Chris Daniels was on the receiving end of the combination, setting Big Ten records for receptions and receiving yardage as No. 20 Purdue upset No. 5 Michigan State 52-28 Saturday to knock the Spartans from the undefeated list.
Daniels had 21 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns. That helped Drew Brees finish with a season-high 509 yards and five touchdowns.
"Brees and Daniels both played outstanding," Michigan State coach Nick Saban said. "This game is a very humbling game. We got slammed today. I wasn't pleased with the way we played at all. We didn't show enough consistency on offense in terms of moving the football."
"In the beginning of the game, we didn't play very well on defense. Then we settled down a little bit, but we'd already dug a pretty good hole for ourselves," Saban said.
Brees completed 23-of-33 for 344 yards in the first half. Daniels had 12 catches in the first half for 200 yards, with TD receptions of 51, 10 and 4 yards. Brees hit 40-of-57 attempts and ended the game just short of his career high of 522 yards, established against Wisconsin last year.
"Drew does a great job of executing and they've got a lot of good receivers. We didn't do what we had to do in coverage today to take it away from them," Saban said.
Daniels, who went into the game leading the Big Ten with 57 receptions, topped the record for receiving yards of 285 set by Thomas Lewis of Indiana in 1993. Purdue's Randall Lane, who caught one of Brees' TD passes Saturday, set the reception record of 18 last year.
"He made some great catches and we didn't cover him very well at times," Saban said of Daniels. "He's a very good receiver, he's a go-to guy for them and he made some outstanding catches."
"was unaware of the records until after the game," Daniels said. "I'm in a lot of pain right now, but it feels good."
Michigan State (6-1, 3-1) had six turnovers and gave up five sacks for 49 yards.
"It was our best game of the season," said Purdue coach Joe Tiller, whose teams are 15-1 at Ross-Ade Stadium. "It was hard to be better that we were in the first half."
The Spartans scored first on an 18-yard TD pass from Bill Burke to Plaxico Burress. The Boilermakers, coming off consecutive road losses to Michigan and Ohio State, responded with three touchdowns in the opening quarter and built the lead to 28-6 on a 7-yard pass from Brees to Lane with 12:46 left in the first half.
"This is probably the biggest win of my career because people were saying we would lose four straight," said Brees, who increased his career totals to 571 completions, 6,537 yards and 55 touchdowns after just 27 games with 20 starts.
"They just used a lot of man coverage, sometimes they were press, sometimes they were soft," Brees said. "It just seemed everything kind of worked out. The line did a great job of picking stuff up."
Michigan State, which came into the game allowing an average of 36.7 rushing yards a game, surrendered 35 in the first half and 59 for the game. Michigan State, which had Burke sacked four times in the first half for minus-34 yards, netted only 5 yards in the first two quarters and 44 for the game.
The Boilermakers pulled away with three TDs in about six minutes with the help of two turnovers. Trailing 6-0 after Paul Edinger's extra point hit the goal post, the Boilermakers went 69 yards in five plays to score on a 51-yard pass play to Daniels, who got behind cornerback Amp Campbell and took the pass in stride. Travis Dorsch kicked the first of five extra points to put Purdue ahead for good with 8:40 remaining in the first quarter.
On Michigan State's first play following the kickoff, Burress fumbled when hit by Mike Hawthorne and Mike Rose recovered for the Boilermakers at the Spartans 27. Vinny Sutherland, who threw an incomplete pass on first down, then caught a 27-yard TD pass from Brees with 8:14 left in the period.
Adrian Beasley intercepted Burke's pass at the Purdue 39 and returned it to the Michigan State 49. Eight plays later, Brees and Daniels connected on a 10-yard scoring pass. Brees completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive and also had a 10-yard run.
Two long returns of pass interceptions helped bring the Spartans back into the game. T.J. Turner brought the first back 88 yards in the second quarter and Michigan State cut its deficit to 35-28 when Brees threw into double coverage and Aric Morris brought it back 76 yards for a touchdown with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Purdue responded with a seven-play, 74-yard drive that ended when Brees raced to his right and stretched into the end zone on a 1-yarrun. Brees completed five passes on the drive with Daniels gaining 60 yards on three catches.
Michigan State had another chance to draw closer following its fourth interception off Brees in the fourth quarter. But the drive ended with Beasley's goal-line interception and 40-yard return.
The Boilermakers made it 45-28 on a 23-yard field by Dorsch with 3:19 to play and David Nugent's 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown 18 seconds later.
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