Rapid Reaction: Minnesota snaps 3-game losing streak in thrilling win over Purdue
Final score: Minnesota 34 Purdue 31
Quick recap: Offense was the story of the game, but in the end, it was the defense that made the biggest play. Minnesota and Purdue lit up the scoreboard on Friday night, thanks in large part to big performances from Tanner Morgan and Jack Plummer. The Gophers were able to jump out to a 21-10 lead in the 1st half thanks to a strong rushing attack. The Boilers were able to battle back in the second half with multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead late. Trailing 34-31 with less than a minute to play, Plummer hit Payne Durham in the back of the end zone for what would have been the go-head touchdown. However, officials called a (phantom) offensive pass interference on Durham. On the following play, Josh Aune intercepted a pass, sealing a victory for Minnesota.
Key moment: Minnesota’s blocked field goal at the end of the first half ended up being one of the biggest plays of the night and the difference in the final score. Had Purdue knocked down that field goal attempt, we may have gone into overtime in Minneapolis. Instead, the Gophers escaped with a win.
Key player: It’s getting tiresome writing this, but Mohamed Ibrahim was the guy once again for Minnesota. His numbers weren’t quite as great as they’ve been other games this season, but the running back still accounted for 102 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Key stat: When everything else was equal, Purdue’s lone turnover ended up being the difference. It’s not a great statistic to point to, but it did end up being the difference between a win for Minnesota and a win for Purdue.
What it means for Minnesota (2-3): Not much. Minnesota’s defense is still abysmal and there wasn’t much more to learn about the Gophers offense. The one positive is that Morgan looked like his 2019 self, completing 15-of-22 pass attempts 264 yards and no interceptions. So, maybe that opens things up a little bit more for Minnesota. But the next two games comes against Wisconsin and Northwestern, two of the best defensive teams in the B1G this season with offenses capable of moving the ball. The Gophers still need to play much better on the defensive side of the ball to have a chance.
What it means for Purdue (2-2): The hopes of a division title are now out the window. The way Friday’s game ended was obviously disappointing, but Purdue’s inability to stop the Gophers and the lack of a ground game were major issues against Minnesota, and those have been lingering problems all year long. The good news for Purdue is that it has a chance to bounce back next week against Rutgers before closing out with Nebraska and Indiana.