First Look: Minnesota
Here's an updated early look at Purdue's fourth opponent in 2019, the Minnesota Golden Gophers
Date/time: Saturday, Sept. 28, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium
Surface: Bermuda Grass
Capacity: 57,236 (Tickets Available)
Series notes: Minnesota leads the series, 38-33-3, and blew out Purdue, 41-10, in the freezing cold of TCF Bank Stadium in the last meeting on Nov. 10, 2018. Coaches P.J. Fleck and Jeff Brohm are in their third seasons at their respective schools, with the Boilermakers defeating Minnesota 31-17 in 2017 in a game in Ross-Ade Stadium that endured a fourth quarter weather delay.
TV: ESPN2, Mark Kestercher PBP, Rod Gilmore Analyst, Quint Kessenich, Sidelines
Early line: Minnesota -1
Georgia Southern vs. Minnesota replay
Minnesota has won three games by 13 points
For the second season in a row, Minnesota opens the year with a 3-0 mark. In 2018, the Gophers lost five of their next six games after the fast start before ending the season strong with blowout victories at Wisconsin and in the bowl game over Georgia Tech. This season, Minnesota has struggled in home victories over South Dakota State (28-21) and Georgia Southern (35-32), with a double overtime win at Fresno State (38-35) sandwiched in between.
It took a touchdown with 13 seconds left for the Gophers to defeat Georgia Southern after a mistake-plagued fourth quarter nearly doomed the home team. A blocked field goal returned for a score and a fumble returned for a touchdown nearly doomed the Gophers in the Georgia Southern tilt.
Minnesota has the longest non-conference winning streak in the FBS at 18 games.
Minnesota has some injuries, too
The Gophers finished Saturday's game with Georgia Southern with their No. 5 running back, Bryce Williams. The top four — Rodney Smith, Mohamed Ibrahim (who gained 155 yards vs. Purdue last year), Shannon Brooks and Cam Wiley — either were already sidelined by injury or suffered injuries during the game. Brooks has had his moments against Purdue, as well, gaining 176 yards on just 10 attempts way back in 2015.
Minnesota's passing game has big-time receivers ... but
Quarterback Tanner Morgan, who won the job when classmate Zack Annexstad sustained a foot injury in fall camp that sidelined him indefinitely, has been inconsistent. His record as a starter, however, is 7-2, and he’s shown a knack for clutch plays,. The Gophers have two future NFL receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman with Johnson making some huge plays to bail out Minnesota in its come-from-behind victory over Georgia Southern.
Purdue will have to match Minnesota's physicality
Coach Jeff Brohm and his staff will have to figure out a way to match Minnesota's offensive and defensive lines as he referenced in today's press conference. This is a recurring theme this season for Purdue, but the Gophers have developed competent fronts under third-year coach P.J. Fleck. The Gophers are giving up an average of 118 rushing yards per game so far in 2019, so they have been good but not dominant in that category. The problem for Purdue is it is averaging just 53.3 yards per contest and has struggled in historic proportions, especially in the last two games.
Brohm on Minnesota
"Right now we don't stack up with they physically. If you look at Minnesota, they finished last year strong, they beat us badly (to be nice) and they have shown they can win close games and that tells me they have leadership and guys that know what it takes to win. We will have to improve a great deal to compete with them.
"We have referenced last year's game and we are in a rut right now (lost five of the last seven games) and last year's game is part of it.
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