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Minnesota beats Purdue 44-31: Reaction and Final Score

Minnesota’s defense steps up big in the 2nd half and Rodney Smith set some records.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota forced three Purdue turnovers as the defense stepped up big in the second half to beat Purdue, 44-31. The win was Minnesota’s 4th in a row and it keeps them in contention for a Big Ten West title as they head into the final quarter of the 2016 season. The loss was also Purdue’s 4th in a row, so hooray for symmetry!

As I noted in the halftime recap, the Gophers were consistently inconsistent. Good drives were followed by empty and frustrating drives. Nice blocking would be followed by bad blocking. Good Mitch was followed by Bad Mitch. Minnesota never felt like it maintained momentum, but in the end it didn’t matter. This year’s Gophers team may not always play as well as they could, but they are definitely better than Purdue and in the end that was enough.

Thoughts and fun facts following the win:

Rodney Smith’s record setting day

The fantastic season continues! Rodney Smith rushed for a career high 153 yards and 3 TD’s (which is also a career single game high for the talented RB). Smith has 13 touchdowns on the year, which means he is only 4 TD’s away from tying Minnesota’s single season record.

Running Mitch good, throwing Mitch bad

A tale of two halves the QB stat line today for the Gophers senior QB.

  • 14 carries for 74 yards and 2 TD’s
  • 14 of 23 for 231 and 1 INT

The former was more than enough to outweigh the latter, but more consistency will likely be needed against Nebraska or Wisconsin.

Minnesota cashes in on short fields

During the 4 games winning streak Minnesota has created 9 short fields with a turnover. They have scored touchdowns 8 times following those turnovers. The Gophers can’t rely on this as a sole source of offense of course, but it’s nice to see the team make opponents pay for their mistakes. It’s a big part of why the Gophers are now 7-2.

Improvement on defense was the difference

In the first half the Gophers gave up 169 on three touchdown passes alone. In the second half, Purdue had 8 possessions. They only scored once, netting a field goal after a 9 play 52 yard drive. The other 7 drives before garbage time? 26 plays for 80 yards leaving to four punts, two lost fumbles, and one interception. Minnesota’s defense won this game in the second half, period.

That was a BS targeting call

The hit was with the shoulder and it wasn’t to the head area. It was a terrible call and the fact that Minnesota will now be without Nick Rallis for the entire 1st half of the Nebby game is a travesty. And given the unknown severity of the injury to Cody Poock, it could be a critical loss to the LB core.


The Gophers are now 7-2 and the Broken Chair is back on the line next week. Things are getting real.