Boilermakers head to Minneapolis looking to right season

Written by Robert Henry

(Photo Credit: Trevor Malhmann / The SkyBoat)

This Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-2), coming off a win against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, return home to take on Big Ten inter-conference rival, the Purdue University Boilermakers (3-5).

The Minnesota Golden Gophers could have been heading into this match with an 8-0 record, but they lost to Penn State and Iowa. Both losses were by a combined 10 points. This is devastating for the Gophers, especially because they are looking at being bowl eligible this week. The Gophers are coming off a three-game winning streak, which could help their morale going into the game. Minnesota’s defense was a major factor in their winning streak, as they lead the Big Ten in forced turnovers. Purdue is going into this match after losing to Penn State last week, where they turned the ball over four times.

Purdue is having a tough season and they are going up against a team that is proving that they are worthy of a bowl game. Purdue quarterback David Blough has thrown an interception in almost every game this season but one. He also has been forced to make a play 70 more times than other quarterbacks in the Big Ten. This is mainly due to the fact that Purdue has been playing from behind in most games.  Blough holds the lead most interceptions in the Big Ten conference with 12. He will need to hone in on his skills against the Gophers stingy secondary.

What may be even more of a concern going into this game, is the Boilermakers defense. They have given up an average of 6.38 yards per play. The Boilermakers defense has also allowed an average 36.9 points per game.

The Gophers on the other hand have forced at least three turnovers in four consecutive games, making them 10th in the nation for takeaways. They were able to hold Illinois to 245 yards in last week’s victory. Minnesota is also ranked 3rd in the Big Ten for average yards allowed per play at 4.71.

Offensively, Minnesota running back Rodney Smith has taken advantage of the extra possessions this season and will be looking forward to this meeting with the Boilermakers defense. He had his third consecutive 100-yard game against Illinois and scored twice giving him 10 touchdowns. This tied him with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley for the lead in the Big Ten for the most touchdowns.  Smith is an all-purpose threat, leading the Big Ten in all-purpose yards thanks to his kick returns, combined with his rushing yardage.

Overall, Minnesota has the upper hand on offense with Smith running the ball and Purdue allowing on average 5.78 yards per carry, which ranks 125th in the country. The Gophers are also more likely to have the advantage on defense, considering their defense ranks up there with some of the best schools. The Boilermakers are not out of the contest just yet as they could get into a rhythm and get the ball moving. If Blough does not throw an interception and Purdue’s defense can stop Smith and the strong Minnesota offense, Purdue has a chance. The game is set for November 5th at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on BTN.

Share This Story:

Related Content