5, 3-3), hoping to build on an emotional upset over then-No. 1 Ohio State a week earlier, shut Brees down until Todd Stelma broke in to block Craig Jarrett's punt to give the Boilermakers the ball at the Spartans' 20 with 6:39 left in the game.
Five plays later, Brees - who already has set the Big Ten single-season record with 32 TD passes - hit Randall Lane with a 9-yard scoring toss. Brees' pass on the 2-point conversion attempt was incomplete, leaving the Spartans ahead 24-19.
Michigan State quarterback Bill Burke, who was 28-of-40 for a career-high 345 yards, was hurt on the third play of the Spartans next possession, and they punted a play later.
Brees scrambled for 19 yards, then completed six of seven, capping a 70-yard, eight-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Jones for the lead with 1:21 remaining. The Boilermakers' 2-point conversion attempt failed again, leaving Michigan State a chance to win with a field goal.
But freshman Ryan Van Dyke, playing for the injured Burke, couldn't get the Spartans into range for Paul Edinger, whose 23-yard field goal gave them a 24-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Travis Dorsch kicked field goals of 24 and 35 yards for Purdue.
Brees, who completed 26 of 47 for 196 yards, had passed for only 76 yards at halftime, compared with 227 yards by Burke. Yet the Boilermakers had a 10-7 lead thanks to a 17-yard interception return by defensive tackle Matt Mitrione.
But it was all Michigan State in the second half as the Spartans began flexing their offensive muscles while shutting down Brees.
Burke tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Placixo Burress for a 14-13 lead with 5:00 left in the third quarter and tossed an 8-yard scoring strike to Chris Baker with 1:03 left in the third.
After Edinger's field goal, it looked like Michigan State was in control.
Then came the blocked punt.
But the Spartans' biggest mistake may have come on their first possession of the game. With Burke completing passes of 10, 21, 15 and 38 yards, Michigan State had it first-and-goal at the Boilermakers' 4 yard line - but failed to score.
Two running plays gained only 3 yards and Burke threw an incompletion.
Instead of kicking a field goal, the Spartans tried a fourth-down pass and
Burke was sacked by Rosevelt Colvin for a loss of 3 yards.