Minnesota, Purdue seeking first B1G win
Who: Minnesota vs. Purdue
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue
Spread: Minnesota -3
Matchup to watch: Markell Jones vs. Jack Lynn
B1G linebackers are going to learn Jones’ name in a hurry. This week, Lynn gets the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with the true freshman at the second level. He busted loose again for the Boilers last week, which was also the first time he didn’t have to split carries with D.J. Knox. It doesn’t matter that Knox is back and listed as the No. 1 on the depth chart. Jones is clearly the superior back. He’s going to have a heavy workload and it’ll be Lynn’s job to stop him from breaking free like he did against Michigan State last week. Minnesota isn’t in any position to be trading big plays right now.
Thing I’m excited to see: What Minnesota does at quarterback
Fans want Mitch Leidner out as starter. There isn’t much of a solution. They just want him out. Jerry Kill said that there isn’t a quarterback controversy and that Leidner will still get the start, despite the fact that Demry Croft came in the fourth quarter against Northwestern. The question is whether or not we’ll see the freshman if Leidner gets off to a slow start. He knows that he’ll be playing for his job. For a guy who has been aiming throws far too often, that’s not a formula conducive for relaxed quarterback play. If he can’t get the offense going against Purdue, it might finally be time to cut bait.
Number to remember: 3
That’s how many points the Gophers have scored in the first quarter all season. That’s more than quarterback play. That’s on everyone. These are the valleys teams can run into when they build their running game on two freshmen. Early deficits have prevented the Gophers from playing the power football that they need to play to be successful. Purdue, on the other hand, has allowed 48 first-quarter points this season. Poor tackling and third-down struggles have kept the Boilers from getting off the field. A few early three-and-outs would be big to get the defense back on track and put the Gophers in all-too-familiar territory.
Prediction: Purdue 24, Minnesota 17
Call it an upset. I think the Gophers’ offensive issues are deeper than one position. This team is too one-dimensional right now and a lack of a deep threat is proving costly. On the flip side, Purdue’s offense has looked better with David Blough under center and Jones getting the majority of the carries. The new 1-2 punch fuels the Boilers’ first B1G home win of the Darrell Hazell era.