FACTS & STATS: Site: TCF Bank Stadium (50,805) — Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 2-3, Minnesota 4-0. Away
Record: Purdue 1-0, Minnesota 1-1. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-1, Minnesota 0-0.
Conference Record: Purdue 1-2, Minnesota 2-0. Series Record: Minnesota leads,
GAME NOTES: Winners of three straight, the Minnesota Golden Gophers turn their
attention to the visiting Purdue Boilermakers for a Big Ten Conference clash
at TCF Bank Stadium.
Purdue is coming off a 45-31 setback to No. 8 Michigan State, and the
Boilermakers had the ball with less than three minutes to play in a one-
possession game. They are the only Big Ten team to score 31 points or more
against the Spartans’ vaunted defense since Dec. 3, 2011.
This marks Minnesota’s Homecoming, and the team is a perfect 4-0 at home this
season. The surging Golden Gophers notched their third straight win last
weekend with a 24-17 triumph over Northwestern. Their only loss of the season
came on the road at 12th-ranked TCU a month ago.
Minnesota was a 44-28 winner at home when these teams last met in 2012. The
Gophers lead the all-time series, 34-32-3.
Purdue ranks 105th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense (350.1
ypg), and is averaging just 26.9 ppg (85th). Sophomore Danny Etling was
replaced by fellow sophomore Austin Appleby as the team’s starting quarterback
two weeks ago. But after leading the Boilermakers to a win at Illinois in his
debut, Appleby came up short against Michigan State last week. He completed
24-of-37 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown against the Spartans’ stingy
defense, but a potential game-tying drive ended with an interception return
for a touchdown to seal the outcome. Akeem Hunt had 12 carries for 96 yards
and three TDs in the loss, while Danny Anthrop finished with nine catches for
The Purdue defense was gashed for 532 total yards by MSU, including 294 yards
(6.8 ypc) on the ground. The Spartans came away with touchdowns on four of
their five trips inside the red zone. Senior safety Landon finished with a
game-high 10 tackles (7 solo), while fellow defensive back Frankie Williams
had six stops, an interception and two pass breakups. Feichter and Williams
are No. 1 and 2 on the team, respectively, in tackles on the year and have
combined for five picks.
Minnesota’s offense is predicated on its ability to run the football, and
senior David Cobb ranks among the national leaders with an average of 136.5
rushing yards per tilt. He ran for 97 hard-fought yards on 30 carries in the
win over Northwestern. The Golden Gophers needed every one of those yards,
considering NU held a 28-14 edge in first downs in a game that saw neither
team lead by more than a touchdown at any point. Quarterback Mitch Leidner
threw for only 153 yards on 10-of-15 passing, and he was also intercepted for
the fifth time this season. Leidner has thrown only three touchdown passes on
the year. He is completing only 54.9 percent of his passes while averaging a
mere 136.4 ypg.
Senior linebacker Damien Wilson continues to be the pulse of Minnesota’s
defense with a team-high 66 tackles, more than double the total of the second-
leading tackler. Wilson was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his
career-high 15-tackle effort against the Wildcats, as he also tied a personal-
best with 1.5 tackles for loss. He leads the Big Ten with 11.0 stops per game.
The Boilermakers can still turn their season around and qualify for a bowl
with three more wins. However, they run into a tough test here, playing on the
road against a Minnesota squad that has enjoyed somewhat of a rebirth this
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 31, Purdue 20