The Minnesota Golden Gophers welcomed Jeff Brohm to Minneapolis on his first visit to TCF Bank Stadium with the Purdue Boilermakers and, like a good host, promptly made him wish he had stayed home instead.
We now go live to our staff lounge for a postgame cigar.
What is your Tweet-length (
140 280 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ 41-10 win over Purdue?
GopherNation: What the hell just happened? A dominating Gopher defense in a Big Ten game? That was quite impressive. Thank you, Joe Rossi.
gopherguy05: That was very confusing, but in the best way possible. Purdue is now 0-5 at TCF. Whee!
zipsofakron: My face was too numb to sing the Rouser that many times.
Iowa Gopher: Holy shit.
Ustreet: The first almost complete game of the season.
wildcat00: Did all this really just happen? Is that the real score? Where has this defense been all season?
To borrow a Fleck-ism, who is your pick for “Nekton of the Week” from the game?
GopherNation: Blake Cashman leading the team in tackles and absolutely setting the tone for the second half with his forced fumble and subsequent touchdown.
gopherguy05: Cashman was the flashiest, but I’m gonna go with the offensive line. They dominated Purdue’s defensive line and created huge holes for Mohamed Ibrahim and Bryce Williams.
zipsofakron: Mohamed Ibrahim — 18 carries for 155 yards? Now that’s grinding.
Iowa Gopher: I mean, the correct answer is Blake Cashman.
Ustreet: Blake Cashman, but Chris Williamson deserves a mention for his defensive shutdown of Rondale Moore.
wildcat00: Blake Cashman is money. That is all.
Grade Joe Rossi’s first game as interim defensive coordinator.
GopherNation: Cannot be anything less than an A. All of the things that have plagued this defense for one and a half seasons were nowhere to be seen today. Zero plays over 20 yards allowed, timely pressure on the quarterback, no massive breakdowns in secondary coverage, and the linebackers all had very good games. It was just one game, but it was against an explosive offense that typically would have been a bad matchup for this defense.
zipsofakron: A. The dude held one of the better offenses in the conference to essentially nothing. 0-for-12 on third down conversions and season lows for points and yards. That’s something.
Iowa Gopher: I’d like to buy Joe Rossi a beer.
Ustreet: A, for all the reasons that GopherNation said.
wildcat00: I had to look at the stats after the game to be certain, but that was one of the best defensive performances I have ever seen from the Gophers, including in the Tracy Claeys/Jay Sawvel era.
What was the most impressive aspect of the Gophers’ dominant defensive performance?
GopherNation: Third down was outstanding. When the opposing offense goes 0-for-12, there is certainly an aspect of luck in there, but for the most part that is due the defense putting the offense in tough spots and then making plays.
gopherguy05: They did enough to stop the run — not that Purdue really tried for about 2.5 quarters — and we got some pressure on the quarterback (three sacks and none by Carter Coughlin).
zipsofakron: That the Boilers couldn’t convert even one third down conversion is really impressive.
Iowa Gopher: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Purdue failed to convert a single third down. But the total lack of explosive plays allowed was a welcome change from the back-to-back 70 yard touchdowns we saw a week ago. I fully expected Rondale Moore to run wild, but he was bottled up for most of the game. The entire Purdue offense was effectively neutralized.
Ustreet: At a certain point in the third quarter, it became clear that Purdue could do nothing on offense. I haven’t felt that realization watching this defense in years.
wildcat00: Holding an offense like Purdue to just 10 points, but also 0-for-12 on third down? I don’t care that it’s just one game. That is impressive AF.
Checking in on the quarterback position. How are we feeling about Tanner Morgan vs. Zack Annexstad?
GopherNation: Morgan was fine against Purdue. He really didn’t stand out. He made a few ill-advised throws but was fortunate that his receiver made a great play. Nothing about this performance indicates to me that he’s the guy, but he was fine.
zipsofakron: He hasn’t done enough to show that he should be the unquestioned starter. That Demetrius Douglas drop would have changed things a bit for Morgan’s overall line, had he held on, but Annexstad should still be the starter.
Iowa Gopher: I think Morgan has acquitted himself well but has also benefited from a maturing wide receiver corps and an offensive line that has really come together. The lack of the latter for the first half of the season is largely responsible for Annexstad being sidelined in the first place, opening the door for Morgan. I feel confident that a healthy Annexstad would do as well as or better than Morgan in the current offense, but I won’t be surprised if Fleck and co. ride Morgan the rest of the way.
Ustreet: Annexstad is still your starter when healthy.
wildcat00: If Annexstad is 100 percent, I think he has much higher upside than Morgan. But Morgan is fine for this offense, and if things are kept reasonably simple for him, there’s no reason he can’t be successful too.
Make the call. Are the Gophers going bowling this season?
GopherNation: Do I have to? It is really easy to get excited and say that if the defense plays like this, they can absolutely beat either of our two remaining opponents. The fact that we play really poorly on the road tells me that we will not beat Wisconsin. Can we beat Northwestern at home? Yes, we can. But if I had to make a call now, I’ll say that we lose our last two games.
gopherguy05: Probably not, but weirder things have happened. Northwestern has nothing to play for next week, where they have a Hat to play for the week after. Wisconsin... Well someday we need to win against them again.
But I put our chances at about 15 percent.
zipsofakron: Doubtful, though I was really looking forward to that Redbox Bowl appearance.
Iowa Gopher: I don’t think so. I think the Gophers will be much more competitive against Northwestern and Wisconsin than they were last season, but a sixth win will elude them.
Ustreet: Pass. (Editor’s Note: Please consider this a resounding, “Yes, I have complete confidence the Gophers will be bowling in December,” and direct all of your ire toward Ustreet should Minnesota fail to become bowl-eligible. Thanks!)
wildcat00: I’m leaning towards no at this point. I’ll be satisfied with splitting the next two games, to be honest.