Purdue (3-4) at Minnesota (4-3)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TCF Bank Stadium (50,805) -- Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 3-2, Minnesota 3-1. Away
Record: Purdue 0-2, Minnesota 1-2. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-0, Minnesota 0-0.
Conference Record: Purdue 0-3, Minnesota 0-3. Series Record: Minnesota leads,
GAME NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will do
battle in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon, with the winner emerging with
their first Big Ten Conference victory of the season.
Purdue's season started off promising as it went 3-1, but things took a turn
once the Big Ten opponents started showing up on the schedule. The
Boilermakers have been blown out at home versus Michigan (44-13) and Wisconsin
(38-14), and they dropped a hard-fought decision at Ohio State last week in
Minnesota got off to an even faster start as it won each of its first four
games, but much like its counterpart, the Big Ten slate has not been kind. The
Gophers have dropped three straight against Iowa (31-13), Northwestern (21-13)
and Wisconsin (38-13), and they have now lost nine of their last 11 conference
matchups. They have found success at home this year, winning three of four at
TCF Bank Stadium.
These two programs have played each other tight over their 100-plus year
history, with Minnesota holding the slightest of advantages, 33-32-3. The
Boilermakers have won the past two meetings, but the Gophers have a strong
28-12-3 lead in Minneapolis.
Judging from the stats, it appears that Purdue has one of the more productive
offenses in the conference (31.3 ppg, 380.9 ypg), but after scoring 48 points
or more in three of its first four games, it has averaged only 16.3 ppg during
its three-game losing streak.
Caleb TerBush put together one of his strongest performances of the year in
the loss to Ohio State last week, completing 19-of-30 passes for 230 yards
with two touchdowns and an interception. TerBush has been inconsistent under
center (93-of-151, 946 yards, 10 TDs, seven INTs), meaning more playing time
for Robert Marve (49-of-73, 500 yards, four TDs, two INTs) could be in the
Both Antavian Edison (381 yards) and Gary Bush (225 yards) are among the
conference leaders in touchdown receptions with five apiece. O.J. Ross (299
yards) is the most trusted receiver when it comes to moving the chains with a
team-high 38 catches.
Akeem Shavers (384 yards, three TDs) gets the bulk of the work out of the
backfield, but he sports a pedestrian 4.2 yards per carry average. Akeem Hunt
has gotten just 28 carries, but he's been explosive with 272 yards (9.7 ypc).
By the hard-nosed standards of the Big Ten, Purdue's defense has performed
poorly, allowing 27.7 ppg and more than 400 ypg, although the unit held
nationally-ranked Ohio State to 22 points in regulation and forced four
turnovers last week.
With another interception against the Buckeyes, Landon Feichter now has a
team-high four picks to go along with 41 tackles, also tops on the squad. Josh
Johnson (three INTs, FR) has also been active in the turnover battle. Kawann
Short (nine TFL, four sacks) and Ryan Russell (5.5 TFL, three sacks) have been
a solid duo along the defensive line.
Much like Purdue, Minnesota's offensive output (22.6 ppg, 356.4 ypg) has
decreased in league play, as it has scored just 13 points in three consecutive
The first half of the season saw the Gophers splitting time between
quarterbacks Max Shortell (60-of-105, 791 yards, six TDs, four INTs) and
MarQueis Gray (33-of-55, 464 yards, five TDs, two INTs), with Shortell being
the more conventional gunslinger and Gray showing more promise as a runner
(320 rushing yards, three TDs). There was a major shake-up in the lineup last
week however, as freshman Philip Nelson got the start (13-of-24, 149 yards,
two TDs, two INTs) and Gray saw action at wide receiver (three catches, 20
Gray's permanent move to the receiving corps hopes to give a boost to the
unit. Other than A.J. Barker (25 receptions, 422 yards, five TDs), no other
Gopher has more than 11 receptions.
Donnell Kirkwood is the team's featured back with 116 carries for 475 yards
and three touchdowns, although he has gone over 100 yards just once this
Minnesota's defense (22.4, 331.7 ppg) has also suffered as the schedule has
gotten more difficult, as the unit has allowed 31 points or more in two of its
last three games.
The Gophers have struggled to force turnovers, recording only seven
interceptions and three fumble recoveries through seven games. If you take
away production from D.L. Wilhite (5.5 sacks) and RaShede Hageman (four
sacks), the team has recorded only 3.5 sacks.
With both teams in the midst of a serious mid-season slide, this is a must-win
for each. Minnesota hopes that its new-look lineup can bring a new energy to
the field and the Golden Gopher faithful always come out in full force for
home games, but the Boilermakers earned their stripes against a very good Ohio
State team last week, and they will be ready to come away with a road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 24, Minnesota 23
10/24 10:33:28 ET