Week 9 - Purdue at Minnesota

Posted Oct 25, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Purdue at Minnesota

Purdue (3-4) at Minnesota (4-3) Oct 27, 3:30, BTN

Here's The Deal: Who's going to pull up out of the nosedive? Purdue has lost three straight – all in Big Ten play – with blowouts against Michigan and Wisconsin and a brutal heartbreaker in the final seconds and overtime against Ohio State. The offense hasn't found any consistency after a few September wins, and the defense hasn't had any luck against the run. While the dreams of a Leaders title and a Big Ten championship appearance are gone, there's still a good chance to go bowling with a win this week. Illinois and Indiana are still on the slate, but first, the Boilermakers can't afford to lose a winnable game in the second of a brutal stretch of four road games in five dates.

Minnesota has also been a disaster lately with three straight losses, all in the Big Ten. Injuries at quarterback have been a huge part of the problem, but the offense hasn't been able to score all season long with 13 hardly a lucky number in conference action – scoring that many in each of the losses. Realistically, any hope of a bowl appearance dies with a home loss, but it's going to take a tough game that should go down to the wire. Both teams are desperate, and it's going to show.

Why Purdue Might Win: The Gophers can't move the ball. The team's best offensive weapon, MarQueis Gray, can't shake an ankle injury even though he moved from quarterback to receiver last week to give him less wear and tear. Max Shortell got banged up meaning Phillip Nelson was thrown into the fire last week against Wisconsin. While he's a good runner who led the way with 67 yards, he needs time to settle down as a passer and has to be much, much better on third downs. The Gophers converted just one of ten chances against the Badgers, and they haven't been able to find enough of a running game to make the third down tries more manageable.

Why Minnesota Might Win: If the Gopher running game was ever going to work, this would be the week to make it happen. Even with a great group of defensive tackles holding down the interior, Purdue hasn't been close over the last few weeks getting destroyed by Michigan and Denard Robinson for over 300 yards and three scores, while having no prayer against Wisconsin's attack. Last week, the Boilermakers were able to bottle up Ohio State's Braxton Miller before knocking him out of the game, but running back Carlos Hyde picked up the slack. Minnesota hasn't been able to run because no one fears the passing game and loads up against the run. Purdue might send everyone top stop Donnell Kirkwood and the Gopher runners, but it shouldn't matter. The Gopher O line should control the game for stretches.

What To Watch Out For: Purdue running back Akeem Hunt is turning into the team's top weapon. The sophomore ran for 106 yards against Eastern Michigan and 85 against Wisconsin, but he doesn't get work in a traditional role with a mere 28 carries on the season. A solid receiver and a terrific kick returner – taking one back for a score against Ohio State last week – he can do a little of everything if he can ever get the ball in his hands. That seems to be a problem for the underutilized playmaker.

What Will Happen: Purdue will be too balanced offensively for a Minnesota attack that can't find anything that works. There's no downfield passing game for the Gophers, and while the running game will be fine, it won't be enough. The quarterback experience will be the difference for the Boilermakers.

CFN Prediction: Purdue 24 … Minnesota 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Purdue -2.4 O/U: 50.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23): 3