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Purdue and Minnesota in Search of First Big Ten Win - OPEN THREAD

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TV: ESPN
Game Time: 11:00 AM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

I'm wondering how many Gopher fans will be tuning into today's game. The weather is supposed to be nice today and who knows how many of these we will get and the product on the field is not exactly compelling. Really I'm not sure which will keep fans away from the game more. But you are here, I'll be here and let's take a look at how these two teams match up.

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Purdue Boilermakers
Points / Game 28.2 29.5
Pass Yards 164.2 207.2
Rush Yards 153.6 215.0
3rd Down % 31.2% 41.4%
Key Offensive Player to Watch Offensive Line
WR - Justin Siller
Points Allowed/Game 33.5
21.5
Pass Yards 266.2 225.5
Rush Yards 156.4 153.5
3rd Down % 48.3% 37.7%
Key Defensive Player to Watch CB - Michael Carter DE - Robert Maci

Three Questions

  1. Who will be playing QB for the Gophers? - I'm still convinced that we have two, half quarterbacks. Shortell has an arm and will (not might) develop in to a very good quarterback. But Gray is a phenomenal athlete who is capable of leading us to a win with his legs and when confident he is a solid passer. If he is healthy, and if we want to see a win I want to see him on the field.
    Can we slow down the pass? - We obviously don't have a pass rush, which doesn't help, but we need to slow down Caleb Terbrush. And I'm really worried that we will see the 6-3, Justin Siller have a career day. With Troy Stoudermire out, I'm looking forward to seeing Michael Carter on the field. He won't be starting but he should see the field and I am really hoping that he takes advantage of this opportunity.
    Which team will make the fewest mistakes? - Purdue has their own set of issues, just like us. Both of these teams are bad and vying for the worst team in the Big Ten. Most would say that Purdue is in a better place than we are (I won't disagree) but both teams will only have a few realistic opportunities for Big Ten wins and this is one of them.

The Answers

This game really comes down to question #3 above. Purdue leads the Big Ten in penalties with nine per game giving their opponents 77 yards per game. Both have a negative turnover ratio. Both are going to be near the bottom of the Big Ten standings. This game will come down to whichever team decides to execute with any consistency and of course makes the fewest mistakes. I believe there is an optimistic minority that believes that last week was a wake up call and the Gophers will look like a totally different team. That may happen. If you thought you were embarrassed by last week's game, imagine if you were on the coaching staff or the team. I'm sure there was some increased intensity this week at practices. The majority of Gopher fans are expecting a loss while hoping that the game is competitive. Purdue runs the ball well, when they want to run it. And they pass it well enough that they should be able to rack up a lot of yards on this Gopher defense.

I do believe the Gophers will play better than they did last week. But that belief isn't strong enough to believe they will radically be a different team. I think we have seen enough of the season to have a pretty good idea of who this team is. I'm watching today in hopes of a game and hoping that I'll be pleasantly surprised.