Minnesota Gophers defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 44-31 in front of almost 43,000 fans on a perfectly sunny day at TCF Bank Staduim Nov. 5, 2016 in the 72nd meeting between the teams. The Gophers improve their all-time record against Purdue, which now stands at 37-32-3 all-time. Pre-game featured a military appreciation ceremony that included a flyover. Player and coach non uniform apparel featured lots of camo and the Gophers wore a ribbon on their helmet to honor the military service members.
The game was the Gophers’ seventh win of the year, their fourth in Big Ten play.
A Tale of two offenses:
Predictions and game planning between the teams, going into the game were accurate – Minnesota would be imposing their will on the ground while Purdue pursues an offensive attack through the air.
|NET YARDS RUSHING|
|NET YARDS PASSING|
Minnesota’s pass rush kept the game close by generating ten tackles for loss, almost one TFL every eight plays. The Boilermakers had 18 offensive possessions and they had a TFL on over half of them, including six sacks on Purdue quarterback, David Blough. Despite a relentless Gopher rush and being tackled for a loss on one out of eight plays, Blough ammased an impressive 391 net yards through the air and the team added another 23 on the ground, for over 400 net yards of offense and four touchdowns through the air.
Scoring explosion leading to wins: The Gophers have scored at least 40 points two Saturdays in a row – they defeated Illinois 40-17 last weekend – and have scored 149 points in their last four games, all wins. They scored a total of just 33 points against their first two Big Ten opponents, both losses.
Red Zone efficiency: The Gophers were 5-5 when drives passed the Purdue 20 yard line, scoring four touchdowns and getting a field goal.
Carpenter’s leg: Despite the swirling winds of TCF Bank Stadium, Gopher kicker Emett Carpenter hit all three field goals he was asked to make. Impressively, Carpenter’s first two attempts were both 50+ yarders, 52 and 53 respectively, keeping the Gophers close early in the game as the teams traded scoring drives.
Turnovers: The Gophers won the turnover battle, forcing two fumbles and intercepting a ball. The Gophers also stopped the Boilermaker offense on two fourth down attempts.
Third Down conversions: The Gophers struggled on third down, converting just 4/15 third down plays in the game.
Final thoughts: Minnesota head coach, Tracy Claeys summed it up best, “I think in the second half we played awfully well and created some turnovers…the offense continues to take the turnovers and turn them into points.” Running Back Rodney Smith said, when asked to comment on his final score in the fourth quarter, “I didn’t have to do much. The line blocked well, great play call, and all I had to do was beat the linebacker.”
Minnesota will head south to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers next Saturday. The Minnesota Sports Report will be in Lincoln, so stop back for coverage from the massive 90,000 seat Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE.