Minnesota dismantles Purdue
Final: Minnesota 41, Purdue 13
Key play: Shannon Brooks’ 71-yard touchdown run
What a huge play it was from the freshman to gash the Purdue defense. A mix of strength, speed and some poor tackling gave the Gophers the big-play element they’ve been missing. The longest touchdown of the year for Minnesota busted things open for an offense that badly needed to be busted open. Credit Brooks for taking advantage of the opportunity and refusing to go down.
Telling stat: Minnesota turns in best offensive output of the year
The last team in the B1G to reach 30 points in a game was Minnesota. On a day where we wondered whether or not Mitch Leidner would get the start under, the Gopher offense scored more points than it had in the previous three weeks combined. Leidner wasn’t necessarily lighting the world on fire, but he did convert three touchdowns — two of which to Brandon Lingen — and put the Gophers in position to get back on track. This offense looked completely inept last week when it was shut out against Northwestern. Purdue’s defense isn’t anywhere near Northwestern’s but for once, the Minnesota offense didn’t play down to its competition.
-David Blough looked like a freshman
I’ve praised the Purdue freshman signal-caller for not showing his inexperience very much in his young career. On Saturday, it surfaced. He forced too many throws, which led to three interceptions, one of which was returned by Jalen Myrick for a score. The Purdue line did allow a few too many shots on Blough, but his struggles surfaced even when he did get time to throw. He did connect with Danny Anthrop for a 41-yard toss, but that was his only big play while the game was relevant. Some wondered if Blough could possibly be the guy to give the Boiler offense some new life. Instead, he struggled with accuracy like his predecessor Austin Appleby did.
-Minnesota out-rushes Purdue 319-52
Considering the Gophers were last in the conference in rushing coming into this one and Purdue looked like it had an emerging freshman, that number is surprising. Also surprising is the fact that Jones only got six carries after he torched Michigan State last week. I get that Darrell Hazell wanted to get D.J. Knox back after he was basically held out last week, but Knox wasn’t allowed to get into the flow of the game. He was effective, but with the Boilers trailing all game, his work was limited. More concerning is the fact that without Ja’Whaun Bentley, Purdue struggled to make open-field tackles against a subpar rushing attack. If he’s out for a significant amount of time, that’s a concerning thought.
What it means: Minnesota has life, Purdue appears lifeless
I don’t like getting carried away with one game because I really did like a lot of what Purdue did last week against Michigan State. But that was embarrassing. For Purdue to look that awful in a very winnable home game is disheartening, to say the least. The Boilers have still yet to win a B1G home game in the Hazell era. Saturday was a chance to do exactly that. Instead, the Boilers completely fell apart on both sides of the ball and let Minnesota get the bounce-back win it desperately needed.