Minnesota defeated Purdue 39-38 at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers are 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990. Jerry Kill is now 1-22 after trailing at the half. With the win, Minnesota has won 7 of its last 9 conference games, the best mark since the early 1970s.
Does anyone else think they accidentally consumed some Tim O'Leary hallucinogens after watching that? The first play of the game was a near pick-6 by Cedric Thompson. After a David Cobb two yard touchdown run, Purdue came out and through another interception to Damien Wilson, except that Theiren Cochran was offside. The next play, Purdue housed a long run. That was the first 3 minutes of the game, and it became crazier after.
Minnesota's defense, the traditional strength of the team, had few answers to Purdue's offense in the first half. Defenders had poor angles, missed lane assignments, and were pushed around inside by the Boilermakers' offensive line. We reject total yards as a statistic here at The Daily Gopher, but if we did not then I'd be telling you about how Minnesota allowed 451 yards. Minnesota gave up two plays longer than 50 yards. The defense as a whole gave up multiple explosive plays. At the half, Minnesota was down by by 11.
Surprisingly, the offense picked up the slack for the defense. Minnesota had 450 yards of offense. David Cobb ran 35 times for 194 yards and a touchdown. Mitch Leidner 9/18 for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns, with only 22 yards of that coming in the first half. There was a KJ Maye sighting, and it was awesome. Ryan Santoso kicked a 52 yarder into the wind that was probably good from 60.
When they needed to, the defense stepped up. Damarius Travis made a key stop on fourth down, as well as hits all over the field. Cedric Thompson made a fantastic play late to intercept an Appleby pass to seal the win.
I want to give lots of credit to Purdue. They played a great game and gave the Gophers fits throughout the first half. If they want to play spoiler to other teams in the BIG West, I will have zero problem with that.