EditorsNote: Updates with Big Ten West implications
Minnesota scored 38 straight points and the defense bottled up the nation’s 13th-ranked offense as the Golden Gophers routed visiting Purdue 41-10 on Saturday in Minneapolis.
The Golden Gophers’ defense had been ranked ninth in the Big Ten, and just six days ago, head coach P.J. Fleck fired defensive coordinator Robb Smith and promoted defensive line coach Joe Rossi to the interim position.
The result was astonishing, as Purdue was held to 233 total yards, with most coming in the fourth quarter. The Boilermakers scored their only touchdown with 5:28 left in the game — long after the outcome had been decided.
Minnesota’s win had major repercussions in the Big Ten West, as losses by Purdue and Wisconsin allowed Northwestern to clinch the division and a spot in the Big Ten championship game after beating Iowa.
Purdue (5-5, 4-3 Big Ten) had won five of six, while Minnesota (5-5, 2-5) had lost five of six. But after a close first half, the Gophers left no doubt who was the better team on Saturday.
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan was an efficient 10 of 19 for 139 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Mohamed Ibrahim carried the ball 18 times for 155 yards as Minnesota outgained the Boilermakers 265 to 88 on the ground.
David Blough, who came into the game as the conference’s second-ranked quarterback, completed 20 of 31 pass attempts for 142 yards and one touchdown.
Purdue had only 68 yards of total offense in the first half. Running back D.J. Knox came into the game with 753 yards rushing and eight touchdowns but was held to 34 yards.
Blough, who had looked unstoppable in recent weeks, completed 11 of 16 attempts in the first 30 minutes for only 64 yards. The Boilermakers also failed to convert any third downs before the break and were unable to muster much consistency on offense.
The Gophers weren’t a whole lot better. The only first-half touchdown came at the 9:03 mark of the second period when Seth Green, in a wildcat formation, found Jake Paulson from 11 yards out to put the Gophers up 10-3. Emmit Carpenter’s second field goal made it 13-3 at the half.
With the temperature at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis dropping to 19 degrees and snow flurries falling to start the second half, the Gophers took control.
Blough opened up the second half with a pass to freshman sensation Rondell Moore. But two plays later, Blake Cashman ripped the ball out of Blough’s hands, scooped up the ball, and 40 yards later, the Gophers were up 20-3.
Minnesota got the ball back and marched 89 yards in the snow in less than three minutes, with Green finding pay dirt from 2 yards out. Bryce Williams added an 11-yard run late in the third and Tyler Johnson caught a 12-yarder from Morgan early in the fourth to cap the scoring.
—Field Level Media