2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 6 - Minnesota at Purdue
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Oct. 8 at Purdue 45 … Minnesota 17
CFN Analysis: Finally, everything clicked liked it’s supposed to. Blowing up SE Missouri State is one thing, but after the lousy performance against Notre Dame, coming out rolling from the start and blowing up Minnesota for a 31-0 first half lead was exactly what the team needed. Nine different players got carries with Akeem Shavers running well, but Ralph Bolden still can’t get on track running for just 33 yards on 12 carries. The defense never let the game get interesting, and while there was a letdown in the second half, it didn’t matter. Minnesota might be struggling, but allowing just 213 yards and forcing three turnovers is a big plus going into a run of three road games in four weeks starting at Penn State.
Starting with the late pick six against North Dakota State, Minnesota opponents went on a 95-0 run. The Gophers aren’t playing any defense with the linebackers not coming up with any meaningful stops. The offense did nothing against a mediocre defense, coming up with just one touchdown drive late after getting down 45-10. The attack managed just 11 first downs and 213 yards of total offense, with MarQueis Gray having problems once again leading the attack. The lines on both sides have been awful and there’s no pop whatsoever in the passing game to mount a comeback or to keep up the pace. With Nebraska, Iowa, at Michigan State and Wisconsin up next, it’s time to go all young all the time and give all of 2012’s key players as much work as possible.
(AP) WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Akeem Shavers caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Purdue beat Minnesota 45-17 on Saturday.
Caleb TerBush completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards and a score and O.J. Ross caught five passes for 63 yards and a TD for the Boilermakers (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten).
Ricardo Allen returned an interception for a touchdown and Ryan Russell recovered two fumbles for Purdue, which held the Golden Gophers to 211 total yards. It was Purdue's largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game since a 62-10 win over Indiana on Nov. 22, 2008.
MarQueis Gray passed for 104 yards and rushed for 20 yards and a score for Minnesota (1-5, 0-2). The Gophers tried to bounce back from a 58-0 loss to Michigan but lost their third straight.
Purdue rushed for 217 yards on 47 carries.
Purdue had a false start on its first offensive play a week after committing 13 penalties in a 38-10 loss to Notre Dame, but the mistakes were few after that against the Gophers. Ralph Bolden's 2-yard run gave the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead.
Carson Wiggs hit a season-long 53-yard field goal to increase Purdue's lead to 10-0 with 5:18 left in the first quarter.
Minnesota's Donnell Kirkwood fumbled and Russell recovered at the Minnesota 11-yard line. The Boilermakers went for it on fourth-and-goal, and Shavers extended the ball to the pylon and scored to push the lead to 17-0.
Gray, who missed the Michigan game with a toe injury, replaced starter Max Shortell and got a rude welcome back. Allen jumped a route, intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Boilermakers a 24-0 lead. It was the third touchdown return of Allen's career, tying Mike Rose and Rod Woodson for the most in school history. The 24 points were the most Purdue has scored in a quarter since producing 24 in the Indiana game in 2008.
Robert Marve entered the game at quarterback in the second quarter and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ross that gave the Boilermakers a 31-0 lead with 4:08 left in the second quarter.
Minnesota finally got on the board with a 47-yard field goal by Chris Hawthorne, breaking a run of 95 consecutive points by its opponents. Purdue held Minnesota to 88 yards and six first downs in the first half to lead 31-3 at the break.
TerBush returned in the third quarter and led a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive. His 10-yard touchdown pass on a screen to Shavers gave Purdue a 38-3 lead.
Raheem Mostert's 25-yard touchdown run gave Purdue a 45-3 lead late in the third quarter.
Minnesota's Marcus Jones returned the kickoff 92 yards for Minnesota's first touchdown since the fourth quarter against North Dakota State two weeks ago.
Gray's 1-yard touchdown run cut Purdue's lead to 45-17 midway through the fourth quarter.
Minnesota (1-4) at Purdue (2-2) Oct. 8, 12:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … It’s a down year for the Big Ten, and Minnesota and Purdue are among the most down. Throw Indiana into the equation, and this could be a playoff or the league’s worst team this year.
Purdue, as always, is trying to get past injury problems, but the overall production has been mediocre against bad teams like Middle Tennessee and Rice, and last week there wasn’t a prayer of staying with Notre Dame in a 38-10 loss. Even so, if the offense can keep running well and the special teams can stay a plus, there’s a chance to go on a decent run with Minnesota up this week followed by a very, very winnable game at Penn State and a home game against Illinois. The offense has to find some pop, and Minnesota is just the team to help the cause.
The Gophers are fighting through coaching problems, with head man Jerry Kill fighting to control his seizures, and offensive woes with the new attack not working out as hoped. Losses to New Mexico State and North Dakota State were among the worst by any BCS conference team this season, while the 58-0 loss to Michigan last week was lifeless and depressing. Minnesota didn’t even show up.
With interesting regional games against Nebraska and Iowa up next, a win against Purdue on the road would be a terrific shot in the arm. A good performance, though, might be good enough.
Why Minnesota Might Win: There’s no fear of a Purdue pass rush to worry about. There’s no Ryan Kerrigan ripping it up in the backfield this season with the Boilermakers only generating four sacks on the year with two coming against Rice and two against SE Missouri State. Pass protection has been a huge problem for a Minnesota offensive line that hasn’t been consistent in any way, and the quarterback – whomever that might be – desperately needs time.
Purdue has had an awful time keeping the mistakes to a minimum, and for a team that struggles so much offensively, nine penalties a game for 77 yards are way too many. The Boilermakers are 116th in the nation in penalties after committing 13 for 118 yards against the Irish, but …
Why Purdue Might Win: Minnesota isn’t exactly much better screwing up seven times for 51.60 yards per game. The team is playing like a mess with nothing going right on either side of the ball. Purdue doesn’t have a pass rush but Minnesota has less of one. Purdue is having consistency problems throwing the ball, but Minnesota is dead-last in the Big Ten in scoring. The Gophers couldn’t stop New Mexico State or North Dakota State, and they didn’t have a prayer against Michigan thanks to a defensive line that’s not disruptive in any way and a secondary that’s not coming up with any big plays.
The stats are a little skewed because of the 393 yards and seven scores against SE Missouri State, but the Purdue running game has been solid at times with a nice 1-2 punch in Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers. Against the Gopher front seven they should breakout after not getting a chance to do much against the Irish.
What To Watch Out For: Minnesota’s biggest issue on the field is the lack of production from MarQueis Gray. The big, talented quarterback was supposed to make up for a slew of problems across the board by simply being the best play on the field at times. Instead, he’s struggled and sputtered, he hasn’t been able to get the chains moving, and now he has a problem with a toe injury and missed the Michigan game. True freshman Max Shortell is a good looking prospect, but he couldn’t push the ball down the field against the Wolverines completing just 11-of-22 passes for 104 yards.
It’s time for Bolden to get moving again. He started out the season with 120 yards against Middle Tennessee, and he ran for two scores against SE Missouri State, but he only ran six times for 17 yards against Notre Dame. He appears to be 100% after missing all of last year with a knee injury, and with the way the Gopher run defense had problems against Michigan last week, the holes and the space should be there for Bolden to crank out 100 yards.
What Will Happen: Minnesota will play with more fight and a bit ore production than last week, but the run defense will get ripped up by the Boilermakers. Purdue will control the ball and the game, and then it’ll take advantage of mistakes when the Gophers try to press.
CFN Prediction: Purdue 34 … Minnesota 24
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